The NUS Referendum campaigns kicked off in earnest on Wednesday, 31 October as the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ teams met in School II and School V, respectively.
The ‘No’ campaign team produced three candidates for the role of spokesperson, despite a modest turnout of only six voters, while the ‘Yes’ campaign attracted a group of around 10 who elected two spokespeople.
Head of the Elections Committee and Association President, Freddie Fforde, began the meeting with a run through of referendum rules including the clarification that those who wish to campaign do not have to sign up in order to do so.
This was followed by information about the campaigns structure which will involve the release of a fact sheet on Friday 2 November regarding the financial implications of joining the NUS. These figures have been independently obtained based on information from the NUS and approved by the Association Board. Fforde said he hoped this would, “reduce or eliminate false claims” on both sides of the debate.
Fforde also outlined the time frame for campaigning which can take place from 12pm on Friday 9 November as well as rules regarding external speakers. None will be allowed except for two specific instances; one is a Question Time event the other a debate on joining the NUS by the University Debating Society.
The three candidates who put themselves forward for the ‘No’ campaign were fourth year, Lukasz Krol, third year, Henry Wilson, and fourth year, Michael Fraser.
Voters ranked the candidates in order of preference with Michael Fraser the first to make a quota achieving the required three votes out of six, his three votes were then redistributed between the two remaining candidates. All three went to History student, Henry Wilson, leaving the final vote five for Wilson and one for Krol.
The campaigners then stayed behind to start to discuss strategy after representatives from the Student’s Association had left. Henry Wilson commented: “[The referendum] is the most important decision the students are going to have to make in recent years and making sure that everyone has enough material to make the right, informed decision for the University is essential.”
Wilson later resigned his position. The spokespeople for the ‘No’ campaign are now Michael Fraser and Lukasz Krol.
The meeting for the ‘Yes’ campaign was moderated by SSC and SRC Chair, Emmanuel Michelakakis, and Director of Representation, Amanda Litherland.
Ben Anderson and Holly Patrick were elected as spokespeople for the ‘Yes’.
Anderson and Patrick discussed why they thought that the University of St Andrews should be members of the NUS. They focused on the idea that the NUS is seen as the student voice of the UK and if we are not members, we are not properly represented at a national level.
They also described the benefits that the NUS would bring to the students of this university, such as more specialised training for our representatives and the NUS card, which provides discounts on shopping at a number of high street retailers.
The group then went on to discuss what would happen in the coming weeks, with official campaigning beginning on 9 November. Students will have a chance to hear from external representatives on Tuesday 13 November at the ‘Question time’ event and at the UDS debate on Thursday 15 November.
- This article was updated on November 3 to reflect Henry Wilson’s resignation