NUS proposes to defund its Trans Campaign

The National Union of Students is currently the only national body solely representing transgender students


On 16th January, the NUS UK Board announced a formal proposal to defund its Trans Officer and Campaign for at least the 2019-20 period. The announcement was distributed to members in a letter signed by NUS President Shakira Martin and Acting CEO Peter Robertson on 21st January.

The proposal involved several other cuts, including defunding seven other full-time positions, reducing the number of NUS officers to 12. With a fiscal deficit of £3 million, these cuts form part of the NUS' urgent search for financial solutions.

The NUS came under fire for its money-saving tactics in December 2018, when it proposed a plan to defund its liberation officers (the full-time staff who represent black, LGBT+, trans, disabled and female students).

The recent move to defund the Trans Campaign in particular, however, has been accused by the NUS LGBT+ Campaign as a "political, rather than a financial choice", given the secrecy with which the funding cuts were decided.

Crucially, the NUS UK Board made the controversial proposal without consulting "a single trans student"; this procedural decision has been indicted by the LGBT+ Campaign as "undemocratic" and indicative of a "fundamental lack of respect for trans students".

The outcome of the proposal will not be known until it is voted on in April at the NUS National Conference.

Cover image by willowbarbican (source, licence)