No more Yes to NUS?

‘Yes’ team resigns two days before start of campaign because of a bias towards ‘No’

Jo Boon and Ali West, spokespeople for the Yes to NUS campaign, have resigned two days before the official start of campaigning because of a ‘bias towards the status quo’.

The referendum will decide whether St Andrews joins the National Union of Students (NUS).

yes to NUS

Last year’s campaign

After having met with those overseeing the referendum in the Students Association, the Yes campaign believes that it is not possible for the referendum to be carried out in a fair and balanced matter due to issues concerning the campaign’s rules and the way it has been run so far.

Here are some of the reasons for their decision, as stated in a letter to the Elections Committee:

  • President of the Students Association, Pat Matthewson, who is also flat-mates with the No campaign’s spokesperson, Annie Newman has resigned from the Elections Committee due to a conflict of interest after having voted to cut the campaign budget by more than 50%.
  • Materials given to Yes and No campaign spokespeople by the Sabbs focused heavily on the costs to the Students’ Association and mentioned few advantages of NUS membership.
  • This will be the last vote on NUS membership as the SRC has voted to remove the mandate for a future referendum. Despite this, the upcoming referendum has been poorly advertised by the Union, which has led to low turnout at information events and a general lack of knowledge about the implications of either result.
  • The Yes campaign team were told by DoRep Joe Tantillo that campaigning begins at 5pm on 11th November when it actually starts at 10am.

Katherine Kelly, a second year Chemistry student, said: “I understand why the campaign is protesting as much of the student body, including myself, does not have much knowledge on the matter.”

The Yes campaign are asking that the vote be postponed “until it can be run fairly”, and that if it does go ahead, that it be “considered non-binding if turnout is below 1/3 (33.3%) of the student population.”