Lack of participation forces suspension of NUS referendum campaign


Campaigning has been suspended in the referendum on whether or not St Andrews should join the National Union of Students (NUS).

The trigger for this suspension was a lack of attendance at the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) for the “Yes” team held last night (Wednesday 11 November). Only one student attended the meeting to stand or vote in elections for the spokespeople for the “Yes” campaign. The student in question did not wish to stand for either of the vacant positions.

The EGM was scheduled following the sudden resignation of the previous spokespeople for the “Yes” side, Jo Boon and Ali West, over complaints about the fairness of the referendum process.

As a result of both the spokesperson positions for the “Yes” side remaining vacant, a joint meeting of the Student Representatives Council (SRC) and the Student Services Council (SSC) will be held on Tuesday 17 November at 7:15 pm. The councils will debate a motion on whether or not to cancel the referendum entirely.

Joe Tantillo, the Director of Representation for the Students’ Association, told The Saint: “In light of no students standing to run for the “Yes” campaign team at the EGM yesterday, the Elections Committee has sent a motion to the SRC and the SSC for their consideration at a special joint meeting of the Association Councils this Tuesday, 17th November.

“The motion proposes that the Councils cancel the referendum due to a lack of student engagement. All referendum events and campaigning are presently suspended. We will await the decision of the Councils this Tuesday.”



  1. Maybe they should publish everything a bit better. Giving people only a few hours notice of a new yes campaign team election is a little ridiculous.

  2. Oh good grief, A. There was no lack of notice for the second EGM. It was mentioned in the Sabb’s weekly email on the 10th, had it’s own email a day before the EGM which was summed up in the subject line on the 11th, and was widely publicised in all the articles about the Yes team resigning.

    If you want to blame some people for there not being enough notice, blame the Yes team which resigned moments before the campaign began.

  3. This referendum should never have been scheduled to begin with, after the proposal was defeated by the SRC in a landslide. It then failed to win a majority at the SSC, but the Association Chair improperly used a casting vote in favour of holding the referendum. The proper course for chairs, at the final stage of a decision being made, is to exercise casting votes against affirmative proposals that don’t already command majority support. The SRC would be well within its rights to see that decision as grounds for a motion of no confidence.

    Dragooning St Andrews into the NUS has for decades been one one of the favourite harebrained schemes of an obsessive left-wing activist minority who, for reasons best known to themselves, have chosen to study here. The majority have always been opposed, because they know that the NUS costs much and offers nothing of value. Ideally this sham of an organisation should be disbanded completely, but failing that St Andrews should have nothing whatsoever to do with it.

    • Do these “left wing activists” not realise that only Tories and others inclined to the right are welcome here. Those on the left only cause trouble here in St Andrews, what with there protests for cheaper accommodation and a greater percentage intake from(inferior) public schools.

      • Congratulations, you’ve exposed my contempt for the hard left who make up the vast bulk of NUS delegates, and virtually the whole of its leadership for the past several decades, and my abhorrence at the idea that St Andrews should have anything whatsoever to do with that despicable mob. Have a banana. Now, have you anything to contribute about the rest of my comment, and specifically the impropriety of the decision to hold this sham of a referendum?

        • Personally I don’t believe democracy is a sham. The current university education system is a sham. People from working class backgrounds being deterred from further education by ludicrous fees is a sham. In order for any kind of change to occur a strong union of students is required nationally. St Andrews refusing to become involved with this union just further serves to show that the university has no desire to challenge its obvious elitism. If having these kind of views makes me part of a despicable mob, then so be it.

          • Or maybe it has to do with not wanting to piss that £20k up against the wall, giving it to an organisation that does fuck all to change the situation. We can use that £20k to fund schemes to encourage students from disadvantaged backgrounds to come to St Andrews.

            Note that that university already does a ton of work on widening participation: it’s just that they’re stuck with an unfortunate set of circumstances that makes it really hard to get disadvantaged students to take up places here.

  4. Ton of work ???? 13.1% of students from working class backgrounds … whoevers in charge of this widening participation scheme should surely get the sack.

    • Typical Tory – are you referring to the % from NS-SEC 4,5,6 & 7 backgrounds? 13.1% is the 2012/13 figure, and the 2013/14 figure (the most recent available) is actually 14.9%. Yes it’s not good, but do you understand the challenges that the university faces in recruiting disadvantaged students? Trying to get students to come far from home, to a small town university with limited amenities and limited public transport, where the private accommodation is really quite expensive is not a trivial task.

      The more money we have to put towards helping the situation (and I think the Students’ Association could do more here), the better.


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