Oxford breaks off from NUS in key referendum result


Students at the University of Oxford have voted to leave the National Union of Students (NUS) after the review of a close result at the polls.

The ‘No’ campaign won by a slim 1780 votes to 1652. The referendum’s 15% turnout maintains the traditional low participation rates experienced in student politics; but the result of the referendum should not be underestimated.

The No referendum result follows an increase in NUS’ political activity, an example of which was a recent motion at the organisation’s conference to officially oppose the UK Independence Party. Critics of NUS voice that the organisation “does very little for its members”, that it has a democratic deficiency, and (Milton says) that it spends more time discussing world issues than concentrating on its student’s education.

Other universities may soon be following suit: The University of York recently held a poll which asked “Should YUSU disaffiliate itself from the NUS?” to which nearly 50% voted ‘Yes’.

This will be a kick up the backside for NUS, and may be the catalyst which will prompt further referendums in the future. At the very least it should instigate change within the organisation’s remit; perhaps somewhere between its motions on Israel / Palestine and the nationalisation of the banks?


Vote Breakdown:

Turnout: 3464 votes cast (15%).

Vote to disaffiliate won: 1780 to 1652.

0.9% abstention.


  1. This is great news for Oxford but also bad news for centre right, libertarian students in other universities at it loses a key oppositional voice against the NUS and its lack of transparency and effectiveness in the form of Jack Matthews and those at Oxford who oppose the NUS


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