Students have voted to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, reject Prevent and adopt new Gender Equality policies. Results for the Students’ Union referenda were announced just after 5 pm today. The referenda took place this week from Monday 30th April until Friday 4th May when voting closed.

Turnout stood at 961. This was slightly lower than the turnout for the autumn referenda which totalled 1547. See our coverage of the autumn referendum here:

Of these 961 students, 940 students voted on whether the Students’ Union should continue to support the BDS movement. 603 (64%) voted in favour of this with 279 (30%) voting against and 58 abstaining from the vote.

As a result of the vote, The Union is mandated to “lobby the University to drop all investments in and not work with any company that is complicit [with Israel]”.

Slightly fewer students (836) voted on the proposal for a new Gender Equality policy. Students voted to accept the policy with 594 (76.7%) voting in favour, 180 (23.3%) voting against and 62 students abstaining.

The Students’ Union are now mandated to enact the policy which involves a wide range of actions such as: publishing Union and University gender based pay statistics, “Lobbying the University to work towards a gender balance on University committees including representation of trans and non-binary people”, organising an Equal Pay Day event, encouraging schools to hold representative open days, supporting diversification of students in STEM subjects, promoting #ThisSussexGirlCan week, and targeted advertising.

The Students Union will also implement a policy opposing Prevent, a government counter terrorism and anti-radicalisation policy, after 570 (81.5%) students voted in favour of doing so. 129 (18.5%) students voted against introducing such a policy and 86 abstained from the vote. A total of 785 students voted on this motion.

The Students’ Union said on their website: “The Students’ Union Executive oppose Prevent and strongly believe in fostering a learning environment which allows all students to organise politically, free from harassment”.

Actions as a result of the referendum may involve: non-compliance with Prevent by USSU, actively campaigning against the policy, supporting students negatively affected by Prevent, supporting NUS’ (National Union of Students) ‘Students not Suspects’ campaign and action by Union officers to ensure the University are “adhering to minimal compliance with Prevent”.

Please see: for the Union’s announcement of results.

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