Surrey students vote to leave the NUS
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Students at the University of Surrey have voted for their students' union to leave the National Union of Students by a margin of 48 votes. A total of 1,632 votes were cast in the referendum, with 51.5% (840) of the votes in favour of disaffiliation and 48.5% (792) wanting to remain affiliated to the NUS. Earlier this month, University of Essex Students' Union disaffiliated from the NUS with 59% in favour of leaving. Several other universities disaffiliated over the course of last year after Malia Bouattia was appointed president. The 30-year-old Birmingham graduate served two years as the Black Students' Officer before being elected to lead the NUS. The appointment sparked concerns over anti-semitism within the union, following an article co-written by Malia in which she described the University of Birmingham as "something of a Zionist outpost in higher education." However, Malia later wrote that her words had been misinterpreted. In a statement she said: "There is no place for antisemitism in the student movement, or in society. If any of my previous discourse has been interpreted otherwise, such as comments I once made about Zionism within the media, I will revise it to ensure there is no room for confusion." The University of Lincoln Students' Union was the first to disaffiliate just one month after Malia's election. Newcastle, Hull and Loughborough followed suit. Surrey's vote to leave comes after the current Vice President Further Education Shakira Martin beat Bouattia to become the new NUS President. Lead image courtesy of Rwendland.