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NUS Reforms Fail

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Apr 01 2008 16:48

Today's business at NUS Conference saw the organisation in confusion, with the proposed Goverance Reforms failing, but no alternative proposed.

Click Here for the Full Article

1. ....   
Apr 01 2008 17:03

Big suprise Camilla Royle breaking the mandate...

Apr 01 2008 17:27

I move we start disaffiliation proceedings tonight.

Apr 01 2008 20:37

Surely Camilla should be expelled from the conference party for voting against the mandate, I voted for her in the election to represent the views of council, not her own opinions...

4. pity   
Apr 01 2008 21:08

we didn't see any imperial delegates on the channel 4 news. you should have been more obnoxious and loud... *sigh

Apr 01 2008 21:10

I'm with Flower on this one. And Camilla Royle should be sent home from Conference given that she has broken mandate. Union members voted for her to follow the Union line, end of.

Apr 01 2008 21:26

You can never trust a commie....

Apr 01 2008 22:01

Goddamn hippies! Or is this another April Fools?

8. ...   
Apr 01 2008 23:39

Stupid cow! Some1 send her home. Completely inappropiate behaviour!

Apr 01 2008 23:46

No, unfortunately not an April fool. additionally, Camilla has broken mandate on three motions so far. And with only 25 votes in it and many delegates at other universities breaking mandates this could have really made a difference.

As far as disaffiliation, Imperial will be looking to collaborate with other Unions in running a campaign at the same time across the country. This will divide NUS resources and stop the bandwagon from descending on campuses to sway the referendums.

10. Jov   
Apr 02 2008 08:32

I'm surprised people didn't see this coming, Camilla has always been on her own agenda, she couldn't care less what the Union line might be! Send her back before she causes more problems!

Also good call on the collaborated disaffiliation, hopefully this will make the NUS see what a shamble it really is.

Apr 02 2008 08:59

A joint disaffiliation campaign with other universities is a very good idea. We need to get out of this madness.

But why was no provision made for delegates to be send home after breaking mandate once? How come she could get away with it three times?

12. wtf   
Apr 02 2008 09:02

why exactly did anybody vote for the lunatic commie? she should be constrained to handing out socialist worker leaflets on the main walkway - at least then you can just ignore her (or point and laugh)

13. Flower   
Apr 02 2008 10:06

She's actually helped the dis-affilisation campaign - now we can campagin on the record.

Imagine an A2 poster - her face.

Caption "?100000 of your money to further my career - shame you got nothing"

Apr 02 2008 12:00

Who paid for her to go in the first place??? What a mistake... I suggest we keep her in the conference... worsen the situation so that Imperial and others can start their disaffiliation. And when the conference finishes... the Imperial party leave without her!... is that a joke??? No... today is 2nd April!

Apr 02 2008 12:42

Can she be disciplined by council?

Apr 02 2008 13:02

Why bother... What can council actually do? What she needs is the Court of Morals to discipline her.

Apr 02 2008 13:11

A brief check of the constitution reveals that she cannot attend a conference again. But that seems to be it.

Apr 02 2008 13:11

In case you hadn't noticed, this article was updated at 1am this morning with some more details.

19. hmmmm   
Apr 02 2008 13:12

Well at the very least could Council (or should it be court) demand that she pays back the money the union spent on her trip? Since she blatantly wasn't there on union business....

Is it a mini bus journey back? Bet that would be fun....

Apr 02 2008 13:35

she needs a good pie-ing and a slap round the face as well. mmm when does a joke become incitement to violence

Apr 03 2008 19:47

The conference was such a farce, the NUS really is a waste of time and money in my opinion.

A lot of the motions really aren't relevant to students, especially to Imperial students, and we were almost alone in voting against "save Dafur" and "Don't attack Iraq" on the principle that it's not relevant to the students we're representing - not that we can do jack about the situation anyway. And what made me even more annoyed was that on the motion about spies in colleges looking for muslim extremists and other threats to security, people were scared to stand by this idea for fear of appearing racist. The bleedin' president said how dare this white guy comment on this morion because it's up to the Muslims to decide what affects them. He'd put his point across really well and I really felt that as a normal, white student, I was very repressed and not represented.

