Corpus Christi College has been disaffiliated from CUSU since 2010Simon Lock

Corpus Christi College held a debate on Tuesday to consider whether to reaffiliate its JCR with CUSU.

Corpus Christi’s JCR has been disaffiliated from CUSU since a referendum in 2010, and the Corpus JCR’s constitution stipulates that it must hold a yearly referendum to re-evaluate that decision. Last year, 77.% of voters opted to remain disaffiliated from CUSU.

Tuesday’s debate was held as part of this year’s referendum build-up, for which voting will open at 8am on Saturday 18th November and close at 10pm on Sunday 19th November. A quorum of 40% is necessary for the results to be considered valid.

The pro-reaffiliation side was represented at the debate by CUSU President Daisy Eyre and CUSU Welfare and Rights Officer Micha Frazer-Carroll, a Corpus alumna. The anti-reaffiliation side was represented by Samuel Deutsch, a third-year student at Corpus, and Cici Carey-Stuart, the Corpus Gender Equalities officer. The debate was moderated by Jacob Bradley, the Corpus JCR Vice-President.

The arguments presented covered a wide range of topics. The anti-reaffiliation side spoke first, arguing that CUSU is ineffective, that the Corpus JCR can cover most services offered by CUSU and can do so better. They said that Corpus students have little to gain from reaffiliation when, even as members of a disaffiliated college, they are still able to enjoy services provided by CUSU, such as free sexual health supplies.

The pro-reaffiliation side attempted to move the debate away from mere financial calculation on the part of Corpus Christi and instead argued that, as a whole, CUSU does great work that benefits Corpus and the University in general. For this reason, the pro-reaffiliation side argued that reaffiliation should be seen more as symbolic gesture of support for CUSU and the work it does.

Eyre said that she recognised that “almost all of our activity benefits Corpus students as much as anyone else,” and said that she was “proud of this”. She and Frazer-Carroll stressed that Corpus students would continue to have access to the services CUSU provides.

This rhetoric was at times divisive, with the anti-reaffiliation side accused their opponents of “guilt-tripping” Corpus students about CUSU’s precarious financial situation, suggesting that criticism should instead be directed towards a lack of financial support from the university.

One argument that set this year’s debate apart from those of previous years is that surrounding the possible introduction of CUSU’s new funding model. Under the proposals, all colleges, including those which have voted to disaffiliate, will pay a block grant to the union, which would go towards funding its welfare and support office. Previously, affiliated colleges paid CUSU a per-capita fee. A final decision on approving the proposal will lie with the Levy Committee, a sub-group of the Bursars’ Committee, a decision-making body comprised of college bursars which is operated by the Office of Intercollegiate Services.

Under the new scheme, Corpus will pay a larger sum to CUSU, and the pro-reaffiliation side saw this as reason to affiliate in order to have influence on what this money is used for. The anti-reaffiliation side, however, said conclusions should not be drawn until the details of the new scheme are finalised.

Speaking to Varsity prior to the discussion, Bradley cited the new levy scheme as part of the reason that “engagement seems to be far higher” this year as compared to last year, “with far more discussion in college and passionate figures in both the pro-affiliation and anti-affiliation camps”.


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He continued to say that, since the vote to disaffiliate, “the enthusiasm and engagement of Corpuscles with the subject has varied hugely year by year since then, essentially on the basis of whether anyone particularly passionate about CUSU either way has been involved with JCR politics at the time.

“Last year apathy was more prevalent than the heated discussions of some years previous. Very few students remain even within a generation of those who were here when Corpus disaffiliated originally, and the status quo of disaffiliation has remained stable for a long time.”

Whether this engagement will have an effect on the vote will soon be known. With voting held over the weekend, results should be available by early next week.