Anya Durrant: ‘Why I’m voting to STAY in the NUS’

Thanks to the NUS, students are exempted from paying council tax

As part of The Tab Newcastle’s NEXIT week, we asked law second year, Anya Durrant, to tell us why she thinks NUSU is better off staying a member of NUS. 

I’m under no illusions. The NUS has problems, and the recent conference and growing calls for disaffiliation across the country has definitely highlighted that. However, the best solution to our problems shouldn’t be to follow the rest of the lemmings off the cliff.

The student union movement was built by students, to fight on our behalf for the real issues that affect us and University staff. Thanks to the NUS, students are exempted from paying council tax. The NUS has ensured thousands of University staff across the country earn a living wage. The NUS has campaigned for “zero tolerance” to sexual harassment. These are all key campaigns that only a united student body could achieve.

In order to campaign on the most important issues we must work with a larger student organization, and we cannot do this alone. I have friends who believe we should no longer remain in the NUS, who repeatedly bemoan their failure to stop the rise of tuition fees. But the simple fact is, if NUSU campaigned against this alone, the voice of our student body would be an insignificant drop in the ocean of debate. However alongside around six hundred other universities, we have a greater chance of being heard, let alone listened to.

Leaving the NUS would also make Newcastle students more vulnerable to the will of the University. Newcastle University clearly has a level of influence over NUSU, and without the protection of the NUS there is always the potential that this could be used to the detriment of Newcastle Students. As the 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.

Despite the problems the NUS has, we must remember that no institution is perfect, and this is why unions exist. For generations unions have campaigned for the improvement of the rights of workers, and have forced improvements. Students Unions are no different. Because of these unions, our rights are recognized and our grievances with our Universities and other bodies will be heard. The purpose of NUSU is to stand together, for each other, to ensure that we get the best out of Newcastle University and the time that we spend here.

The NUS does exactly the same job, except on a wider scale. We are standing with 7 million others, for each other, to ensure that each and every one of us are given the best opportunities from our Universities. To quit will not only damage our University, but will have implications for students across the country.

Students can vote whether or not they want to remain part of the NUS until Thursday (12th May) by clicking on the link below – it only takes a minute.