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York students vote against National Student Survey boycott

Image credit: 'Vote NO to the NSS Boycott'
Image credit: 'Vote NO to the NSS Boycott'
Image credit: ‘Vote NO to the NSS Boycott’

Students at the University of York have voted against a motion for their students’ union to campaign for a boycott of the National Student Survey.

958 students took part in the referendum, which asked students whether the University of York Students’ Union (YUSU) should promote a boycott of the National Student Survey (NSS), in collaboration with an initiative by the National Union of Students.

568 students voted against the motion, ‘Should YUSU campaign for students to boycott the National Student Survey ‘NSS)?’, defeating the 379 students who voted in favour. Eleven students abstained.

The turnout for the referendum was 5.2%, just above the minimum number of votes required for a legitimate result.

A formal debate on the motion made union history after a participant departed the floor mid-debate, stating that the other side had convinced him to change his mind during the discussion.

Following the debate, voting opened on the 30th of January and closed at 10am this morning. Campaign groups either promoting or criticising a proposed boycott formed and operated with physical campaigning and social media activism on Facebook.

The referendum on a proposed boycott came about after a policy idea on boycotting the survey was submitted.  The Policy Coordinator, James Humpish, remarked at the time:

The question of whether YUSU should support a boycott of the NSS was originally supposed to be included in the current policy review. Once the policy pack was released, the officer group considered the time-sensitivity of the issue and voted that it went to referendum as is their prerogative.

The Yorker has contacted the leaders of the pro- and anti-boycott campaign groups for comment. Katie Deyes, a member of the anti-boycott side, told The Yorker:

We are delighted with the result. It’s been a pleasure to have worked with such a dedicated campaign team of people who have the best interests of student at heart.

The Deputy Returning Officer’s report can be read here.