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Live! - Editions

Ten Reasons to Stay

Jun 17 2008 18:42
Caroline Clark
Caroline Clark gives ten reasons why you should vote 'Yes' between 17th and 23rd June.
10 Reasons to Vote Yes

Live! asked each campaign team to provide ten reasons to vote in their way in the referendum. Voting will be online between 17th and 23rd June.

  1. Student?s Unions are much stronger and are in a better campaigning position if they work together with regards to issues that affect students. Things such as Government policy on Higher Education funding can only be influenced by a united national campaign.
  2. After HSBC announced plans to charge graduates interest on their overdrafts, the NUS led the national campaign which resulted in HSBC scrapping their plans. This is one of many examples when the NUS has won battles for students.
  3. Without the NUS, students wouldn?t be exempt from paying Council Tax!
  4. Although there are problems with the NUS, it is a hugely important organization for students. By being in the NUS, we can actually shape and improve the way the NUS functions.
  5. The NUS is the perfect way for students from across the country to come together to discuss issues. We can democratically elect delegates to represent our views on HE funding, accommodation for students, etc at National Conference and thus be part of a broader student movement.
  6. The NUS is a federation of individual student?s unions. Imperial College Union can still have its own opinion; we don?t have to agree with the NUS on everything.
  7. We get lots from the NUS to justify the membership money ? for example legal support for our union, access to specialist NUS staff and training for ICU clubs and societies.
  8. There are lots of discounts that can only be obtained with an NUS card (for example, £2 off every BSM driving lesson and an Amazon discount!) The only reason these discounts exist is that the NUS has negotiated them.
  9. The NUS Extra card costs £10 but can save you a lot of money throughout the year and can also be used abroad (also, £4 of this goes directly back to ICU!)
  10. Last year there was a record breaking turnout for the referendum when we decided to affiliate to the NUS. Most people are just bored of this debate now! Vote to remain affiliated if you don't think that our decision last year should be overturned by a few people on Council who are trying to fulfil personal agendas.
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Discussion about “Ten Reasons to Stay”

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 00:37

1.) Most SU's in NUS are not relevant to Imperial. What do we have to gain from working with a load of idiots from polys and FE colleges?

2.) Isn't it funny that NUS's most successful campaign this year was run via facebook and didn't make any use of their democratic structures or staff?

3.) Council tax exemption for students was another bribe for the middle classes from a conservative government. The idea that the NUS made the administration who smashed the miners strike over the issue of student council tax is ridiculous.

4.) We tried improving NUS, it didn't work!

5.) Please refer to point 1.

6.) No-one disagrees with this but concerns have been raised that our presence lends undue credibility to NUS.

7.) This is lies. ICU's legal bill has not been reduced. NUS staff are of little use to ICU and NUS has had NOTHING TO DO with our Clubs & Socs.

8.) If NUS extra is so great then why have HMV and Topshop pulled out of the scheme? The reason why is because businesses who want to attract the student market have no interest in NUS skimming off some profit by charging ?10 for a card which dosen't do very much.

9.) See point 8.

10.) This is the same Council that fully backed NUS reform.

The instructions on this motion are clear. If NUS didn't change this year then we'd reconsider our affiliation. It refused to change thus I fail to see how a "personal agenda" could accurately predict that NUS would mess up back in autumn. If Council or the Sabbs were that against the whole concept of NUS then they wouldn't have talked about it so much this year.

Jun 17 2008 08:15

You have to remember a few things in relation to "legal support" and "training". We have to pay for them.

Legal support is not free. Training is not free.

We coped perfectly well for a very long time training officers ourselves without sending them on "activism training".

I don't see how the decision is being overturned by "a few" people. council haven't voted to leave, they've voted to have a referendum. 24(?) people on Council voted for it, which is more votes than many NUS delegates get at other universities, and they make national decisions. The student body gets to overturn the decision, based on the experiences of those who've worked with NUS, not 24 people on a committee.

Besides, there are plenty of ordinary member positions on council, why haven't people from the Yes campaign run for them instead of complaining about council making decisions? I suspect part of the reason is that Imperial tends not to elect people with that sort of political view ("the evil bureaucratic committees are undermining our democracy" (point 10) is the same argument the hard-left use at NUS to attack the reform process). I surmise that the 'Yes' campaign is actually anti-reformist (Caroline & Camilla at least, not sure about Soumaya).

Jun 17 2008 10:32

The use of the word `perfect' implies that the article is ideological. After all `perfect' and `NUS' are a contradiction in terms as we have seen this year.

Jun 17 2008 14:59

"Response" says that "The instructions on this motion are clear. If NUS didn't change this year then we'd reconsider our affiliation. It refused to change "

Well, the referendum last year was on whether to affiliate to the NUS, we weren't voting on whether to reconsider our affiliation if reform didn't happen this year. Yet again, this motion, proposed by people on council, is an example of certain people on council deciding what they think Imperial students want.

