OUSU Council votes to stay affiliated to NUS

OUSU council has decided to reaffiliate to the NUS without holding another referendum.

The motion, proposed by Tom Rutland and Jack Matthews was passed by a significant majority at Wednesday’s council meeting.

It emerged earlier this term that over 1,000 invalid votes were cast in the original referendum, which tipped the balance in favour of the ‘NO’ campaign, with 1780 votes against 1652 votes to stay affiliated.

However, the decision was declared void by a Junior Tribunal which met after the irregularities were brought to the attention of OUSU. The complaint was first made by Jack Matthews, the leader of the ‘Believe in Oxford’ campaign in favour of disaffiliation, who suspected that the result was improbable.

The Junior Tribunal concluded, “We understand from Ms Falck [acting returning officer] that about 20 replacement codes were issued during the course of the election, the number of spare codes used to vote far exceeds this. This means that votes were cast using a significant number of codes which were never distributed to voters. On this basis alone the referendum result cannot stand.”
The irregularities in the vote led to the resignation of OUSU Returning Officer, Alex Walker.

However, once the invalid votes had been discounted, it emerged that 70% of students voted in favour of staying affiliated to the NUS, despite only 11% voter turnout.

It was explained to the council on Wednesday that voting in favour of staying affiliated did not prevent next year’s council from deciding to hold a further referendum.

Jack Matthews, while supporting the motion, argued that the issue was not settled, proposing an amendment under which OUSU would hold a further referendum in or before Trinity 2015.

The amendment was seconded by President-Elect, Louis Trup.
However, Tom Rutland, current OUSU President and leader of the ‘Yes2NUS’ campaign, questioned the purpose of asking a question that had already been answered by the true results of the referendum.

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The amendment was defeated by 32 votes to 15, with 6 abstentions.