THE HISTORY BEHIND NEW-SU

Cambridge SU is founded in the efforts of two central Students’ Unions of the University of Cambridge in 2019. These are the Cambridge University Students’ Union and the University of Cambridge Graduate Union. This proposal comes at a time when Undergraduate and Postgraduate student numbers are equal, so we feel that a new organisation should represent both groups of students and those that fall in the grey area between them sufficiently and equally. 

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THE GRADUATE UNION


From its founding, the Graduate Union acted as a hub for students for whom the colleges struggled to accommodate, such as international postgraduates and their partners, mature students, visiting scholars and later post doctorate researchers.  These students were somewhat neglected and also did not fit in with the paternal culture in the colleges at this time. 

The Graduate Union was founded in 1955, by grace of the Regent’s House to support Postgraduates better, and raise awareness of this growing group. Credit for this founding goes to Margareta “Greta” Burkill, who previously studied at Newnham College. She was born in Germany and became a political refugee due to her father's activities. She helped house many child refugees escaping persecution in the 1930s and 40s. She was also helped found New Hall (now Murray Edwards College) to further the Higher Education of women at the University of Cambridge. 

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CUSU 

CUSU was founded as the Cambridge Students' Union (CSU) in 1971 to represent all higher education students studying in Cambridge, that is students attending the University of Cambridge plus undergraduates at CCAT (the then Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology, which in 1993 became Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge). CSU also represented students at Homerton College, then a separate teacher training college in the city.

CSU during its early years from 1971 to 1974 received support from CCAT Students' Union as CCATSU was from the 1960s the only large NUS-affiliated, and conventionally funded, students' union in Cambridge. CSU in turn supported CCATSU in its campaigns to get more student housing provided for CCAT degree students, a serious issue for the college by the early 1970s. CCATSU and CSU went their separate ways after 1974.

CSU was formally recognised by the Cambridge University authorities on 25 May 1984 and renamed, following a student referendum in March 1985, as CUSU - Cambridge University Students Union. 

There had been previous university-wide groups, such as CAMNUS (Cambridge NUS), which was founded in 1964 by Gordon Heald, John Bibby and others. CAMNUS arranged certain university-wide student facilities, such as 'CAMNUS Coaches' (an end-of-term bus service to all parts of the country), and an inter-collegiate mail service.

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Referendum enquiries: elections@cusu.cam.ac.uk