Imperial students have voted overwhelmingly to leave the National Union of Students, following a week-long period of voting in an affiliation referendum. A total of 2,075 votes were cast, just making the quorum of 2,022 votes required to make the result valid.
A turnout of 15.4% is half that of the last referendum, but an excellent turnout given the time of year. Imperial College Union will now immediately submit its paperwork for disaffiliation in order to meet a 1st July deadline, which is believed to be the cut-off date for saving next year's affiliation fee. There has been some disagreement with the NUS over the procedure for disaffiliation and the date at which next year's fee becomes due. Imperial would retain voting rights until December 31st, with the possibility of an extraordinary conference still to come.
2075 votes were cast, with 1 spoilt paper and the following votes:
- Yes: 617 (29.7%)
- No: 1457 (70.3%)
ICU President, Stephen Brown, said:
"It is unfortunate that the NUS failed to modernise this year but it is not reasonable for the NUS to expect Unions to continue to generously fund an organisation that has consistently failed to fulfill its potential. During this debate students felt that the quality of representation offered to them by NUS was woefully lacking and that on balance it was best that officer time and financial resources were re-directed to other priorities. I would like to thank both campaign teams and the student media for bringing the debate on NUS affiliation to the student body and I would like to thank the Returning Officer Alistair Cott for the fair and efficient manner in which he ran the referendum."
A number of NUS members and former ICU President John Collins had believed only a few hundred people would vote this late in the year.