Vote NO to NUS

If you had £51,000 to spend on students, what would you do with the cash? Invest it into sports clubs and societies? Buy every student a pint in the Stag’s? […]

If you had £51,000 to spend on students, what would you do with the cash? Invest it into sports clubs and societies? Buy every student a pint in the Stag’s? Purchase new minibuses for SUSU? Put it towards developing new performing arts areas? You certainly wouldn’t waste it on an ineffective bureaucratic organisation that has failed to represent students on a plethora issues, would you? Of course you wouldn’t.

Since the last referendum in 2010 (where ‘No’ votes had a 2 to 1 majority) nothing has changed within the NUS; it’s still the ineffective body which has failed to represent students on issues which actually matter to us. In 1997 the NUS failed to stop the introduction of tuition fees, they failed to stop top-up fees in 2004 and more recently they failed to stop £9k fees. Potentially useful hours are wasted at NUS conferences and meetings where delegates spend time infighting over petty party politics and passing motions which don’t affect students at all, namely “solidarity with Iran and Darfur” and now recently supporting the Gaza ceasefire. Although important issues, they have little importance to student unions; organisations which they are supposed to represent.

The NUS’ reputation of BULLYING student unions is growing. Recently, the Leeds Student published an interview with Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP, which was met by an open letter from an executive NUS Officer (and signed by many influential NUS members) “demanding” the student paper to remove the article. Why? Because the NUS didn’t like it. Despite Mr Griffin being an utterly disgusting human being, there is no place for censorship or bullying amongst the student community. Students should be allowed to debate and be free to make up their own mind up across a range of subjects; no one should be told what they can and can’t hear. The Yes team will try and tell you that SUSU doesn’t need to adopt these policies but, as seen in Leeds, a union can still face questioning by the NUS if affiliated.

The NUS offers a whole host of services, few of which could benefit SUSU. We don’t need the NUS’ training; SUSU has its own tailored, in-house training for all officers and volunteers, delivered by an experienced team of dedicated staff. The NUS also offers NUS Digital, a website package for smaller unions without the ability to develop their own online presence. Our Union already has a fantastic website which is developed and managed by staff within our own Union. If we were to adopt NUS Digital, full services would cost up to £10k, as well as the £51k affiliation fee.

More recently, SUSU’s Green Action Soc constructed a briefing on the NUS’ green campaigns. The student-led report found that SUSU already has similar schemes in place and the NUS could not offer anything else.
Let’s talk about money. SUSU doesn’t have £51k going spare. Of the £7 million SUSU made last year, only £150k was profit and that’s where the affiliation fee is coming out of. The rest of the profit is saved for emergencies and to cover costs lost over the year in commercial outlets. Although the £51k will not decrease societies and sports club budgets, it could most definitely be used to INCREASE the cash available to students.

The NUS has specifically told Southampton that they WILL NOT support us on areas where we need the help, like the failing Friday nights at the Cube where turnout has been poor. If our union were to join an organisation they should at least help us in the areas which matter most to students and areas where we could do with a hand.

So, vote NO on 6th December to keep that £51,000 within our union so we can spend it on our sports clubs, societies and performing arts. Vote NO to an ineffective organisation plagued with bureaucracy who can offer little to Southampton. And remember, “if it aint broken, why break it?” Vote NO to NUS.

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