Fewer than 300 people took part in the campus-wide referendum
By: Anttoni Numminen
President of NUS Scotland, Matt Crilly. Courtesy of Matt Crilly.
The Aberdeen University Students’ Association (AUSA) will remain a member of the National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland following a referendum that had a turnout of fewer than 300 students.
AUSA byelaws state that for a referendum to be legally binding, at least 10 per cent of students must take place. As the turnout was less than 10 per cent, the Students’ Association will continue to be a member of the NUS by default.
265 students took part in the referendum: 99 voted in favour of membership while 57 voted against and nine abstained. As of 2016, there were 14,150 students at the University which would make for a turnout of under 2%.
At the Students’ Association’s AGM, union representatives were asked what the current student population at the University was. They said they would need to consult with the University to find out the current figure.
Turnout in the student elections was almost as poor, with only 1,081 students casting a ballot for next year’s sabbatical representatives. Alisa Koester was elected Student President.
Speaking to the Gaudie, President of NUS Scotland Matt Crilly said: “Aberdeen is an integral part of the National Union of Students.
“At a time when students are facing monumental challenges across Scotland, and it’s never been more important for us to come together to defend & extend our rights. I’m glad Aberdeen will remain part of our collective movement.”
Jack Boag, who was part of the ‘Yes’ campaign team for AUSA remaining part of the NUS said he thought the low turnout reflected wider the wider engagement of the student body with AUSA and the NUS.
“I passionately believe that NUS Scotland membership is beneficial to students here in Aberdeen, but I’m invested in student politics. The promotion that there was going to be a referendum in the first place was very poor from AUSA, but the NUS also need to be more proactive in reminding students who they are and what they do.”
There was no official campaign against AUSA’s continued membership of the NUS.
Struan King, a Geography and IR student at the University said that student apathy was “astounding” at times.
“People are always happy to moan and drop Aberdream posts or get quite heated in the comments but when they can have a chance to have a formal say they just don't engage.”