Page:Constitutional Referendum

Constitutional Referendum

On Monday 20 February, CUSU Council resolved to hold a referendum on adopting wholesale amendments to CUSU’s Constitution and Standing Orders. The questions will be:

“Do you approve the proposed changes to CUSU’s Constitution and Standing Orders?”

The proposed amendments to the Constitution and Standing Orders are to strike both documents in full, and replace the Constitution with the text available here and the Standing Orders with the text available here.

A full overview of the proposed changes can be found here. Please note, this has been prepared by the YES campaign.


3rd March Campaigning opens 9:00
7th March Voting open 9:00
10th March Deadline for declaring spending 12:00 (noon)
10th March  Voting Closes 17:00

Neutral Information

This information has been provided by the Elections Committee.

  • CUSU is governed by its Constitution and Standing Orders. Its Constitution is the supreme document and takes precedence over the Standing Orders – it can only be amended via a referendum.
  • CUSU's Constitution was last amended in May 2012. CUSU's Standing Orders were last amended in February 2015.
  • CUSU's Union Development Team have proposed wholesale amendments to both the Constitution and the Standing Orders. A referendum on these proposals was called by CUSU Council on 20 February.
  • CUSU is both a students' union and a charity under law, and its governing documents are therefore subject to the laws governing both kinds of institution.

Students' Unions are required by law–

  • to have a written Constitution
  • to have their Constitution approved by their University
  • to have their Constitution reviewed by their University at least once every five years

Charities are required by law–

  • to secure the consent of the Charity Commission before making certain amendments to their governing document.
  • to notify the Charity Commission of any changes to their governing document.

The most recent version of CUSU's Constitution submitted to the Charity Commission was the version as amended in May 1992.

Legal advice received by CUSU states the proposed amended Constitution complies with the law.

The proposed amendments to the Constitution require the consent of the Charity Commission.

The proposed changes have received the consent of the Charity Commission – however, the response of the Charity Commission giving consent contained an ambiguity. The Commission requested a change in format to Clause 3, but as part of this request quoted the current, unamended wording. The proposed changes therefore include two wordings of this clause, pending a Charity Commission clarification. The meaning of the two wordings is the same.

The proposed changes to CUSU's Constitution and Standing Orders have not yet secured the final approval of the University. The changes proposed in this referendum, if passed, would therefore only take effect subject to the approval of the University.


Registered Charity Number: 288365