OPINION: Why we need to say NO to NUS

President of Development at Christ Church Students’ Union, Jordan Howard tells us why he believes our union should leave NUS (National Union of Students). 

On the 7th February, Union Council called a referendum vote for CCSU’s membership to the National Union of Students. The reason for this vote was the growing discontent for the body politically, it’s in public financial troubles, and the fact Christ Church students’ union has never had an affiliation vote in over 40 years.

CCSU should promote free and fair elections, the opposite of NUS’

Liberation

The NUS in its 2019/20 budget has decided to cut two thirds of the LGBTQ+ campaign, by axing the full time positions of Trans Officer and LGBTQ+ (Women’s place) they have turned their back on some of the people within the movement who need the national body the most.

I believe that through this cutting of position, the NUS has signalled that liberation is not on the top of their agenda and we should not continue to be affiliated to a Union that has turned its back on some of the most in-need within the movement.

International agenda

We’re in the middle of a student mental health crisis, however, many within power within the NUS continue to attempt to tackle geo-political matters outside their remit. I understand that some matters such as the stand off in Kashmir and Israel/Palestine conflict are important, however, our elected officials should be looking to make the difference where they can, whether that’s student housing, looking after student carers & parents or tackling the mental health crisis. The NUS needs to be more inward looking and get to grips with problems that effect for students’ day to Day life.

Affiliation cost

CCSU pays around £24,000 to be affiliated. With all costs and rebates we stand to “lose” between £15-20,000 this year.

Let’s reinvest it into student facing services and activities and improve student experience for those at the University today. Never seen an NUS sabb on campus I’ve been involved within student politics at Christ church for over 5 years and in my time as both a part time and full time Officer, I have never seen an nus Officer on campus. I have also never had any communication from them outside of elections and national conference.

Why are we continuing to fund officers who don’t care about Christ Church or their students?

Sponsorship

Being part of the NUS means that we can’t engage in sponsorship with their competitors. Companies such as UNIDAYS sponsor Unions who are outside of the NUS. These deals are worth potentially five figure sums. Let’s explore these avenues in order to better fund the services that we provide to students.

NUSSL

NUSSL is the services wing of NUS providing Unions with commercial services for bars and shops run by unions. Outside the democracy it’s the main draw to students unions to save money on product and make money in their outlets.

The Union does not run its own shop and the University owns its own bar, and even with the option of using NUSSL, opts to use their own provider.

Factionalism

The factionalism within the NUS is poisonous. Often candidates are chosen and run based upon this political views or what they can offer certain agenda.

Candidates are either selected by those in power or are intimidated into not running in order to preserve the ability of the faction to win.

Candidates and officers should be free to run and be judged on their merits, not which political party they support.

Avoid get to safety

At the moment the NUS’ finances are in turmoil with them having a “get to safety” plan for the next two years in order to be able to become a solvent organisation. Despite a massive reduction in services, the Union is expected to pay a static affiliation fee for the next two years.

Despite the fact that Christ church are not responsible for the economic down turn, we are expected to bail the body out.

Why are we paying for the more powerful and political union’s mistakes and overspending?

TOTUM

Fail The TOTUM card rebrand has been a massive failure. Historically, the Union has been able to break even on its affiliation fee in order to justify membership to the national body despite not being engaged politically.

The union has only budgeted to make £10k from TOTUM cards which is a massive shortfall from the 24k affiliation plus conference costs. Nationally numbers are down and some unions are wondering where their money is going to come from in order to bridge this gap.

Why are we affiliated to a failing product when we can gain sponsorship from a successful one?

I believe that we should leave the NUS so next week…

VOTE NO TO NUS.

Disclaimer: Views, thoughts and opinions expressed on this article solely belong to the author and does not represent the views of Unified as an organisation.
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