Staggering results show three-quarters of students want to leave the NUS
According to a Tab poll of 6,500 people
After students at 25 universities announced campaigns to disaffiliate from the NUS, we asked if you would leave. Almost 6,500 responded and a three quarters of you said yes.
73 per cent said yes, 14 per cent said no and 12 per cent replied that they didn’t know.
After Malia Bouattia’s election last week, some of the UK’s top universities plan on holding a referendum on their membership of the NUS. Richard Brooks, Vice-President for the NUS, said:
“The only people who will suffer from disaffiliation, and there are many people who want to leave and I can understand why there are concerns, will be students and that’s because the only reason we get a seat at the table with the government is because we’re a united student movement.”
Last week’s NUS Conference was controversial. Delegates opposed to the NUS’ official recognition of Holocaust Memorial Day, fearing that it would single out and prioritise one atrocity over others. Delegates at the conference also overwhelmingly rejected calls for the adoption of One Motion, One Vote. If it had passed then the NUS President and Vice-President would have been directly elected by students rather than by delegates.
Many students fear that the track record of prominent figures within the NUS give great cause for concern. NUS President, Malia Bouattia has expressed what some have called a “violent rhetoric” towards the Jewish community, referring to the University of Birmingham as ‘Zionist outpost’. Her refusal to condemn ISIS in 2014, on grounds that it was an excuse for Islamophobia, has caused much debate about whether she could be the head representative of a nationwide movement.
It also emerged today she argued in a debate that the police force should be dismantled. She labelled them “thugs on the street”.
Many of those in favour of disaffiliation argue that individual student unions are better placed to represent the interests of their students than the wider umbrella movement. This is not unprecedented. In 2008 the Imperial College London SU decided to disaffiliate, arguing that the NUS was unable to fully represent the interests of the student body. Other student bodies, such as St. Andrews and Southampton have also decided to disaffiliate in 1975 and 2008 respectively.
It remains to be seen how the NUS leadership will respond to this vote of no confidence from the student body.