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The Yes to NUS vote hides a real need for reform

Daniel Kodsi calls for the failure of the NUS referendum not to obfuscate the factors that made the vote necessary

Daniel Kodsi
Daniel Kodsi
Hi, I am Chairman of OSPL, Cherwell's publishing house. I was editor during Michaelmas 2016. I read Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Balliol College and can be reached at [email protected]

“Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” my friend told me yesterday as I accepted a ‘No Thanks NUS’ pamphlet on the way back to college. You mustn’t, she said, let a relatively minor grievance blind me to the greater good of the Oxford student body.

This is malarkey. The whole of a democracy is not the sum of its parts. Rather, the good of the one is the good of all. Insofar as a society allows the freedom of one member to be infringed upon, it fails to be free. The rights of Jewish students in the NUS cannot be sublimated for the sake of other groups. The obverse is also true, of course. No matter how well Jewish students are treated, it would be our obligation to withdraw from the NUS were Muslim students, students with disabilities, or LGBTQ students discriminated against or made feel unwelcome.

I must admit that I am surprised and disconcerted by the margin of the ‘Yes to NUS’ campaign’s victory. I am struck by the stark divide between words and action. We have heard vocal and overwhelming criticism of anti-Semitism, both in regards to NUS and the Oxford University Labour Club, but there is yet to be any substantial reform. Until such time as a concrete plan of action is formed, I hope and expect that there will be those willing to protest continued injustice. Those calls must be heard and not dismissed on the basis of Thursday’s referendum.

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