As for the Governance review and Camilla - what annoyed me more than her breaking her mandate was the fact that she ignored the rest of the Imperial delegates throughout conference and didn't even apologise for breaking the mandate. I probably would have had more respect for her if she'd said "Look I;m sorry, I just feel really strongly about this" but no, she just buggered off to sit with the people who later jeered at the Imperal crew with "torry! tory! tory!"

Sigh. Rant over...for now

Apr 03 2008 22:54

To #16 [Camilla, Roy(a)list?]

'Court of Morals'? From what I gather here, she voted for "Don't attack Iraq" and to "Save Darfur". What did IC vote for in these, how is that moral?

I wish we lived in the days when students actually cared about things happening in the world other than themselves.

Apr 03 2008 23:04

She may have voted for both of those. By the NUS is not the United Nations. Students can - and do - join Stop the War and organisations such as Aegis Students.

I expect she voted against "Save Darfur", as all the green shirts voted against it due to it calling for support for the peacekeeping troops.

Not the first time Imperial voted alongside the far left, although sometimes for different reasons!

Apr 03 2008 23:28

Yeah - Just because we did not vote for it does not mean we do not strongly care about this cause or care about what's happening in the world

(for christs sake man)

We just join the NUS for different reasons, rather than saving the world and we want to come back and tell Imperial about the changes what are going to affect them, which is why we spent so long discussing education finance etc. Unfortunately this time there is nothing much positive to report back on.

A lot of the Uni's in the NUS seem to join because they see it as their way to show how they feel about worldwide politics...which is where we don't really fit in because that's not how we see the NUS!

Apr 03 2008 23:29

ps...sorry about bad grammar...lack of sleep

Apr 04 2008 00:51

I was just pointing out #16's rather strange choice of words used to slag Camilla off.

I agree that joining the NUS should be primarily about the changes that will affect its members, but surely other things can be discussed as well? Voting against (as you said you did) something you actually believe in seems rather strange.

Apr 04 2008 08:25

It's just a shame that the "other things [that] can be discussed as well" are most definitely forming the majority of what's discussed.

Apr 04 2008 08:56

*2, 4, 6, 8! Vote to dissafiliate!*

Oops, sorry pom poms are not accessable.

Apr 04 2008 09:36

Let's have a referendum! Spread the word:

30. Flower   
Apr 04 2008 09:45

"surely other things can be discussed as well"

No - never enough time in the conference.

If there is enough time a day should be cut off, to save money.

In reality what happens is that issues which affect students as students are put to one side to allow the left wing to further their careers by talking about the middle east.

Normally unions can't legally take a position on this, since it is not an issue affecting "students as students" - such as a road outside college being pedestrianised, lecturers going on strike, top up fees (etc.).

The NUS isn't a student union, so can do what it wants.

That's the problem.

In my opinion NUS is broken. The only way to fix it is to drag it down. If all the sensible uni's leave, only the left wing will be left. Let them have their national demonstrations, then pick up the shell of the NUS after it has been bankrupted.

Rant over.

Apr 04 2008 10:03

To Er, What?,

Everything has a time and place for discussion. Most of the posters certain agrees with that. I did not say we should not have a stance on important world issues, but as Flower clearly implied, the NUS should be a union that focuses on student issues, but the NUS is clearly not just that.

I remember last year's "No" argument clearly pointed out that the NUS is not only unable to focus on student issues, but it is way too big to come to a focus consensus, which will benefit Imperial students. The point is, why pay tens of thousands of pounds to join a union that will not agree with our views and make the difference that benefit the students who are paying for it. Yes without doubt that it is important to try and get our point across (if they listen)... and only if we are part of it, will we be able to do so, say the "Yes" group. But they have clearly missed the point that the NUS will NOT listen! as seen on our difference with the bursary policy. End of!

Apr 04 2008 10:54

I publically supported joining the NUS because I wanted to see if it could be reformed. I also wanted to have a national voice on tup-up fees, national bursaries and graduate tax.

I'm glad we joined because if we hadn't the No Camp would never have been able to say 'told you so.' It is definately time to leave.

Apr 04 2008 12:53

i think we are going to be very hard put to find a no "camp" for the next referendum

Apr 04 2008 12:58

sorry do you mean no to the referendum or no to nus?

