Things have finally started to heat up at Conference with motions currently being discussed in the Education Zone. While pointless political debates see many delegates alienated and lead to the average student finding NUS irrelevant and inaccessible it is these Education Motions that will affect all students regardless of political affiliation or views on the state of the National Union.
The first few motions discussed before last nights close of Conference centred on FE Colleges and as such held no mandate for ICU Delegates. With the guillotine now extended for another 20mins of discussion we are starting to get our teeth into a new Higher Education Funding Policy, the outcome of which will pave arguments for or against disaffiliation.
Imperial College have speeches and amendments to this policy which will define how our delegation finally votes on the whole motion. So far an amendment has been passed which is in favour of general taxation as a means to fund Higher Education, introducing a National Bursary Scheme and against commercial interest on Student Loans. Parts of this are in direct contradiction of ICUs own Higher Education Policy which is against a Graduate Tax linked to earnings and in favour of institutional autonomy on bursary allocation.
Our amendment, which should be discussed shortly, will seek to win back some of the battles lost on Bursary Schemes and is certainly gearing up to be a contentious point. The amendment seems unlikely to pass.
Imperial are teetering on a knife edge with ICU President Stephen Brown?s speech against National Demonstrations and International Speaker Tours sparking a highly charged debate on Conference Floor. Heckled as ?Tories? and ?Right-Wing Sabbaticals? ICU Delegates were supported in voting against ?a giant Marxist debating club on wheels? and inviting international activists whose ?only qualification to address our movement is that they have occupied a few lecture theatres on the continent.? You can view the full Speech at the bottom of this article.
The amendment for institutional autonomy over bursaries, proposed by Imperial and UCL, is sure to see even more disagreement with Imperial Students and its success will define our stance with the NUS ahead of the 2009 review. This is the most important motion to be discussed this year in Blackpool and where we will finally see if NUS are going to stand for or against Imperial Students when it comes to our tuition fees and our education.
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