York students have voted for YUSU to remain a part of the National Union of Students.
A close victory for the remain campaign has seen 53% of students vote to stay in the national union, and 45% vote to leave.
York joins Oxford, Cambridge, and Exeter on the list of universities who have this year chosen to stay in the union, which has been rocked by allegations of anti-semitism and resistance to democratic reform.
The decision here will come as a relief to NUS bosses, who have seen a string of institutions disaffiliate in the last few months, including Lincoln, Hull, and Newcastle.
However, the ‘No2NUS’ campaign may seek to challenge the result after multiple complaints to the returning officer.
Voting was extended by a day after a torrent of complaints to YUSU concerning the way the referendum was handled, and the conduct of campaigners.
YUSU was forced to admit voters may have been “misled” by statistics provided by the NUS which overstated the net profit made from affiliation.
Both the Yes and No Campaigns complained about the removal of campaign signs, including one complaint from both sides about their removal during Goodfest which led to their permanent removal in the cleanup.
Ciaran Morrissey, a ‘No2NUS’ organiser, has launched a formal complaint against the ‘Yes to NUS’ campaign and its leader, sabbatical officer Chris Wall.
Morrissey alleges that the ‘Yes’ campaign kept publicising the incorrect statistics after they were corrected by YUSU.
A banner used by the ‘Yes’ campaign including the numbers – which overstated the net profit from affiliation by 300% – was not taken down for over a day after the figures were changed by YUSU.
The original figures said YUSU made a net profit from NUS affiliation was £18,551 per year. This was then revised down to just £6,452.
Morrissey claimed that this overstatement was “well beyond the realms of reason or acceptability,” and that to continue to use such a banner because their graphics designer was away was “deliberately misleading.”
Only one student emailed to have their vote change from ‘Yes’ to ‘No’ after the figures were updated.
The No Campaign were in the lead in the referendum until Monday, when the Yes Campaign took over.
Overall turnout for the referendum was 15.7%, a vast improvement on the last time affiliation was previously debated in 2014 which was voted on by only 7.6% of students.
YUSU President Ben Leatham has called the turnout "strong," and described the turnout as "a real endorsement of the commitment, dedication and hard work that both the Yes and No campaigners have put in."
Morrissey said: "I'm appreciative of YUSU for allowing the vote to be held, and to all of those who took part in campaigning and engaged with the campus debate.
"I think it speaks volumes that the No campaign can hit 46% of the vote despite the NUS breaking external campaign rules, the Yes campaign knowingly spreading false information without consequence, and YUSU's Returning Officer misleading students about having notified the NUS of campaign rules."