Apr 04 2008 13:11

I'm assuming 'No' to the referendum. Out of the Yes supporters last time who is still left? Alex Guite?

Suggestions for campaign names (for both sides of the debate) are welcome. Any ideas?

Apr 04 2008 13:20

re: could you clarify

sorry yeah i meant no to the referendum...

Apr 04 2008 13:44

But what question...

"Should Imperial College Union remain affiliated to the NUS?"


"Should Imperial College Union disaffiliate from the NUS?"

In the finest traditions, I prefer the former so the "No to NUS" argument still works!

Apr 04 2008 13:55

Whilst true there are now more stronger arguments to the No to NUS campaign and the strongest yes arguments do now fall.

Apr 04 2008 14:02

As for names, anything other than "A-NUS". It was hard to take it seriously!

Apr 04 2008 14:54

More on the confusion

Here's a funny piece of hackery - because the reforms got more than 50%, but less than 2/3, they become a policy of NUS, but no actual changes take place. So it is policy that the reforms are good, but there isn't enough support to actually cause changes to happen based on them due to the 2/3 rule.

Apr 04 2008 15:08

Was Camilla the only one to break mandate?

Apr 04 2008 15:15

Kirsty has a list of where people went against mandate, or where we agreed to remove mandates because the motion changed to remove the parts that caused our opposition.

It will be in a report to Council at the end of the month.

Apr 04 2008 15:52

I won't publish the whole voting record here. It is really boring.

I will however report that another delegate broke a red mandate which wasn't previously agreed among the delegation.

The mandate was broken on an amendment to a motion on the situation in Darfur. The amendment in question called for the NUS to support the British Government in providing resources for UN Peacekeeping troops in Darfur. This amended the main motion which called for no military intervention in Darfur. The delegate in question believed that although they were against the motion in it's entirety the amendment was a small improvement. They kept mandate on voting against the whole motion but knew that the insanity of NUS Policy making would make it impossible to defeat.

Both delegates who broke mandate will have to explain themselves to Council who may take disciplinary action.

Apr 04 2008 15:59

What can council do?

Apr 04 2008 16:00

Kirsty... point taken, I understand the idea of joining to try and make the difference. However, I still feel that only a handful of Imperial College students/sabb got any benefit for ten of thousands of pounds we paid for as membership fees to the NUS in the past two years.

?30,000+ for "I told you so" is almost as expensive per letter as having the City Hall named "City Hall" by branding consultants ordered by Ken.

Apr 04 2008 16:31

hey all, maybe people that voted for me should have read my manifesto and facebook group etc. people know what my politics are and that i opposed the review. i realise that i don't represent every single imperial student but i felt that i had a mandate from those that did vote for me because they opposed the review or felt ill informed and asked me to vote no.

btw i am for NUS reform, everyone is. just not for reforms that limit the size of conference, introduce a trustee board etc. shame people couldn't vote to have another more democratic and inclusive review.

didn't want to sit with the other imperial people because it was embarrassing to be associated with them!- voting against fluffy, uncontraversial motions like "end child poverty", trying to stop people getting into a fringe meeting and making comments to black students which were taken as racist- they were terrible.

47. Flower   
Apr 04 2008 16:44

end child poverty - Students as Students

trying to stop people getting into a fringe meeting - no context

making comments to black students which were taken as racist - no context.

You were elected to represent me. You chose not to.

Apr 04 2008 16:47

Flower, be glad that she won't choose to sit with you in council!

Apr 04 2008 16:53

I am actually quite pleased that Camilla has stood up for herself and I appreciate how difficult this discussion will be for her. I think she has some fair points, barr the last paragraph.

Concerning racism at conference though there was a motion about spying on muslims on campuses and how racist it was but when a (sensible) American got to the rostrum to discuss it the proposers were yelling american racist remarks about the white house.... thats when I lost all respect for the, err, respect group.

Apr 04 2008 16:54

Trying to stop people getting into a fringe meeting - they were outside a "Stop the War" meeting giving out the emergency motion calling for support for student military organisations

Racist comments - I don't recall hearing any, but I wasn't with the delegation the whole time. However, even something as simple as disagreeing with the views of a "black student" (NUS means "not white" when it says this - e.g. the black students officer) on anti-terror laws is seen racist at conference. Being anti-American is not, however, racist, apparently.

