Following policy set by Student Executive in 2018, Northumbria Students’ Union is holding a referendum on its affiliation to the National Union of Students (NUS).


The Trustees of the Students’ Union have agreed this referendum should take place as part of the annual elections.


Students will be asked the following question: Should Northumbria Students’ Union be affiliated to the National Union of Students? (Options: Yes or No)


What is the NUS?

NUS stands for National Union of Students and it is a membership organisation of Students’ Unions that works to represent the views of students and Students’ Unions. Many students unions are affiliated to NUS, and some are not. Each Student Union pays to be a member of the NUS and receives a number of benefits for themselves and their students for doing so.  NUS currently has five policy zones covering broad areas of issues affecting students: Further Education, Higher Education, Society and Citizenship, Union Development and Welfare.  NUS is currently led by an elected committee of student representatives, including the President of NUS who act at a national level to lobby government and relevant bodies/parties.


What is Northumbria Students’ Union current relationship to NUS?

The Union is an affiliated member of NUS and pays an annual subscription.


How should I vote? Why should I vote?

Northumbria Students’ Union remains neutral on the referendum. Our media will show both the yes and no campaigns.

You can read about the Yes and No campaigns at their respective pages Yes and No.

We will be running a Facebook Q&A on Saturday 2nd March with three questions posed to Yes and No throughout the day. This is also your chance to ask your own questions in those threads.


To help inform students, trustees have agreed risk assessment setting out their views of the risks under both affiliation and disaffiliation. This is available here

You may have heard in the media that NUS is currently reviewing it's finances and governance and forecasting a large deficit for this year and future years. NUS are working through this with their 'Turnaround Project', more details can be found here.


When will the vote take place?

Between 10am 4th March and 2pm 8th March, alongside the Union’s annual elections. The voting page can be accessed at any enrolled student of Northumbria is able to vote.


The role of Northumbria Students’ Union, Officers and Rules of Campaigning

All sabbatical officers have student status and are full members, they are therefore free to campaign and participate in elections, including referendums, in their personal capacity. A full run down of the rules of campaigning, can be found here and candidates are required to read, understand and comply.


What happens after the vote?

Northumbria Students’ Union constitution requires 850 votes be cast in a referendum for the motion to be passed. A motion is passed by a simple majority, i.e 426 of 850.

The trustees have final decision and will consider the outcome of the referendum at their next meeting.


If we are to dis-affiliate from NUS after the result of the referendum then this will not happen until the academic year 2019/20. This means Northumbria Students’ Union will continue to pay an affiliation fee until Sept 2019.