Breaking: Durham SU referendum on JCR financial sustainability passes with over 96% of votes in favour

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Durham Students Union’s recent referendum – focusing on the financial sustainability of College Common Rooms – has been passed by voters, with 2048 of the 2123 voters voting in favour of the motion; this equates to around 96.5% of voters.

The referendum had been put forward after over 240 students signed a petition calling for the SU to “work with JCR and MCR President’s Committees to improve the financial sustainability of Common Rooms”.

Over 240 students signed a petition calling for the SU to “work with JCR and MCR President’s Committees to improve the financial sustainability of Common Rooms”

It asked students to vote on the following position: “Durham University should support Common Rooms’ financial sustainability, including the ability for each JCR to have at least one sabbatical officer without the financial burden falling on the shoulders of the students.”.

Voting was open from Tuesday 9th May to Monday 15th May, and the 2123 students who voted in the election constituted just under 9% of the student body. The colleges with the highest turnout were Grey College and St John’s College, both of which saw just under 20% of their students vote in the referendum.

Following the announcement of the result, Durham SU said that “The vote serves two purposes: to demonstrate to the University student support for this action, and to mandate Durham SU Officers to work in alignment with this goal.”

“The vote serves two purposes: to demonstrate to the University student support for this action, and to mandate Durham SU Officers to work in alignment with this goal”

Durham SU

Many members of College JCRs had come out in favour of voting ‘Yes’ in the referendum. Urwah Mirza, JCR President at Josephine Butler College, said before the vote that “Voting yes, is the first step towards improving the financial sustainability of common rooms, which could enable common rooms to lower levy costs, put on cheaper events, reduce subs for sports and societies and more, all contributing towards improved accessibility.”

The vote was held alongside the election for Durham SU’s new Student Trustees; the SU states that “A Trustee deliberates and decides with the rest of the Board about the best way to deliver Durham SU’s purpose”. This election saw Anna Robinson, Dylan Jones, Haf Serajee and Ben Thomas elected as Student Trustees, on a 3.1% turnout.

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