Apr 04 2008 16:59

You stood for the position and were elected, fully knowing that you were mandated to vote a certain way on some issues. The people who voted for you were voting for your viewpoints on issues that were not mandated. Were you planning to go against the way of voting that was prescribed all along, or was this a last minute "change of heart" at the conference?

Apr 04 2008 17:07

Camilla's manifesto showed opposition to the reforms:

"I oppose the new NUS governance review because I think it diminishes many of the democratic structures that make it possible for ordinary students like me to go to conference in the first for me to represent this alternative point of view."

Bizarrely, most of my excess votes over quota were transferred to her, so maybe people wanted some balance!

Apr 04 2008 22:32

We did not block anyone going into fringe meetings. I can only think you are referring to Stephen Brown and Chris Mullan (from King's...) handing out the emergency motion documents PRIOR to a Stop the War event. Stephen went to that event and was there from the start of the introduction so how exactly he could have possibly stopped people going is beyond me(I have photos of all this....) It was difficult however to get in and out of the conference floor because of the barrage of leaflets fliers and newspapers that were shoved at us at the entrance/exit. Repeated announcements were made about this and the problems it was presenting in terms of the accessibility for disabled students.

How you expect a real reform to take place now, with all the large, sensible unions who bring in the largest proportion of money, planning disaffiliations really puzzles me. Then again the left's view of how economics works was always beyond me....

You didn't sit with us from the start, so was the embarrassment that we were not wearing respect t-shirts? Or was the problem the rest of our dress? Well I am sorry, but the local topshop had ran out of keffiyehs by the time I got there.

Making conference any bigger is just plain stupid. What do you want us to do? Spend the entire NUS budget on a conference at the O2 arena and invite every student in the country and hope they will come? BE REALISTIC! It is quite clear that getting willing students along is hard enough. With so little competition student bodies are obviously being misrepresented through a mix of voter apathy and the active push of Respect candidates. I may be very much mistaken but I wasn't aware that 1/3 of the UK student population were members of Respect or other left factions.

And one more question?? HOW IS DEMOCRACY SUPPOSED TO WORK WHEN PEOPLE BREAK THEIR MANDATES??? We knew we would be mandated. You knew this. The voters were told this. You obviously felt your view was more important than those of the student body and carried it out in an underhand way. If you had actually believed their was a strong consensus of Imperial students who backed your views why did you not get a petition together or something to present to council such that they were aware that were so many people at Imperial who held such views? I can only presume you didn't because there isn't! In your manifesto you wrote "I oppose" you didn't say 'i will vote'.

I heard no racist comments to or about Black students that caused offense so don't appreciate such unfounded comments being made. I was however very much aware of the anti-american sentiments being voiced by Respect members during an American's speech.

Apr 05 2008 09:31

the comment is was reffering to - an arab student "but 600,000 people have been killed in Iraq" Imperial student "well, they shouldn't have been born there" i know i wasn't there at the time but several people told me they found that offensive.

anyway only came on here to put the channel 4 vid up, enjoy

Apr 05 2008 09:54

After seeing that video, I would be very suprised if anybody took the "nashnul voice of students" seriously at all. No wonder people believe all students are lazy left wing layabouts if that is all they see.

Why do all student "activists" feel that the faster and louder you talk the more convincing it sounds?

Apr 05 2008 18:38

Huh - did an imperial student really say that?

Name and shame, I'd say. I'd be horrified to be friendly with someone who said that kinda thing.. but you never know!

Our delegation got told to shut up rather rudely because apparently we were dissing speaker's dress codes. We hadn't actually said anything tho..

I honestly think disaffiliating right now is a knee jerk reaction. That and I dont think conference was so bad - altho I seem to be in the minority here. I really enjoyed it. I wasnt intimidated, atltho I do understand many people were, which is a shame.

Guys, Reform is coming back, harder and faster, wait till it all gets done - and it WILL be coming back ASAP, probably 2 emergency conferences. Then in about 5yrs you'll need another referenda by that point... LEt's just wait and see what happens - let's rebuild our national union, not break it!

