Sabbatical officer tweets she’ll submit a motion for a referendum on leaving the NUS

There’s also a petition

A sabbatical officer at Newcastle University Student’s Union (NUSU) has tweeted she’ll submit a motion to the Student Council to ballot students on whether the Union should disaffiliate from the National Union of Students (NUS).

The Editor of The Courier, Victoria Armstrong, was part of Newcastle’s NUS delegation and went public on Sunday (24th) with her decision to propose the motion on Twitter.

Victoria criticised the failure of the NUS to discuss issues such as “sensible drugs policies and sickness procedures” and called for students to be able to vote directly on the issue rather than being “battled out by officers”.

It comes as Newcastle Union’s NUS delegate Matt Wilson-Boddy launched a petition to bring the referendum forward without a council vote. If Matt secures 300 student votes the union will be forced to hold a cross-campus referendum on whether students want to remain affiliated with the NUS.

Matt told The Tab: “I would like to see a good turnout for an NUS referendum. I feel that the NUS as an organisation is fairly well known among students, and I think a referendum would attract a lot of attention and engagement from across the student body. I attended my first conference last week, and what I witnessed was an ineffective, out of touch union that does not represent us. I believe that would continue regardless of leadership.”

When asked on how a disaffiliation from the NUS could affect students, Anya Durrant of the Labour Society said: “Leaving the NUS leaves students with less of an influence and voice on issues that affect us”. 

“As NUS are completely removed from Newcastle University, we can trust them to represent us better than NUSU, who have a vested interest in cooperating with Newcastle University. In some situations, this could be detrimental to students”.

When asked about the democracy of the current NUSU representatives, she said: “The election of NUSU’s representatives is not hugely democratic as the turn out to vote was so incredibly low, however this is not the fault of the representatives themselves”.

It is currently unknown how soon a ballot could be organised if the motion is approved.