Students at the University of Lincoln have voted to disaffiliate from the National Union of Students, becoming the first to leave after NUS delegates elected an anti-Israel president last month.

The university, which does not have many Jewish students, voted to withdraw its membership, which costs Lincoln’s students’ union (ULSU) over £50,000 per annum in fees and related costs.

“Our priority is our members and what they tell us matters,” said ULSU president Hayley Jayne Wilkinson. “For some time, we have felt the focus of debate within the NUS has been far removed from the issues our students tell us are important to them.”

Of the 1,734 Lincoln students voting on the motion, 881 opted to disaffiliate from the NUS, with 804 voting to stay. There were 49 spoiled votes, and the total number of voters represents about 12 per cent of the student population.

Lincoln may soon be joined by the prestigious University of Cambridge in voting to disaffiliate from the NUS, with students being asked to decide later this month.

It comes after Jewish societies across the country voiced concern about newly-elected NUS President Malia Bouattia, who denied claims of anti-Semitism after she spoke of the “Zionist-led media” and referred to the University of Birmingham as a “Zionist outpost”.

Union of Jewish Students Campaigns Director Russell Langer said: “The vote in Lincoln sends a message to NUS that students are not happy with its current direction. This is unlikely to be the last union to disaffiliate and unless the legitimate concerns of students are taken seriously we will see this trend continue.”

Malia Bouattia

New NUS President Malia Bouattia

This weekend, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis warned that Jewish students attending university were facing a “wall of anti-Zionism, which they feel and know to be Jew hatred”.

Speaking in The Sunday Times, he said university heads should be “ashamed” of the “Zionist-bashing” taking place on campus.