CUCA’s secretary described NUS as “dominated by radical socialists”Louis Ashworth

CUSU’s Elections Committee has ruled on two instances of alleged rule breaches as campaigning for the referendum on NUS membership continues.

In a statement released this afternoon, it was ruled that an email sent by the Cambridge University Conservative Association (CUCA) “was in breach of the Referendum rules”, while an email sent by NUS itself was “out of the control of Cambridge students”.

CUCA Secretary Nicholas Taylor breached the rules of the referendum by emailing a Cambridge mailing list advocating that members vote “Yes” to disaffiliation, and describing the referendum as a “momentous occasion in the history of Cambridge University student politics.”

CUSU’s referendum rules disallow the use of pre-existing mailing lists by campaigners and the Elections Committee ruling said that they will be emailing Taylor, though the instance “will not result in a sanction for the Yes Campaign.”

The ruling also said that, since Taylor was not a registered campaigner, they “will be getting in touch with the registered campaigners to discuss the advertisement of the Rules pertaining to the use of pre-existing mailing lists.”

“There are many reasons why we should leave”, said Taylor in the email, “but the main two I think are clear and concise. The NUS is an anti-Semitic organisation that cannot reform itself, and cannot be trusted to even attempt to do so. We should stand up to racism wherever we see it, and this is our chance.”

“The second point is that the NUS is dominated by radical socialists, who do not let anyone even slightly left of centre take part in their politics. When the opposing, and minority, faction in the NUS is made up of New Labour supporters, I think it's clear that the organisation does not represent us, and it does not represent the vast majority of students”.

It concluded by saying: “We need to vote to leave now, as a matter of urgency. So please vote on the above link, and click YES to disaffiliation with the NUS”.

CUCA have since re-emailed the list, providing links to information about both sides of the campaign.

Nakul Khanna, CUCA Chairman, told Varsity “It appears that we misunderstood the advice given to us by Charlotte Chorley [of the Elections Committee]. Chorley told CUCA that it was fine for societies to campaign for disaffiliation. We were not informed that using a mailing list was not permitted.”

Reacting to news of the infringement, “No” campaigner Angus Satow told Varsity “With NUS officers on campus now is the best time to cut through the hot air and find out from the source what the NUS has achieved for students, why it's needed in the coming months and how it's reforming itself. I'd urge CUCA to talk to them too.”

NUS’s email to Student Switch Off

Yesterday, several “Yes” to disaffiliation campaigners claimed the NUS had broken rules by emailing members of the mailing list for their national campaign “Student Switch Off”, which is designed to spread information about avoiding wasting energy. In the email, an NUS employee said they would be “really grateful” if people voted “No.”

While the Elections Committee ruled that: “this is out of the control of Cambridge students, and will therefore not be posing any sanctions to the [“No”] Campaign”, they went on to say that they would “be in touch with NUS to ensure that they are aware of the Referendum Rules pertaining to the mailing of pre-existing lists,” suggesting that the email was an infringement of the rules.

The ruling also addressed NUS officers campaigning for “No Campaign”, saying that “should such an incident occur again,” referring to the email sent yesterday, “the NUS Officers will be asked to cease campaigning.”