Union ructions

August 13, 1999

It was disappointing that the report into the decision by Southampton's student union to disaffiliate from the NUS did not mention that the union held a referendum on the issue as recently as March 1998. The result was 92.4 per cent in favour of staying with the NUS and the turnout was 1,377, which is comparable to the union's sabbatical elections.

The report also failed to say that the students' union council's vote was hung and carried only by the casting vote of the chair, who has long been an advocate of disaffiliation.

Is it so odd that the NUS asks questions about serious decisions taken outside term time when students cannot participate? We look forward to the referendum next term when every Southampton student can have a say.

As for the mystery of the missing letter (which is said to outline Southampton's intention to disaffiliate and was to have reached the NUS before a July 1 deadline), the letter's author, Alex Bols, prepared a draft version, which was never sent to the NUS because he received a complaint over how the affiliation vote had been conducted.

Andrew Pakes, NUS president Alex Bols, president Southampton University Students Union (July 1998-July 1999)

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