The NUS is an embarrassment to our generation

They don’t represent us

Very few of us know what the National Union of Students actually does other than getting us 10 per cent off at ASOS and the Co-Op. But few would argue against the idea that the NUS should operate to promote the best interests of students.

Their website even claims they are “a confederation of 600 students’ unions, amounting to more than 95 per cent of all higher and further education unions in the UK. Through our member students’ unions, we represent the interests of more than seven million students.”

But they do not represent our interests. Instead, the NUS is an embarrassment to our generation.

How is it in our interests to encourage “LGBT+ Societies that have a gay men’s rep to drop the position”?

How is it in our interests to call Peter Tatchell, a man who has campaigned for 50 years for homosexual equality, “transphobic” and a “racist”?

How is it in our interests to refuse to condemn ISIS as “that condemnation of ISIS appears to have become a justification for war and blatant Islamaphobia.”

How is it in our interests to ban an anti-racism campaigner for being too racist?

Firstly, the NUS’ recent claims that gay men aren’t oppressed enough to have LGBT+ representatives is truly beyond belief. According to a motion filed by the NUS, “misogyny, transphobia, racism and biphobia are often present in LGBT+ societies. This is unfortunately more likely to occur when the society is dominated by white cis gay men”. This is so infuriating that it barely requires vitriolic criticism.

Secondly, the NUS’ championing of “safe-spaces” and “no platforming” is baffling. The policy of “no platforming” was once reserved for holocaust deniers and self-proclaimed fascists, but has since seen the likes of Julie Bindel, a feminist who has sought to raise awareness of violence against women for 35 years, banned by the NUS.

Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at Cambridge University has been accused of transphobia for speaking out against censorship. Speaking in the Sunday Times, she said: “The world has gone upside down. It’s meant to be the young who are risk-takers and the elderly more worried about controversy.”

Older generations now think that we, as students, are scared of or offended by conflicting views. Or even scared and offended by the possibility of there being conflicting views. The authoritarian decisions of a handful of self-righteous prudes are seen as representative of all students and is thus embarrassing us by association.

Students have always been at the forefront of championing freedom, equality and fairness, but instead, universities are being sanitised. Debate is no longer possible as someone will always be offended.

Instead of mummying us, the NUS should be promoting free speech, allowing the flow of ideas that question our infantile worldview.

If you don’t agree with me, here’s some footage from the most recent NUS Conference: