Any discussion about the NUS can quickly and easily descend into obscurity and opacity for the wider spectator as those unfamiliar with the sphere can quickly be baffled as the premises taken as read broaden and multiply. So lets get clear a few things up that otherwise might be forgotten or left un-elucidated. The primary role of any Union is to represent it?s members interests. Your Union, Imperial College Union, works to improve the educational experience for all students at Imperial College. The NUS was founded to give all students in education representation nationally, so in essence this whole debate, despite what you may hear, comes down to representation. Representation is about delivering a message to those that can make the decisions, and making sure that the decision taken is in line with those you represent. In order to be effective at this, the representative must be taken seriously, something the NUS currently has problems with.
Rather than welcoming Imperial in to NUS membership, and the substantial new funds it allowed, for petty-political reasons, a plethora of fairly extreme people to slag off ICU, it?s members and it?s beliefs, instead of championing their return to the embrace of membership. They figured it was more worthwhile for their own ends to let ICU students to be universally labeled as villains who eat puppies for breakfast rather than for standing up and welcoming the fact that they chose to come to the table to discuss NUS reform. Even the self-styled ?moderate? leadership of NUS are still of the mindset that the very existence of excellent Universities like Imperial College undermines the more recent additions to the University sector, and fail to see that excellence and elitist are not synonyms when describing top universities. The blindly believe that all universities not only should be treated equally, but are infact of equal educational pedigree. They seemed to want to disown you politically while keeping your money all for the sake of maintaining a false sense of ?unity? amongst the competing socialist sects that currently operate in and lead NUS.
The NUS also claims to hold a monopoly on all non-local representation, a fact which is completely untrue. One of the ?triumphs? of NUS so proudly displayed is the U-turn by HSBC with respect to their graduate accounts. But to say that the NUS led on this is like saying you or I runs their favourite football team by joining in with the crowd and screaming words of encouragement at the players. The HSBC demonstration was organised and led independently of the NUS, and by and large was a result of facebook, word of mouth, and national press attention. We see time and time again that nothing gets things done better than when a small group of organised people get together to try and get change, be it in the form of the HSBC groups that came together in agreement over that issue, and then dissolved when a solution was found, or London medical student groups getting together to run their own protests about changes in their housing situation whilst working for the NHS.
With breathtaking arrogance the NUS will offer you the false choice between NUS membership and being completely disconnected from the wider world. Next year when I take up my post of President of KCLSU I would be failing in my duty if I childishly refused to work with Imperial or any other Union that has left NUS. It should not be membership of the NUS club that unites Unions. All Unions have a duty to work together when an area of common concern affects students at different institutions. This can quite easily be done outside of NUS. ICU doesn?t need the NUS in order to pick up the phone and talk to other sabbaticals about working together on shared goals.
Why pay £46000 when large groups of NUS delegates will not even listen to ICU delegate simply because they are from Imperial? Why pay someone else to talk to your local MP when you already have your own full-time sabbaticals? Why pay so much money to an organisation that NUS President-Elect Wes Streeting has called broken, ancient, and unrepresentative?
The NUS is a nice idea in theory but in practice their working practices make it very difficult for sabbaticals like the ones at Imperial to get involved as they generally would rather spend their time doing their jobs than playing NUS politics. ICU gave NUS a chance and despite their spin NUS have in reality been an organisation that doesn?t deliver, doesn?t represent, and happily slanders the students of Imperial College when it suits. Stop wasting both your time and money and vote to leave.