The outcome of this referendum takes precedence over all previous CUSU policyLouis Ashworth

Cambridge students have voted to change CUSU’s policy on Class Lists, with the union now mandated to campaign to retain Class Lists with an “easier opt-out process”, according to confirmed results.

The referendum of the student body on the issue, which ran from Tuesday until Thursday, posed the question: “Should CUSU campaign to keep the Class Lists, with an easier opt-out process?”. 55.23 per cent voted Yes, while 44.26 per cent voted No – a majority of nearly 11 per cent. 

There were a total of 4,758 votes cast, with the Yes vote exceeding the required threshold of 10 per cent of the eligible voters needed to be valid. It was a lower overall turnout than for the recent referendum on NUS membership.

The result means that CUSU will campaign for Class Lists to still be posted outside Senate House at the end of Easter term, but with a simpler route for students who wish to remove their name and results.

Jack Drury, a spokesperson for Save The Class List and the Yes vote, told Varsity the campaign was “delighted” with the result.

They thanked all those who voted, saying the result was “a victory for students’ right to choose what happens with their grades.”

“We applaud the No campaign for their commitment to welfare,” he said, “but ultimately it is clear students don't want to be spoken for. CUSU must accept the result of this referendum and change the nature of their representations to the University accordingly.”

“It has taken 2,633 people to overturn a decision made by two dozen people at CUSU Council,” he said, “an issue on which there was unanimous agreement in Council is apparently not so clear cut.

“We didn’t expect, when we set up the campaign months ago, to overcome the CUSU inertia,” he said.

The leaders of the No campaign told Varsity: “We are obviously disappointed with the outcome of the referendum result, but we will continue to campaign and represent the views of those who recognise that Class Lists, in any shape or form, are an actively hurtful and archaic tradition. We must now turn our attention to the vote at Regent House which begins at the end of November, and see how the University chooses to respond!”

Amatey Doku, CUSU President, reacted to the news as the results were confirmed, saying he will give a statement on the outcome at this Monday’s CUSU Council.  

“In the meantime,” he said “I would like to thank everyone who engaged in this process; the Elections Committee, the campaigners on both sides of this debate, and ultimately the voters for making their voices heard.”

As the system stands, students wishing to opt-out this must obtain “demonstrable evidence of medical or other exceptional extenuating circumstances” that inclusion on a public Class List would be “likely to seriously endanger their health or well-being”, and liaise with their Director of Studies, Tutor and Senate House in order to have their request approved.  Not only are these requests not always granted, but it requires a large administrative effort for Senate House to process and evaluate exemption requests.

There has been significant support across the University for this change, and the ‘Our Grade, Our Choice’ campaign last year garnered more than 1,300 signatures on a petition calling for easier and greater control for students over publication of their results.

It was in light of this that CUSU Council voted unanimously in favour of campaigning to abolish Class Lists in November 2015. 

However, in July, the ‘Save the Class List’ campaign, calling for Class Lists to be retained with an easier opt-out system instead of total abolition, exceeded the 350 signatures required for a referendum of the student body, prompting this week’s vote.

The outcome of the referendum takes precedence over any previous CUSU policy, and can only be overturned by another student referendum.

The future of Class Lists now lies with a Regent House ballot that will be held from 28th November to 8th December, asking whether or not to accept a Grace from the University Council that will discontinue the publication of Class Lists. While this ballot is the ultimate decider on the issue, some Council members have stated that the result of the student referendum will influence their votes

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