Apr 05 2008 19:19

that video is hilarious! was the conference really like that? all the gang colours, the chanting, and that funny thing they do by giving themselves names of political parties. its like kids playing parliment, except all the kids at my school played football

Apr 05 2008 19:50

i doubt very much that any of our delegation said that and i am offended to think that you think that that's true!!

i also don't think you can make such accusations when you didn't even here it yourself!!!!

Apr 05 2008 21:17

@ Beheshteh: Sorry but 5 yrs? whats 5 x ?45,000? or isnt it going up to ?65,000 as from next year? no thanks. It's not in the interests of Imperial to stay in the NUS to fix it. besides we don't really need a national union, not if we're associated with motions like those seen at conference - Imperial is much more respected than a national voice like that. We'll lose our credibility if we stay!

@ everyone: Stop Camilla bashing now please, she'll have her punishment, you should stop or be seen as bullies which serves no purpose.

Apr 05 2008 21:44

i was not camilla bashing i was merely standing up for myself and the rest of the delegation...i would have said the same to anybody else if they'd made the same accusation!

Apr 06 2008 10:14

@ Beheshteh: for most universities, staying the 5 years would not be wasted if reforms do go through. However, I still don't believe that NUS can truly represents the need of most Imperial students - re fees and bursary.

Universities such as Imperial and the then UMIST are, as you know, science intensive. This does not only mean that it is expensive to train a student (in the form of tuition fees) but also, in order to remain globally competitive, we will need a substantial amount of grants or research funding, ideally from the government. What Imperial and some others need is preferential funding and not some general benefit all students funding. Hence, staying in the NUS for any longer seems pointless to me.

I know this sound selfish, but I chose Imperial for its excellence and I wish the same for all those who come to Imperial after me. I whole heartedly wish the best for the NUS and all the reformers, who are trying to save a dying institution. However, I feel that our aims needs and ideologies with respected to the students we all represents are so different, it is totally pointless to waste any money on affiliating to an institution, which simply doesn?t represents us.

PS. I have no doubt that some Imperialites are keen on helping the NUS to reform, why don?t the NUS give ICU free membership so that we can help?

Apr 06 2008 14:55

"the comment is was reffering to - an arab student "but 600,000 people have been killed in Iraq" Imperial student "well, they shouldn't have been born there" i know i wasn't there at the time but several people told me they found that offensive."

if an Imperial delegate really did say that, then they should be ashamed of themselves. That statement is offensive, obviously to Iraqis, and offensive to everyone else for its sheer ignorance and cold-heartedness

Apr 06 2008 15:25

I remember the speaker saying "but 600,000 people have been killed in Iraq" when they were talking about Darfur. I did not however hear anyone say that ignorant comment about "shouldn't have been born there"! And I was sat pretty well in the middle of our delegation so I don't believe that was said by an Imperial delegate.

Apr 07 2008 00:50

It's easy to defend yourself behind a computer screen isn't it C? But not face to face.

There were no racist comments, don't lie. Just because, on the train, we said that we felt underrepresented and ignored as white students does not mean we are racist.

And, oh yes, trustee boards are awful :|

Apr 10 2008 18:20

The Channel 4 coverage was rubbish - selective and misleading. They wanted to paint conference as trot-dominated.

Yes Trustee Boards are awful for the far left because it means that there is a constraint on "the simultaneous consumption and retention of cake". That's all they harped on about in their opposition to the review because they haven't got a leg to stand on anywhere else. There is a persistent lie they are putting out that it will be the new governing body: it's a load of rubbish - it's restricted solely to questions of "financial risk" and legality. What they are more concerned about is that NUS may subsequently use the new structure to incorporate as a charity (which was proposed at this conference but failed because it was largely dependent on the new constitution being ratified), at which point the Ultra Vires laws will prevent them from turning it into the Vanguard of the Revolution and instead restrict it to campaigning on issues that affect students.

I heard the "600,000 Iraqis dead" line, but NO imperial delegate said what Camilla accused them of saying.

NUS reform will be revisited in the next twelve months and is currently in limbo. It may be somewhat premature to disaffiliate now as there is still a decent prospect of getting the new constitution through.

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