As reported in last week’s edition of The Badger, students at Bangor University were to hold a referendum on Thursday 16 October on whether to support the Campaign to Defeat Fees (CDF).

Socialist students at the University had been campaigning for their Union to join the CDF, with the aim of abolishing tuition fees, a move which was met with criticism from both the NUS and the NUS Wales for being “unrealistic”.

However, despite the fact that an alleged 300 socialist students called the referendum, voting turn-out was disappointing. 271 students voted “Yes” in the motion and 104 voted “No”. Thus, victory for those in favour of joining the CDF, but by no means an overwhelming one, with the mysterious absence of the votes of 29 supposed hard-core fee-fighters.

Ben Gray, President of the NUS Wales, commented on the result: “Any result that sees the percentage increments so closely matched to the actual numbers clearly points to a lack of engagement and a rather drab voting outcome.”

Nevertheless, in response to the fact that the “Yes” vote was, indeed, triumphant, he stated ‘I look forward to hearing Bangor Students’ Union bringing this view to our democratic structures so we can have a proper fees debate at spring conference.’

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  • Hi, I’m one of the members of the Socialist Student society in Bangor.

    There were 300 signatures calling for the referendum – some of these didn’t support the campaign but wanted a proper debate on the issue (this was a small number) – a much larger number of those who signed were third years (the petition was handed in in May 2008) who have since finished university and therefore could not vote.

    I would personally place the majority of the blame for the low turnout on the poor advertising for the referendum from the student union and the lack of a proper no campaign (who were in my opinion hoping for a much lower turnout where their core vote would hold up and we would be less able to mobilise people).

    However, many more people than take part in our Student Union general meetings voted in this referendum.