Newcastle University students have voted to disaffiliate from the National Union of Students, becoming the second to do so in a matter of days after an anti-Israel president was elected last month.
The northern university voted overwhelmingly to break away from the national body, with 67% supporting the move, with 33% against. 1469 votes were cast in the referendum in total.
The university, which has a small Jsoc, voted to withdraw its membership, which costs Newcastle students’ union (NUSU) over £51,395.40 per annum in fees and related costs.
Students’ Union President Dom Fearon wrote in a statement after the vote: “It is clear that our students feel that the NUS no longer represents their views, does not prioritise correctly and is not effective at achieving change.”
“The warning signs were there last year when the President of NUSU, along with 12 other Presidents, signed an open letter calling for reform in NUS. This fell on deaf ears. It is not clear at this stage whether all signatories of the letter will be holding similar affiliation referenda. We feel at this point in time that all students should be given a chance to have their voices heard.”
Newcastle is the second institution to vote to disaffiliate, after students at Lincoln agreed to earlier in the week. 881 opted to disaffiliate from the NUS, with 804 voting to stay.
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”.
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.
The Jewish society have been approached for comment.