Who can blame people for thinking that some people on council are undermining democracy, when they gave up trying to get Imperial students to sign a petition for a referendum. Instead of thinking that not enough people want the referendum, they blame it on not enough people being around College during exams.. Well, I certainly saw enough people around campus to get enough signatures for the quota..

Giving an organisation that has existed since 1922 only 1 year to change is unrealistic. The NUS has to change, it is in the process of changing, and walking out after 1 year is just childish.

Jun 17 2008 15:10

Erm, if Imperial students don't agree with Council then no doubt they will be voting yes in their droves. Given that both pro and anti NUS sides in the referendum agreed that NUS needed to change it makes sense that a failure to do so should result in another referendum.

I believe that Kirsty gave up collecting signatures to concentrate on a presentation she gave that has resulted in a College policy change that will save writing up PhD students hundreds of pounds. The fact that several hundred signatures were still collected during this period is quite remarkable.

I find it quite funny that you are refering to the disaffiliation campaign as childish. Have you not seen the NUS in action? If you were that bothered about the NUS then why didn't you stand to be a delegate or take one of the opportunities to attend NUS London conference? It is telling that the people who are campaigning for disaffiliation have already given up a lot of their time to attempt to change NUS from within and the pro-NUS campaign has attracted support from the usual bunch of disgruntled lefties, one in particular who voted against NUS reform at annual conference.

Jun 17 2008 15:15

"Most SU's in NUS are not relevant to Imperial. What do we have to gain from working with a load of idiots from polys and FE colleges?"

I beg to differ - most importantly, perhaps working with students from other institutions will make you get down of your high horse and realise that you aren't better than these students just because you come from Imperial.

Given that the rector recently said "that he found it "frightening" that 40% of Imperial's students came from the private sector, despite only 7% of students accross the country being educated privately", it seems that a big factor in getting a place at Imperial is money, not intelligence.

Working with students from other institutions gives us a different perspective on issues, and debating with other students can only help us clarify our ideas. So this is surely a good reason to stay in the NUS.

Jun 17 2008 15:53

I don't think giving the 8 ICU delegates the opoortunity to debate with other students is worth the affiliation fee . I'm sure the debating societies will to arrage debates with other SUs if ICU pulled out of the NUS.

8. JJ   
Jun 18 2008 08:52

"a few people on Council"

Wasn't the referendum paper unanimous?

Jun 18 2008 09:32

24 for, 1 against, 1 abstention

By "a few people" I think they're complaining that there wasn't a referendum to decide if we should have had a referendum.

10. Joe   
Jun 18 2008 10:14

RE: Point 8

The division of markets is an immoral and boarder-line illegal method of profit maximisation. Student discounts are a form of this and as such I dissaprove of any discounts specifically targeted at a limited demographic. Prices for goods and services should be the same for everyone, what makes students special anyway?

And as for council tax, I choose to pay mine as I believe that it is my duty to contribute to society if I wish to have a say in how it is run. Am I the only person that feels this way?

For the record I support myself through independant means recieving no funds from the government or anybody other than my employer.

11. hmm   
Jun 18 2008 17:26


Discounts are in no way illegal, merely incentives to encourage brand loyalty in future. Whether that's fair on other people is debatable though.

You CHOOSE to pay Council Tax? Very noble and public-spirited of you, but you must be the only person who feels that giving around ?1500 to a badly managed Local Authority is a good idea.

If you're really set on spending money to improve society, why not donate to charity? You'd get much more 'bang for your buck' that way...

12. @ hmm   
Jun 18 2008 21:11

Noone's saying there should have been "a referendum to have a referendum". But I don't agree with having a referendum on exactly the same topic only a year later, there just isn't enough popular support for it.

Last years referendum to affiliate had 4007 voters over 2 days. This referendum will probably barely scrape the required 1800 in 6 days!!!! This is because last year the referendum was sparked by Imperial students, this year it's been started by council, who are pretty out of touch with what the rest of Imperial students want.

Jun 18 2008 23:40

What do Imperial students want?

Who can even begin to know within making generalisations. If they want anything remotely close to what I want, then they want enough money to live off to solve cool problems and get an insight into nature, buy battenburg, have a national Hug Day and try and finish reading their copy of Modern England 1885-1945 by JAR Marriot.

Can the NUS help me with any of this?

I'd find it remarkable if anyone had a great insight into what Imperial students want other than a bit more money, a good enough job upon leaving here and cheaper beer. I think council are pretty in touch with all of those, but sadly can only have a partial say in the third one.

Jun 19 2008 15:24

No no no..... the NUS want society to become like a big slice of battenberg, with all the white people (pink) and asian immigrants (symbolised by the yellow) living in equal, yet segregated harmony, divided by the jam of political correctness, surrounded by a delicious layer of marzipan hypocrisy.


