A petition started by Matt Wilson-Boddy has reached over 300 signatures from Newcastle University students within 21 hours of being launched. This petition (which can be read in full at www.nusu.co.uk/petition) asks that NUSU brings forward the cross-campus referendum it holds every three years on NUS affiliation to this academic year. The petition cites increasing unhappiness with the NUS due to undemocratic processes and a "disregard of relevant student interests in favour of ineffective national campaigns based on party politics".
The Newcastle University Students' Union Constitution states that where a student petition asking for a referendum gathers 300 signatures and is delivered to the President, the SU is required to hold said referendum. There is a mandatory ten day minimum notice period to the student body of when voting will open on such a referendum, so the earliest a referendum could be held on NUS disaffiliation is Saturday May 7th, although it is likely that the referendum will be held alongside the elections for the Part-Time Officer (PTO) positions which are open from May 9th through May 12th.
Speaking exclusively to The Courier, Matt Wilson-Boddy commented "I'm thrilled to see the petition hit 300, it's a great opportunity for students at Newcastle to have their say on how they want their union to be run.
"I look forward to seeing the remain and leave campaigns form in the wake of this, and will be keeping a close eye on how things unfold."
This petition follows a spate of discontent with the NUS from other Universities' SU's nationally. Currently several other Student Unions have already organised referendums on NUS affiliation, including Hull and Exeter.