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Live! - Editions

Ten Reasons to Leave

Jun 17 2008 16:27
Stephen Brown
Stephen Brown gives ten reasons why you should vote 'No' between 17th and 23rd June.
10 Reasons to Vote No
  1. NUS is too Expensive - As well as the £ 46,000 affiliation fee that ICU pays, there are thousands of £s of hidden costs, e.g. conference delegate travel expenses (including national conference, liberation conferences and staff conferences).
  2. NUS is Financally Mismanaged. It spends more money than it has, regularly running up deficits one fifth of its £3.5m budget and has been forced to dispose of capital assets to meet running costs. To combat this NUS decided to introduce a stealth tax, the NUS Extra Card, from which £6 of each sale goes to the NUS budgetary drainpipe. In any case very few NUS extra cards have been sold at Imperial and the majority of student discounts are available on production of your Imperial swipe card.
  3. NUS is Unrecontructed. Most Unions went through a process of restructuring twenty years ago, but NUS didn't. NUS remains the same ridiculous clunking vehicle that Jack Straw made it in the 60's. The NUS Executive claims to be ?politically diverse? yet contains the same number of revolutionary socialists than it does Liberal Democrats and Conservatives combined. Is this really representative of UK students views?
  4. Opportunities for a better world. It would only require a few more Unions to establish a viable alternative national union to NUS that would fulfil the goals that NUS lays claim to and one that is genuinely representative of student opinion.
  5. NUS reform failed. Imperial College Union worked hard this year to change NUS and made it clear back in October that if radical changes were not made they we would reconsider our membership. NUS have had their chance to change and have blown it. This battle has been lost ? lets not take the gamble that somehow next year it will be OK and waste another £46,000 in the process.
  6. The NUS spends more money taking decisions than it does implementing them. What do Imperial students gain from paying £46,000 to fund a debating club for sabbatical officers? The majority of Imperial students who have given up their time to attend NUS events to represent us have experienced the NUS shambles in person are now wanting ICU to leave as they have witnessed what the NUS is like in practice.
  7. Imperial has one of the most active student bodies in the country. It would be better to plough our £46,000 in to what Imperial students are doing rather than continue handing it over to the wasteful NUS.
  8. By disaffiliating this would free up officer time and financial resources to work with other Unions on relevant issues when necessary. This was recently demonstrated by our medical students who cooperated with other students in London to campaign against the removal of their right to free accommodation. The NUS had nothing to say on this issue because they are so hamstrung by their own internal politics that they don?t have time to dedicate to these bread and butter student issues.
  9. Despite claiming otherwise the NUS provides us with no professional support. If Imperial College Union needs legal or financial advice we still have to meet the full costs ourselves regardless of whether or not we are NUS affiliates.
  10. NUS?s ultimate failure as a representative body is all too clear. They are dismissed by parliamentary committees as only being representatives of student activists and the government have recently taken steps to circumvent NUS altogether in an attempt to determine what student opinion really is. Representation only works if the NUS has legitimacy and credibility with their members and decision makers. It is clear that they enjoy neither.
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Discussion about “Ten Reasons to Leave”

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 18 2008 08:43

"This was recently demonstrated by our medical students who cooperated with other students in London to campaign against the removal of their right to free accommodation"

I thought medical students still got free accomodation, and it was just F1 doctors (who have graduated and hence are no longer students) who had to pay for it.

If this is the case, why would the NUS get involved - it doesn't affect students?

2. John   
Jun 18 2008 15:30

Flower: " why would the NUS get involved - it doesn't affect students?"

One of the biggest arguments in favour of NUS was the HSBC bank charged which only affected graduates and not actually students.

So this is not a reason for the NUS not getting involved in F1 accommodation.

3. Boris   
Jun 22 2008 21:23

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 which opposed higher fees. No surprise the government would try to circumvent it.

More than ever, in an era of incessant 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 ultimately, to criticise it from within, in a position of influence and relevance, not without.

4. Helen   
Jun 23 2008 12:54

so now there are only 'revolutionary socialists', conservatives and liberal democrats. Nobody here trying to fulfil their own political agenda then - talk about throwing your right wing dummy out of the pram.

Jun 23 2008 13:14

No, Helen, there are loads of Labour people in the NUS, in fact that's most of them.

However, there are more 'revolutionary socialists' in the NUS than conservatives and lib dems put together, the point being this is not representative of the student body here. Perhaps you should read/think more carefully before mouthing off.

6. Helen   
Jun 23 2008 19:35

Clearly you misunderstood my post

I am probably about as left wing as you can get - my point was that the people saying we should leave the NUS are trying to fulfil their own political agenda (to the right).

So less of the acusing me of 'mouthing off' everyone is entitled to their opinion, so please try and be more polite next time.

And besides this referendum I have seen no evidence (in the postgraduate world) of the union trying to find out what the student body thinks politically, but maybe I am looking in the wrong places.

Jun 23 2008 20:56

@ Helen, What on earth are you talking about people fulfilling their political agenda? What does that even mean? All these vacuous statements propping up everywhere are so unbelievably annoying.

Jun 23 2008 23:40

Surely the union has no need to find out what the student body thinks politically? That just clouds what the student body *wants*?

Who cares if you're "left" or "right"? That's the sort of divisive classification which damages the NUS, and which ICU has managed to avoid for decades...

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  1. Voting Opens in NUS Referendum
    17 Jun 08 | News
  2. NUS Referendum Debate: Recording
    13 Jun 08 | The Live! Debate
  3. NUS is not worth the money
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