There’s a petition for Notts to leave the NUS

They need over 600 signatures by the end of the month

A group of Nottingham students have set up a petition calling for a referendum on the University’s membership of the National Union of Students (NUS). The Tab’s recent survey concluded that almost three quarters of the nation’s students wanted to leave the NUS.

The petition comes in light of recent controversies, such as the election of Malia Bouattia as president, who claimed that the University of Birmingham was a ‘Zionist outpost’. Her refusal to condemn ISIS in 2014, on grounds that it was an excuse for Islamophobia, has also caused much debate about whether she could be the head representative of a nationwide movement.

The petition was set up by Blake Purchase, General Secretary of Nottingham University Conservative Association (NUCA), who says in the petition description: We are calling for a referendum because of recent events in the NUS which have seen many other Students’ Unions calling for disaffiliation. We believe that holding a referendum on the issue is a democratic way in which we can decide on the future of UoN SU’s relationship with the NUS, in a manner in which all students can get involved and make their voice heard.”

Third year history student and the petition’s seconder, Thomas Burke, said:

“The NUS is undemocratic through its failure to introduce a One Member One Vote system, and constantly clamps down on free speech by no-platforming those who aren’t guilty of hate speech but just of holding different views to a vocal minority of students.”

We also spoke to Nottingham JSoc after a recent NUS Conference where concerns were raised after delegates opposed the NUS’ official recognition of Holocaust Memorial Day, fearing that it would single out and prioritise one atrocity over others. Clark Norton, JSoc president, said: “JSoc, I would like to make clear, has no official stance as of yet regarding disaffiliation. However, Malia Bouattia is yet to adequately address the concerns of Nottingham JSoc.”

This is not an unprecedented movement, 25 of the UK’s top universities already plan on holding a referendum on their membership of the NUS. 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. St. Andrews disaffiliated back in 1975, Southampton in 2008, and today in Lincoln, students voted 881-804 to disaffiliate.

You can find the petition here.