The universities of Lincoln and Newcastle have severed ties with the National Union of Students (NUS) after it elected controversial figure, Malia Bouattia, as president.
Students from Lincoln University on Monday voted to sever ties with the NUS in a close referendum vote, deciding by 88 votes to disaffiliate from the NUS, around 50.8 percent of the 1,734 ballots cast.
The university will officially disaffiliate from the NUS on December 31, 2016.
The students’ union at Britain’s Newcastle University became the second university to cut ties with the NUS after two-thirds of the Newcastle students came out in favour of disaffiliating on Wednesday.
Both decisions follow the controversial election of Malia Bouattia as NUS president, the body’s first black female Muslim leader.
Bouattia, an activist in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, has previously advocated for Palestinian violence against Israelis, and has refused to condemn the Islamic State terrorist group. Her April 21 election sparked allegations of anti-Semitism and widespread criticism of the NUS.
The Telegraph quoted Dominic Fearon, the president of the Newcastle students’ union, as saying that “it is clear that our students feel that the NUS no longer represents their views, does not prioritize correctly, and is not effective at achieving change.”
Fearon indicated that Newcastle and Lincoln were not the only universities mulling disaffiliation.
“The current discontent amongst students nationally can be measured in the number of unions considering holding referenda on their membership,” he said. “We hope that the NUS will acknowledge their shortcomings and will work to become the national union that students deserve and can identify with.”