The Union is affiliated to the National Union of Students (NUS). The Education Act states that where a Union is affiliated to any external organisation, there should be a procedure for the membership to review and approve affiliation status.

The last review of the Union's affiliation to NUS was held in October 2017, so we are long overdue a review of our affiliation.

On February 6 2023, Union Executive voted to hold a referendum to decide whether: ‘Should the Union continue to be affiliated to National Union of Students UK (NUS UK)?’

We're here to facilitate this vote and will remain impartial until an outcome is reached. After the vote, whichever outcome has a majority will set our position as a Students’ Union.

Should the Union continue to be affiliated to National Union of Students UK (NUS UK)?

And the results have been announced...students at UCL vote to REMAIN part of NUS UK.

What is NUS?

In the past NUS was a single organisation, but since 2019 it has become two separate organisations. NUS UK and NUS Charity.

NUS UK is a registered company that exists to represent the views and interests of students based at UK Universities, through national campaigns and political lobbying. This democratic arm of the NUS is often called the 'political' and 'democratic' arm of the NUS, which has Full-Time Officers, with its work being guided by the National and Liberation Conferences.

NUS Charity is a membership body who supports Unions to develop, through training and resources and has a trading consortium which allows us to offer discounted prices in our outlets.

NUS Charity have confirmed that it would be possible for a Union to disaffiliate from NUS UK and still be a member of NUS Charity.

Please note that the referendum refers to the Union's membership of NUS UK.

Campaigning Rules

The Campaigning Rules for the NUS Referendum can be found here.

NUS Referendum Schedule

Thursday 27 April 18:00 - 19:00LG17 Lecture Room
Bentham House
Open Meeting
Tuesday 2 May 09:00OnlineVoting Opens
Friday 5 May 12:00OnlineVoting Closes
Friday 5 May 13:00Online
Results Published

What happens if we leave NUS UK?

  1. We would save £30,000 in affiliation fees. This could be reinvested in areas of the Union, for example, working to lobby nationally for changes that will benefit students.
  2. We would no longer participate in NUS democratic structures including their national and liberation conferences, we could work more with other students' unions to influence national government directly.
  3. If we wanted to, we could still re-affiliate in the future.
  4. We would still have access to the benefits of NUS Charity, such as Union development resources, purchasing consortium, trading support, election support and other services.

What happens if we stay affiliated to NUS UK?

  1. We would continue to pay the £30,000 affiliation fee.
  2. We would be able to shape and benefit from any national lobbying campaigns NUS UK undertakes.
  3. We would be able to take part in NUS UK’s democratic structures, and send delegates to NUS National Conference and NUS Liberation Conference. Student Officers and delegates would be able to run for NUS Full-Time Officer positions and participate in NUS Committees.
  4. We would continue to have regular referendums on affiliation status to ensure we are making decisions that reflect what UCL students want.


I heard that there was an investigation in to antisemitism at NUS. What happened?

In May 2022, NUS commissioned an independent investigation into allegations of antisemitism within NUS. The report, which was released in January 2023, concluded that there has been “antisemitism as well as hostility towards Jews which has not been challenged sufficiently robustly or proactively by NUS”.

In response, NUS said that “there is no place for antisemitism within NUS and we are committed to ensuring that Jewish students feel safe and welcome in every corner of our movement”. NUS accepted the recommendations from the independent investigation and have developed an action plan to tackle antisemitism within the organisation.

How many students need to vote for the referendum to be binding?

5% of students need to vote for the referendum to be binding. There is no minimum quota required for each option for the referendum to be binding.

What voting system will be used for the referendum?

First past the post. This means you can choose one option - 'For', 'Against' or 'Abstain'.

What should I do if I have a complaint?

You can submit a complaint via the NUS Referendum Complaints Webform. Complaints must be received by Friday 5 May 13:00 in order to be reviewed.

Have any other Students' Unions held similar referendums this academic year?

Yes! Lots of other Students' Unions have had similar referendums for a variety of reasons.