Following the claim that its affiliation to Sheffield Student Union (SSU) was only a “joke motion” in a general meeting last year, Merton JCR has voted not to renew its allegiance to the union with the highest student satisfaction in the UK.
The motion, which was proposed by the Merton JCR Executive Committee, resolved only to renew Merton’s affiliation to OUSU, removing the college’s dual loyalty.
A JCR member explained that since OUSU had the lowest student satisfaction rating at the time, and SSU had the highest, being a member of both would “balance out” student satisfaction.
One student, who spoke in favour of the motion, said that although “joke motions are great”, “good things have to come from them”, such as the charity sports match between the warring colleges on Merton Street that follows First Week’s war declaration.
“The difficulty of this motion is that it undermines the credibility of our affiliations and we should not support it as we want to say some things are important. It may not be a huge thing, but it sets a precedent for how we view our affiliations”, he said.
Some were less convinced. One student who spoke against the motion gave reasons that SSU was worthy of Merton’s affiliation, including the higher rate of satisfaction (according to the Times Higher Student Survey 2015), an annual turnover of £11m, and a variety of famous alumni, inducing Sebastian Coe and Jessica Ennis-Hill.
JCR President Natalie Nyugen commented to Cherwell, “Merton JCR voted not to renew its affiliation to Sheffield Students’ Union. This is part of the annual cycle of reviewing external affiliations.”
The vote not to renew affiliation with SSU passed with 14 votes for to 5 against, with 5 abstentions.
Sheffield Student Union has been contacted for comment.