Should the Students' Union remain a member of the National Union of Students?
This year, alongside the Exec Officer and Part Time Officer elections, we're asking you to vote in our referendum on our continued affiliation with the National Union of Students UK (NUS). The NUS if a confederate association of around 600 students' unions, representing over seven million students in the UK. The NUS is led by a number of elected officers who campaign and represent students' issues nationally. You can find out more about the NUS here.
The Students' Union's annual affiliation fee to the NUS is £37,500 (2019/20).
Students have been invited to campaign for either Yes or No in the referendum, which includes submitting a manifesto. Read through these manifestos before you vote.
Yes - Remain Affiliated
Submitted by Adam Haigh
Vote Yes to the NUS.
Since 1922 the National Union of Students (NUS) has been campaigning tirelessly, fighting for the rights of students, supporting its affiliated members and campaigning nationally and internationally for fairer, freer education.
What has the NUS ever done for us?
- Negotiated with British Rail to create the Student Railcard (now Young Persons Railcard) which has led to discounted travel for millions of students.
- Tenancy Deposit Schemes established, protecting student deposits in the private rented sector.
- Universities UK established a Lad Culture/harassment taskforce at request of government, following NUS campaign work.
- Following an NUS complaint, the Office for Fair Trading rules that universities cannot use academic sanctions to recover non-academic debt.
- NUS Campaigned for the continuation of Post-Study Work Visas, after which the government declared 2 year post study work visas for international students
Why should we remain affiliated to the NUS.
- All of the food and clothing the SU provides is purchased from the NUS consortium. If we decide to remove our affiliation it will cost the Union more money than our annual affiliation fee to find new suppliers and purchase new stock.
- Being part of the NUS allows us to be part of the much larger national and international political landscape, gives us a much larger ability to influence policy that affects students. Such as Rent Prices, Erasmus and Safety on Campus.
- Being part of NUS gives us as a Union much more support for our Officers and students. Providing Training, access to resources and ground-breaking research that allows us to hold our institutions and government to account.
- Our affiliation fees are likely to be halved in the next year, so we will continue to have this support whilst still being able to invest in our own Union and in the students.
- In the last 5 years, Manchester students have continually been involved in high level decision making bodies at the NUS, including as Officers, Part of the National Executive Committee and as members of Committees. This has enabled us to be at the forefront of fighting for change across the UK and internationally.
NUS continues to run vital campaigns which benefit all students these include:
- Establishing a National Education Service https://www.nusconnect.org.uk/campaigns/national-education-service
- Working to Protect the Erasmus Programme https://www.nusconnect.org.uk/campaigns-liberation/current-campaigns/save-erasmus
- Working to tackle the BME attainment gap https://www.nusconnect.org.uk/campaigns/attainment-gap
- Tackling sexual misconduct on campus, particularly looking at staff-student misconduct and protecting Postgraduate Students. https://www.nusconnect.org.uk/liberation/staff-student-misconduct
- Campaigning for Reproductive Justice across the UK, including being involved in the Referendum in Northern Ireland. https://www.nusconnect.org.uk/liberation/women-students/welfare-and-human-rights
Voting YES in the NUS referendum means that we, as students, get a say at the national table, it allows us to continue the fight for a better education.
An education that is accessible to all.
An education that protects the rights of staff and students.
An education, that actually represents us.
Being part of the NUS means that we are stronger, able to fight for our rights and able to truly make our time at University the best it possibly can be.
Vote YES to the NUS.
No - Disaffiliate
Submitted by Jacob Huggins
The NUS costs the University of Manchester £37,500 per year. What do students get from this?
- Lack of democracy: the NUS is undemocratic and unaccountable. The NUS has refused its members ‘one member, one vote’, creating an echo chamber in which diversity of opinion and thought are systematically repressed.
- Lack of free speech: the NUS has supported no-platforming in the past, with even the anti-racist, LGBT activist, Peter Tatchell, being labelled racist by the NUS.
- Ineffective opposition to racism: The NUS has been complicit in its condemnation of anti-Semitism- the 58th President of the NUS, Malia Bouattia, once claimed that there exists a "Zionist outpost in British Higher Education”. No disciplinary action was taken by the NUS.
- Politicisation: The NUS has become overly politicised, having rejected a motion in 2017 which would have committed to impartiality and political inclusivity.
If we leave the NUS, we will no longer have to associate ourselves with this. We will have greater democratic control over spending and our elected officials will be accountable to us, the students, alone.
So, when you cast your ballot, ask yourself- is the NUS really worth it?
Vote for empowerment. Vote No.