Last week we announced that the result of the referendum on Christ Church Students’ Union's continued membership of the National Union of Students (NUS) had been declared invalid because of a serious breach of our rules. This update will provide more information about the decision, and outline the next steps.
The Deputy Returning Officer and Returning Officer ruled that a breach of rule 12, “Don’t do anything another campaign cannot reasonably do”, occurred when a “Yes to NUS” email was sent from NUS to, we believe, 1,227 TOTUM Card holders at 2pm on Thursday 21st March. Although this was sent by an organisation external to CCSU and not endorsed by the Yes campaign, as the No campaign did not have access to TOTUM’s database of card-holders, this was a clear breach of referendum rule 12.
Further to the specific rule breach, the “Yes to NUS” email was contrary to the message that Christ Church Students’ Union had agreed could be sent by NUS to TOTUM Card holders who had opted into campaign messages - “A referendum is taking place on your campus - have your say about Christ Church Students’ Union's affiliation with the National Union of Students. Find out more information - www.ccsu.co.uk”.
Because of the scale of the breach, and the spike in voting visible via the online voting analytics shortly after 2pm on Thursday 21st, the Deputy Returning Officer and Returning Officer ruled that it was likely to have significantly affected the referendum result and as such the result should be declared null and void. Votes were not counted before this ruling was made, and will not be counted as the result has been declared invalid.
We realise this outcome is incredibly frustrating to the students who exercised time, energy, and creativity in campaigning in the referendum, and to every single student who took the time to have their say. We are as frustrated as you are.
NUS were given the opportunity to explain how this happened, but have not responded to our inquiries.
Christ Church Students’ Union is fully committed to running fair and transparent elections and referenda, and ensuring that all students have the information available in order to cast a considered vote. As such, we will revise our referendum rules and will rerun the referendum immediately after the Easter break.
Christ Church Students' Union Leadership Team 2018-19 (Presidents, CEO & Deputy CEO)
Timeline for NUS Referendum 2.0
If you’d like to get involved in campaigning in the referendum, you can sign up here.
Campaigning: Monday 22nd April - Friday 3rd May 2019
Voting opens: Wednesday 1st May 2019, 12 noon
Voting closes: Friday 3rd May 2019, 12 noon
Results announced: Friday 3rd May 2019, from 4pm