The publication of Class Lists has been a controversial issue all yearLouis Ashworth

A referendum to change CUSU’s stance on abolishing Class Lists will run from the 1st - 3rd November, it has been announced.

All students who are members of CUSU will be allowed to vote in the election, presented with the question: “should CUSU campaign to keep the Class Lists, with an easier opt-out process?”

It is understood that the ‘Save the Class List’ campaign will become the main campaigning group in support of an opt-out system. A bidding process to become the official group for supporting the ‘No’ option will open shortly.

This is the third referendum of the calendar year, following a vote on CUSU’s affiliation to NUS and the creation of a full-time Disabled Students’ Officer for CUSU.

This vote will not formally decide whether the Class Lists will be abolished or not, which will be decided by a vote in Regent House towards the end of Michaelmas term. However, it has been suggested that the referendum held by CUSU will give an indication to the way students feel about Class Lists, and so could influence the way members of Regent House vote.

CUSU initially voted to oppose public display of Class Lists at a council meeting in November last year, where there were 20 votes to zero in favour of abolition, with four abstentions. This came after a petition by ‘Our Grade, Our Choice’, which called for the University to allow students to opt out from the Class Lists based solely on their preference for doing so. This petition was sent to the University, who then backed a review of the usage of Class Lists.

However, the move to abolish the Class Lists was opposed by the campaign group ‘Save the Class List’, who created a petition that gained more than the 350 signatures needed to trigger a CUSU referendum. The group supports an opt out system, as opposed to complete abolition of the Lists.

In July, a grace concerning the abolition of Class Lists was submitted to Regent House. However, 55 Regent House members requested a ballot on the matter, closing at 5pm on Thursday 8th December 2016, which will now decide the fate of Class Lists.

Last November, a circular issued by the Academic Division of the General Board was sent out to the secretaries of the Faculties and Departments, Senior Tutors and Proctors, seeking opinions on the future of the Class Lists, based on four options: “(A) abolishing publication of Class Lists; (B) greater flexibility for individual students to opt out; (C) partial publication; or (D) no change.”

Results from the circular indicated that the “majority of colleges were in favour of abolishing public displays of Class Lists”, a view which was also supported by the Faculties and Departments. One unspecified Cambridge college chose ‘D’, and there was no support for ‘B’ or ‘C’. The reasons for the lack of support for an opt-out system have not been fully laid out, but appear to relate to possible costs which may be incurred