The Union Board of Trustees have made a decision that the NUS Referendum should reflect the balance on both sides to students that NUS is currently under reform and we do not know what the future holds for NUS. Both sides are expected to reflect this within their campaigning. All views expressed in the below statement are that of the campaign teams and not of UPSU.

Student statement supporting the YES campaign

They say that strength lies within a union, and this is especially true with the National Union of Students (NUS). A true political vessel that has not only stood up for your rights time and time again, but also for those who may not have a voice. The NUS has been at the forefront of social, political and global change for many years.

  • Did you know that the reason students do not pay council tax is as a result of NUS action?
  • Or that the Young Person’s Railcard was curated out of dialogue between National Rail and the NUS?
  • Or that you can get a postgraduate loan if you are under 30 because of the NUS working with a number of partners?
  • Or that you can get your deposit back from your landlord much more easily due to the NUS helping put the tenancy deposit scheme into the Housing Bill?

Student statement supporting the NO campaign

The NUS has been in crisis for years now. Whether that be from its utter democratic deficit to its complete failings in being able to handle finances it is now clear that NUS no longer represent the interests of Portsmouth students. All 5 Portsmouth sabbatical officers support NO to NUS and here is why you should too:

  • Your Union wastes ~£50,000 in NUS affiliation fees every year with almost nothing to show for it in return. This money can be spent better back in Portsmouth.
  • NUS is no longer progressive - it recently voted to renew its policy that gay men don’t face oppression.
  • The TOTUM discount card has been a disaster and there are better, free alternatives.
  • Other Student Unions that have disaffiliated have thrived.
  • NUS officers are regularly seen bullying and harassing the students that they are meant to represent.

Referendum Debate

What is it?

Each year the Union is required to confirm affiliation to the NUS. At the 2018 Annual Members’ Meeting students told us that they required a referendum to decide the future of this NUS affiliation.

Therefore, the Union will be holding a referendum to decide whether we remain affiliated to the National Union of Students (NUS).

The question will ask ‘Should UPSU remain affiliated with NUS, Yes, No, or Don't Know?’

The referendum will be conducted in line with Article 13 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association. Info on this can be found here: upsu.net/students/docs

Important Information on NUS

NUS is currently in a period of reform meaning that the Union is unable to provide campaigners or voters with information of confirmed options regarding what NUS will look like or offer in the immediate or longer term future.

Campaigners and voters should be aware that significant changes have already taken place in NUS with further changes proposed for decision in the coming months. Further details of the reform proposal can be found in this
White Paper

UPSU seeks Student Opinion on the NUS Referendum


All purchased TOTUM cards will remain valid until the expiry date shown on the card.

At the point that UPSU has left the NUS no further purchases of the TOTUM card will be authorised. We are however in negotiations with TOTUM and other student discount providers to ensure a discount offer is available whatever the outcome of the Referendum.

A majority outcome means that the option that has the most number of votes will win.

Quorum is the minimum number of votes by which the Referendum is considered valid. Quorum for this Referendum is set at 1000 votes. 

As per our Memorandum & Articles of Association 


A resolution may only be passed by Referendum if at least 1000 Members cast a vote in the Referendum and a majority of the votes cast are in favour of the resolution.

Should “I don’t know win” then the result will be referred to trustees for further discussion as to what action should be taken next. 

Should we disaffiliate, your studies and your membership to us will not be affected. 

If we disaffiliate, we can hold another referendum at the discretion of our trustees and as per our Bye Laws in the future. 

Should yes win, we are mandated to ask the membership by cross campus ballot annually whether they agree with the results of the last referendum. 

UPSU will still function in the same way. All members are entitled to representation and this support will still be available whatever the outcome.

The Sabbatical Officers will still be able to champion these issues via our strong regional relationships with other Students’ Unions in the South East and our close partnership with local MP’s and the city council.