The proposed reforms to NUS will block almost all remaining opportunities for ordinary students to control or influence what the union does.
They will cut liberation Officers, committees and sections, slash representation for minority groups and FE students and scrap the requirement for elections to decide which delegates to send from student unions to National Conference. There will be fewer, shorter, less political and less democratic conferences. ‘Consensus-based decision making’ will take precedence over motions debates and democratic votes.
The National Executive Committee will be scrapped, meaning no elected body will hold the full time officer team to account. National Conference will be unable to change NUS’s governance structures or vote to approve or reject its trustees. As the ‘Save NUS Democracy’ initiative states, the reforms will “take powers away from students and put them in the hands of unnamed, unaccountable bureaucrats”.
The process of gutting NUS democracy has done without the consent of hundreds of thousands of members, many of whom know nothing about the disaster our union faces.
Unelected and unaccountable members of the ‘Turnaround Board’ called the shots. Delegates at National Conference have no opportunity to amend the reforms.
We reject the idea that there is no money for the Trans and International Students’ Campaigns to continue to exist. We note the NUS CEO is currently paid £80,000.
We can’t defend the status quo: we need an NUS with control in the hands of its 7 million members, not its 600 SU CEOs. NUS must mobilise mass grassroots campaigns in defence of students’ rights, not limit its events and activities to a small layer of committee members and sabbatical officers. It must link up with the trade union movement to lead vibrant political campaigns that make the collective power of its millions of members into a real threat to the Tories and the bosses they represent.
This means stopping the anti democratic reforms and cuts to liberation, while fighting for:
- A longer, more accessible conference, with much more time for political debate and a bigger delegate entitlement for student unions;
- Power in the hands of students, not bureaucrats; this means an end to high executive pay, and elected student officers directing staff rather than the other way round;
- General meetings of students in SUs rather than unelected trustee boards calling the shots, and the freedom to organise, protest and speak on campus and in SUs;
- Proper funding for the Block of 15 so they can travel to campuses to help stir up campaigns.
The student left must unite around these demands for a fighting, democratic NUS, join the campaign at National Conference and vote for candidates who pledge to fight for democracy.
Initial signatories:Justine Canady, left candidate for NUS PresidentCharlie Porter, Sheffield SU Education Officer Elect, NUS Delegate, Free University of Sheffield co-chairHamzah Sheikh, Manchester, NUS NEC CandidateChristie Neary, NUS Trans Committee 2018-2019Nadia Whittome, Nottingham SU BME Network General SecretaryVijay Jackson, NUS Delegate University of EdinburghEd Williamson, NUS Delegate University of Sheffield, Free University of SheffieldBradley Allsop, University of Lincoln Colin Bojer, UKC Anti-Fascist Student Group, Precarious@KentUniTom Ward, York Cut the RentAlex Stuart, Surrey Labour StudentsDan Davison, Student Left Network BME Officer, University of CambridgeAndrew Peak, University of Oxford Maisie Sanders, Student Left Network Lauren Brindle, University of LincolnCalvin Bissitt, University of LincolnRebecca Chapman, University of Northampton Callum Roper, University of LincolnJemma Vobe, University of Northampton Tom Freeman, University of Lincoln Sophia Taha, Keele University Sam Wood, Manchester University Katie Foy, Disabled Students' Officer, Manchester SU. Disabled Rep NUS LGBT+ CommitteeJoe Simpson, University of Edinburgh Anthony Kay, University of Huddersfield Zack Murrell-Dowson, Bristol Staff-Student Solidarity Group, IWGB National Deliveroo Committee chairAnthony Kay, University of Huddersfield Emma Rimpiläinen, University of Oxford Liz Yeates, University of Leicester
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