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NUS Conference Summary 2007

Mar 30 2007 00:25
Ashley Brown
NUS conference turned out to be the most right-wing ever, with Imperial coming under fire from extreme left factions from the outset.
NUS VP (Welfare) Veronica King in the chair

Having had many discussions with delegates from other universities, it is clear that this NUS conference was somewhat revolutionary. It was a conference described by the ?loony left? as ?the most right wing conference ever?, where realism replaced unworkable dreams and reforms were pushed through. Imperial was characterised, along with Kings, Bristol and Sheffield as "right wing" by the fringe left, with even our card-carrying Labour Party member Alex Guite described as a "right wing insurgent".

It was the extreme right of NUS conference, sabbaticals from institutions like Kings College London and Imperial College, that opposed motion 510a, on "how to win the fight for free education"
Education Not for Sale Update

The conference appeared to be "Respect vs the rest" at times, particularly on the second day, with old hands coming away stunned at the political shift. If anything, Respect may be partly responsible for this shift, as people grew increasingly tired of their attempts to keep the status quo in the current financially unviable NUS with amendments and stalling tactics.

Smiling delegates after 3 days of non-stop hackery, glad to be out of Blackpool and on the way home

In terms of what the conference really achieved, it is sometimes hard to tell. A large number of motions were passed, including our amendment calling for international medical students to be permitted to complete their training. Many of these were unopposed showing the common ground, but it is the divisions and hard decisions which are the real story of the conference.

The NUS, looking to reform itself but facing opposition from some factions, spent an immense amount of time throwing out amendments seeking to restrict the scope of a review, meaning many motions, including our amendment against the oppression of canoeists, were not heard as time ran out. The divisive motions had long debates, but finally went ICU?s way:

  • The NUS is calling for a better, smarter education campaign for fees. All attempts to force a costly national demonstration every year were defeated, with a focus on intelligent lobbying and putting a rational case to the government. ICU delegate Edmund Hunt?s speech summed it up nicely: we are students, so we should show that our education is worthwhile, that we can put forward a rational, logical, intelligent argument for our viewpoint.
  • A wide-ranging governance review is to be carried out, with a view to reforming the structures of the NUS to increase efficiency. No areas are ruled out of the review.

Other motions of particular note include:

  • NUS affiliation fees are to reduce as a result of the sale of shares in Endsleigh Insurance to Zurich.
  • The NUS will seek better support and representation for medical students, including lobbying against visa changes so current international students can complete their training in the UK.
  • NUS is now forbidden from moving discounts currently available for free onto NUS Extra. The same motion mandated it to provide equal prominence to free discounts as to Extra discounts in advertising.

All in all, the winds of change were in the air and Imperial's presence did not go un-noticed. Conference is infuriating, as the format allows all sides of a debate to waste time and block progress. This time at least, ICU got a lot of what we wanted from it.

Remember to check the "conference blog" for more details.

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Discussion about “NUS Conference Summary 2007”

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.
Mar 30 2007 00:43

Well done Ashley and well done Imperial!

For the first time in my life I have felt proud to be caled a right-wing fascist (by people who are so far left they are delusioned)! Not something I ever thought I would say and all the more funny because it is so far from the truth!

Now we have pushed through the policy we have to ensure NUS delivers on it. Something this delegation wil not rest on until it is achieved.

Mar 30 2007 02:09

Breaking news: the NUS actually passes realistic and worthy motions.

We'll have more on that story at 11, along with news that hell has apparently frozen solid.

Mar 30 2007 10:38

Seriously, we were as shocked as you are! I think I only heard the word 'farce' uttered three times in three days. Compare that to ICU Council meetings... NUS conference turned out to be realy quite professional but I'll add my comments to Live!'s blog rather than spouting on here.

Mar 30 2007 13:03

For those who are interested, here are the full election results:


Gemma Tumelty


Stephen Brown


Dave Lewis


Wes Streeting


Ama Uzowuru


Beth Walker Chichester College


1. Richard "Bubble" Budden

2. Daniel Rosenstone

3. Fatima Suleman

4. Ciaran Norris

5. George Woods

6. Katie Curtis

7. Benedict Pringle

8. Sam Rozati

9. Rob Owen

10. Sofie Buckland

11. Tom Stubbs

12. Adam McNicholas

Sadly, Daryn McCombe (Kings President) missed out by one vote.

5. Simon   
Mar 31 2007 00:45

Nice to know that all the efforts spent but those who compiled our aproach to the motions at the conference were well spent, and that the issues debated by council were seen through.

Equaly nice to see Student Respect taking a few kicks to the teeth.

I'm sure those that voted for our delegates will be proud of what they have achieved for us.

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See Also

  1. NUS: ICU Becomes Political Toy
    06 Mar 07 | News
  2. Lack of Respect?
    21 Dec 06 | News
  3. NUS Sells Endsleigh
    21 Dec 06 | News

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