Image: Warwick SU

#WarwickVotes: NUS Campaign Roundup

Warwick voted to remain in the National Union of Students (NUS) on Friday: here is our breakdown of the week’s campaign and events.

“Warwick says Yes to NUS” and their campaign won the vote overall, with 63.4% of the 2463 students – over 10% of the total – who voted choosing to stay.

There was impassioned debate and campaigning on both sides, and it is believed this motion in particular led to so many students voting, a record number for Warwick Students’ Union.

Emergency ASM

The motion was only added to the others proposed at the All Student Meeting (ASM) due to an Emergency ASM being held specifically for the NUS debate.

This was after a petition of over 500 signatures was handed to Olly Rice, Democracy and Development Officer.

This was the 2% of students required for an Emergency ASM and for a motion to be added, achieved after a deadline extension for the petition.


The nature of the campaigning did lead to complaints against both sides and last-minute updates and decisions.

“NUS Exit Warwick” were fined the full £20 deposit and asked to remove all their posters and campaigning material after it was revealed it was not printed through Warwick Print and exceeded the allocated amount to be spent on materials.

This occurred on Thursday, the day before the voting closed.

A precedent was set for this decision in the Warwick SU elections in Term 2, with a Sports Officer candidate disqualified for the same act.

Regardless of any issues that may have arisen during the week, I’d hope both sides can work together to find common ground and instigate the reform that NUS needs.

Isaac Leigh, SU President

In response to this, Engineering student Sam Carter, on behalf of “NUS Exit Warwick”, commented: “A lot has been said in regards to the posters that were put up on Thursday.

“Unfortunately the panel decided that they didn’t meet the requirements set out in the emergency ruling. We honestly attempted very hard to ensure that they would be and consulted a sabbatical officer on the specific requirements of the posters, but obviously the final posters were deemed to still breach this ruling.”

Also on Thursday came the announcement from Warwick SU of the Costs-Benefits of staying in the NUS, with the original statistics publicised by “Warwick says Yes to NUS” updated to reflect a profit of £87,000 by remaining in NUS.

This, again, came the night before voting closed.

A complaint against “Warwick says Yes to NUS” was also lodged regarding their use of external campaigners, with several national officers for the NUS coming to campus to campaign.

Olly Rice had put rules in place regarding this, with it being ruled that the SU be alerted to external campaigners beforehand.

It was also advised that external campaigners did not go round halls of residence – though this was phrased as advice, rather than a definite rule against.

On Friday morning, with around an hour left to vote, another Emergency Adjudications Panel met and told “Yes” campaigners to stop using national officers and external campaigners for hall touring. No fines were levied.

A further complaint is also believed to have been made against a “Yes” campaigner for an alleged personal attack made online.

Twitter Debates

“Warwick says Yes to NUS” commented after the results were announced: “This does not mean the discussion is over. We know the NUS isn’t perfect, and we will be working with the No campaigners and with the student body to bring new policy to next year’s NUS conference to improve representation and address your concerns.”

However, debates are still on-going between individuals from the two sides online.

Just some comments on Twitter have included “Yes” campaigners claiming the “No” side misrepresented facts and viewpoints, and the “No” campaigners believing “Yes” had an advantage with a Sabbatical Officer taking paid leave to campaign.

We should be able to debate as adults and treat each other with respect however impassioned we feel about these issues.

Chloe Wynne, Women’s Officer and Welfare-Elect

Chloe Wynne, Women’s Officer and Welfare Officer-Elect who was in support of “Yes”, commented on the use of social media: “I’m disappointed yet again at how social media – and Yik Yak, in particular – has been used to tone police some of our campaigners. I’ve received a lot of misogynistic abuse from the week, and that’s hugely disappointing.

She added: “We should be able to debate as adults and treat each other with respect however impassioned we feel about these issues.”

To this, Sam Carter for “NUS Exit Warwick” responded: “It is alarming how quickly people got onto anonymous social media platforms like YikYak to attack “Yes” campaigners, we’d just like to take the opportunity to distance the Exit campaign from these comments, they were neither representative of our views nor were they conducive to the debate.”

Isaac Leigh, SU President, stated: “Both sides campaigned passionately on an important issue and, regardless of any issues that may have arisen during the week, I’d hope both sides can work together to find common ground and instigate the reform that NUS needs.”

Other Universities

The University of Hull is next to vote on their affiliation with the NUS, with votes from Surrey, Exeter, Lincoln and Newcastle already having occurred.

So far, Lincoln and Newcastle are the only universities who have voted to disaffiliate since the apparently controversial 2016 NUS National Conference. Other universities are expected to hold referendums in the coming weeks.

On this note, Chloe Wynne added: “I also hope that our vote influences other unions who have their referendums upcoming to stay.”


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