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Live! - Editions

Pro-NUS Myths Exposed

Jun 16 2008 23:25
Stephen Brown
Live! asked each campaign team to debunk a number of 'myths' put forwards by the other side of the debate - the 'No' campaign's response is here.
Pro-NUS Myths Exposed

The 'Yes' campaign did not submit by the deadline of 15th June.

Myth: If we leave NUS we will not have a voice

Unions that are not affiliated to NUS such as Southampton and Glasgow are free to work with any other relevant Unions if something important comes up. Leaving the NUS is not to say ?no? to national student issues or national debate ? it is simply to say ?no? to an ineffective vehicle of representation in this field.

Myth: The NUS gets you discounts

The NUS no longer offers a free discount card and now asks that students pay £10 for on in order to balance NUS? books. Imperial College Union has sold less than 600 of these cards in total which suggests that the overwhelming majority of Imperial students do not think that this represents a good deal. All companies who offer student discounts are legally obliged to give them on production of a valid student ID so we don?t need the NUS Extra rip off.

Myth: It will cost ICU tens of thousands of pounds to register with the Charity Commission if we leave NUS

The £100,000 figure quoted by Wes Streeting as the cost of another London Union registering with the Charity Commission mostly consisted of consultancy work that was not part of the registration process and that ICU would not be required to repeat. In any case, NUS does not provide you with tailored advice and ICU would still have to pay our own bills as we did with the legal advice we sought last year when ICU reviewed our decision making structures despite being NUS affiliates.

Myth: The NUS is good value for money

ICU pays a disproportionate amount in NUS affiliation on account of the fact that we receive a generous block grant from the College. The NUS is not a government of Students? Unions but is arrogant enough to act like one by taking money from some Unions to subsidise others even if they have more students. It is ridiculous that we many times more than students at Cambridge despite Imperial having far less students. Affiliation fees should be based on student numbers and not on income ? when you purchase any other service it does not matter if you?re a millionaire or on minimum wage. The fact that NUS has to do this is symptomatic of an organisation that is over stretched.

Myth: It is possible to enter in to a debate with the opponents of a new NUS

Hard left groups such as Student Respect represent the worst excesses of NUS and they will continue to shout and scream that changing NUS so that more money is spent on campaigning and less on political meetings is ?undemocratic?. Re-opening consultation on this issue assumes that we are dealing with reasonable, rational people who are willing to compromise. This is not the case.

Myth: The NUS will reform before Christmas

No timetable for the next attempt to change NUS has been set.

Myth: NUS? officer training programme is important to ICU

There are several companies who can provide training tailored to our needs, in most cases costing far less that the £500 per officer that the NUS charges on top of our affiliation fee. Networking opportunities to meet other sabbaticals from other relevant Universities are provided via organisations such as the Aldwych Group where ICU officers can exchange ideas with officers from other leading Universities.

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Discussion about “Pro-NUS Myths Exposed”

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.
Jun 17 2008 16:33

several companies can provide training tailored to our needs: How many companies provide training for student reps? How many companies have any idea what it is like to be a student rep? How many companies have worked with student reps before?

Jun 17 2008 16:38

The same companies that provided training before we joined the NUS. We still bring in externals to do training (the same ones as before we joined the NUS) even though we have access to NUS training (at a cost).

Soumaya, perhaps you should have done some research before running the Yes campaign? A lot of your comments make it sound like we've never been out of the NUS, so leaving would be a complete disaster, or just that you have no understanding of the issues.

3. Hmmm   
Jun 17 2008 17:45

I was hanging around for the NUS training stuff last year and it didn't look very different from the sort of dribble you recieve in any company training... any comments from those long serving Union officers (or just more than 2 years...) who have experienced both NUS and non-NUS based training?

But then I think we should openly review all the officer training we give our officers, NUS or not and get much more feedback and not just limit it to the summer...

Jun 17 2008 20:44

I'm reluctant to send our officers on any NUS Training this year. I really enjoyed it last year but the agenda has changed. Plus, the timings are really bad this year so I would struggle to fit in NUS training with introducing the incoming Sabbatical Officers to key members of staff they need to meet at Imperial.

We have excellent staff already at the Union who are quite capable of holding training sessions for volunteer officers. So guess what: that's what we're doing. Exactly the same as before (but with more training for representatives as well as Club Officers). It's not that NUS Training is bad. Just that it doesn't always fit into our agenda and we are perfectly capable of doing it ourselves anyway.

There is the added fact that Aldwych Handover and ULU Handover do exactly the same things and have pretty much the same externals attending and (shock horror) are run by the NUS partially anyway. So what exactly is the need for another three days on top of the six days that we already get regardless of membership and the whole month we get with our own staff?

And we have continued to use Blue Edge Training (a private company that works with Student Unions) this year, we will next year and we have for several years.

In a few less words: I don't buy the training angle! And I agree that we need to review the training offered with or without the NUS.

Jun 19 2008 17:18

And since all the officer training is done in the summer, whether we are in or out of the NUS it won't make it any easier trying to track down the volunteer officers to make them go :-) many people are attending the first lot of CSC training sessions this year?

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See Also

  1. NUS Referendum Debate: Recording
    13 Jun 08 | The Live! Debate
  2. The NUS - Stay in and change it for the better
    13 Jun 08 | NUS Debate
  3. From the NUS President-elect
    10 Jun 08 | NUS Debate

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