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Campaign sabotage at York as NUS referendum voting passes quorum

A torn campaigning poster. Image credit: No2NUS York

Students have torn down cardboard campaigning posters on campus, according to the movement for the University of York Student Union (YUSU) to leave the National Union of Student (NUS).

For the second time in the referendum, members of ‘York says: No2NUS’ have uploaded pictures on their official campaign of defaced or destroyed posters.

On the 3rd, the ‘Leave’ campaign uploaded pictures of missing posters near Market Square and in Goodricke College. It is believed that Goodricke College’s JCRC removed these posters.

On the 1st, ‘York says: No2NUS’ displayed images of posters that had been edited to read ‘Yes 2 NUS’. Writing on Facebook that day, the campaign stated:

We had hoped to run a clean, pleasant campaign. Earlier today, Alex Lusty was in URY and mentioned how he thought that the Yes campaign had conducted themselves well, in spite of the NUS’s breaking of rules. The campaign leader, Robin Brabham, has repeatedly done the same.

However, it seems that this desire was not shared by the Yes campaign. In addition to being repeatedly targeted by slurs and misinformation by the Yes campaign, it now emerges that they have resorted to vandalism.

What they haven’t realised is that this campaign will be run on the issues. They think that they can silence our voice by defacing posters, but this is not the case.

Chris Wall, leading the pro-NUS side, provided a response for The Yorker:

The Yes campaign does not endorse or condone any vandalising or destroying of signs. I’m sure the No campaign feels the same. A lot goes into the making of these signs from both sides and to destroy them betters no one.

I do however feel it was inappropriate for the No campaign to state unequivocally on their official Facebook page that it was directly the Yes campaign who were responsible for the vandalism before any proof (of which there was none) was found.

Having seen multiple elections and referendum in my time here more than ever we seem to be getting hung up on cardboard signs and I hope that we can move on from this and focus on the real issues.

In other news, the student union announced on Twitter on the 3rd of June that over 1700 students have voted in the NUS referendum, almost double the 5% minimum needed for any democratic decision to achieve quorum (900 students’ votes). The ‘Leave’ campaign described this on Facebook as “a mandate 2000x larger than that of the current NUS President.”

Amendment (21:30, 5th June 2016): this article was amended to include Mr. Wall’s comment, which was received after this article was published.