Unite the NUS Left to defend NUS Democracy!
The student left must unite to defeat the reforms and fight for a completely different vision for NUS.

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 President
Charlie Porter, Sheffield SU Education Officer Elect, NUS Delegate, Free University of Sheffield co-chair
Hamzah Sheikh, Manchester, NUS NEC Candidate
Christie Neary, NUS Trans Committee 2018-2019
Nadia Whittome, Nottingham SU BME Network General Secretary
Vijay Jackson, NUS Delegate University of Edinburgh
Ed Williamson, NUS Delegate University of Sheffield, Free University of Sheffield
Bradley Allsop, University of Lincoln
Colin Bojer, UKC Anti-Fascist Student Group, Precarious@KentUni
Tom Ward, York Cut the Rent
Alex Stuart, Surrey Labour Students
Dan Davison, Student Left Network BME Officer, University of Cambridge
Andrew Peak, University of Oxford
Maisie Sanders, Student Left Network
Lauren Brindle, University of Lincoln
Calvin Bissitt, University of Lincoln
Rebecca Chapman, University of Northampton
Callum Roper, University of Lincoln
Jemma 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+ Committee
Joe Simpson, University of Edinburgh
Anthony Kay, University of Huddersfield
Zack Murrell-Dowson, Bristol Staff-Student Solidarity Group, IWGB National Deliveroo Committee chair
Anthony Kay, University of Huddersfield
Emma Rimpiläinen, University of Oxford
Liz Yeates, University of Leicester

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