Jun 20 2008 10:39

As much as the NUS might not be the perfect ideal student vehicle, I personally believe only by remaining in the union can we make, influence and contribute positively. Sitting on the fence or pulling out won't solve the problem and ICU will find out anywhere u find student unions, there'll always be problems. We can only succeed by working together even with diverging opinions.

Jun 20 2008 23:18

Imoh Okon you sound like the EU - who this week revealed their true face.

We don't want to be part of some big organisation to which pay extortionate amounts of money just so that can be thrown away on pointless goals set out by the NUS.

Leave us alone and go elsewhere with your soon-to-be-dead "union".

17. Boris   
Jun 22 2008 21:33

The nationalistic Daily Mail readers of Imperial are in strong voice. Imperial indeed. Bring back the Empire!

Given that 40% of Imperial students were educated privately it's no surprise a fair few would oppose union membership; after all, what would daddy say? (stop letting those "idiots from the polys" prevent more privatisation of education... probably). It seems just as idealistic, politicised and more hypocritical, to repeatedly attack the "lefties" or "hard left" who are fighting to maintain the raison d'etre of a national union of students. Stop the "political self interest"! call those who disagree with the politics. The irony.

I am almost embarrassed to be a member of a university that breeds such good Thatcherites that the fact that "government have recently taken steps to circumvent NUS altogether" due to "student activists" means the unions must be bust, not the corporatist society we live in. After all, it was the NUS who supported the lecturers in pay disputes. And the NUS who opposed higher fees. No surprise the government would try to circumvent it, or you lot would oppose it.

More than ever, in an era of incessant, angry individualism and consumerism, students need to stand by their union and remain part of it, to support those less well-off and in need of a voice. And when necessary, to criticise it from within, in a position of influence and relevance, not without.

Jun 22 2008 22:16

"It seems just as idealistic, politicised and more hypocritical, to repeatedly attack the "lefties" or "hard left" who are fighting to maintain the raison d'etre of a national union of students"

The lefties/hard left that want to protest against a war in Iran that hasn't been seriously proposed as an option, to spend more money to protest again for free education, something which national media ignores, then continue spending more money on a huge conference which is an ineffective decision making body?

If the "raison d'etre" of a national union of students is to fight for equal pay for "workers", plot the revolution and maybe, if we get around to it, to claim the taxpayer should pay for degrees in golf course management then yes, they do a very good job.

If it's to make the public sit up and take notice of what students need to carry out their degrees in well-equipped education institutions with no barriers to acceptance except intelligence then they do an appalling job.

The current argument in the NUS is about what it should actually do. So far, Imperial seems not to agree with it.

19. Boris   
Jun 23 2008 00:03

"protest against a war in Iran that hasn't been seriously proposed" - been reading the news at all?

Golf course management - funny, exactly the kind of vocational, good job-prospects type of course I'd have thought you would support. Or would the people on that course be too stupid to be allowed a chance at higher education? Should they be sent straight to work in your kitchens?

"no barriers to acceptance except intelligence" - Presume your private school ensured you passed your IQ test then? I take it you haven't stepped foot in the real world yet either eh? Find me an employer who employs on academic performance alone and I will eat my red hat. You wouldn't even find a university that thinks its only role is as a pedagogical intelligence test centre.

Jun 23 2008 08:56

Your link on Iran is about an attack by Israel. Given that Iran would very quickly have the capability to develop a nuclear weapon to lob a short distance they have every right to be concerned. I still don't see what that has to do with "lefties" over here protesting about our government attacking Iran.

Golf course management - should not be a degree. It should be a diploma. Degrees have traditionally encouraged skills such as critical thinking which seem missing from vocational 'degrees' (I know several people who've done traditional degrees and several who've done vocational ones - the people on the vocational degrees came out with a little extra knowledge and a few extra skills. Those on traditional degrees came out with a different outlook on life).

"Your private school" - sorry, I went to a state school and not a very good one at that. You'll have to find another irrational prejudice to fire at me this time. I've done several projects in industry, including taking leading roles. Employers don't employ on academic performnce alone, that's why I have a large number of extra-curricular skills in addition to my academic degree. It's the extra skills you pick up with an academic degree that are appealing to banks etc.

Jun 24 2008 23:35

Ah, the NUS-supporters type-casting able people as 'Toffs'. Maybe they're closer to Labour than we previously thought?


(p.s. Grammars are state schools, and normally badly underfunded ones at that, as successive Labour governments have gradually removed funding in an attempt to make them fail, to 'prove' that a comprehensive system is better.)

Jun 24 2008 23:39


If you wish to straw-man people*, you should try and do it well and subtly, rather than making high-and-mighty statements about kitchens.


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