NUS referendum: Admin flaw reveals SU exec’s right to campaign might not be valid

The 20-second question that exposed an admin flaw, leaving everyone stumped

The QM NUS referendum debate last night gave both campaigns a chance to present their case to an audience of students.

However, an unexpected revelation was brought to light as it was revealed that the presence of Union executives may not have received authorisation by the university, as on the QMSU website it states: “Please note the campaigns are student-led and are independent from the Union.”

Having the President and Vice-President sitting on the ‘yes’ panel wasn’t only a potential serious conflict of interest, but against what the university had outlined as the procedure for the referendum.

Since, the moderator of the debate has confirmed that the rules as to whether the executives should’ve intervened were in disarray.

The purpose of an entirely student led referendum to be separated from the Union is to ensure that the vested interests of staff, the Students’ Union or university management wouldn’t interfere with the democratic process.

The executive’s position in the campaign was brought to light by a ‘No to NUS’ campaigner, who asked the panel: “On the student website it says that ‘the campaigns are entirely student-led and independent from the Union’, I was just wondering why this hasn’t happened.”

Initially, the moderator and the ‘Yes to NUS’ panel became confused, it was then asked of the student to repeat the question three times by the moderator.

To help, the ‘no’ campaigner rephrased the question: “It’s not that unclear, two of the panelist are the President and Vice-President of the Union.”

The Vice-President defended himself by conceding that he wasn’t currently a student but a sabbatical officer, saying “you’re still in the mind of a student.”

When The Tab spoke to the member of staff moderating the debate last night, he confirmed that laws regarding whether or not the executives could participate are in disarray, and that “further complaints should be taken further up.”

The moderator had commented during the debate that the webpage had been edited by staff and that the “wording on that webpage isn’t very clear, adding that “the referendum is student-led and therefore it is not led by staff.”

Lloyd Hatton of the ‘No to NUS’ campaign, commented: “There is a serious area of concern here. If these people are entangled within the NUS, of course, most of them have spoken about their role and influence in the NUS, it does lead to an element of bias.”

To vote whether QMUL should remain in the NUS, click here

Queen Mary University of London