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The confused segment in any Idea is used to determine whether more than 3% of the electorate who voted found the question itself (or the choices) confusing. In this case there were far fewer than 3% confused grades, and we determine that this question was clear.

The Student Ideas Officer agrees that although the circumstances have been very difficult, contextually as a whole across the entire set of campaigns the result is fair.

As a consequence of the number of complaints and issued raised in this campaign, we are reinstating the campaign block (removed in January 2016,) which is:-

  • No Large Idea will go live on the system until both sides of any issue have received training in running a fun and engaging campaign.
  • A meeting where both sides are present, to agree the interpretation of the rules and to set any special and additional rules by mutual consent for the specific campaign will also take place.
  • Ideas which become Large Ideas through turnout do not have this restriction.
  • There will be no exceptions for bans, boycotts, or dis/affiliation proposals.

In order to review the rules and procedures around Large Ideas we need time to draft, and to ratify, any changes through Games Design Council:-

  • The earliest we can stage a Large Idea with active campaigns will be week 5 of term one, 2016-17.
  • There will be no exceptions.

If students wish to prepare to hold a vote at this time then they should simply email ideas@exeterguild.com and we will hold onto your details for the appropriate time in week 1.

  • Please also remember that changes to the system, including to the Rules, can be made by putting in a Student Idea.
  • Provided the Idea does not call for a ban on anything, it can go through as an ordinary Student Idea.
  • Please remember that campaign teams can agree a ban on certain behaviours between themselves for the duration of a single campaign. This must be by mutal consent, not at the will of one party only.

TRACK

Actions Taken

  • This Idea opened on 2 May 2016 and closed for voting on 12 May 2016 at midnight.
  • The result was announced on Friday 13 May.

Twitter Conversation

Other Large Ideas

Case Agreeing

After the 2014 NUS referendum, we were promised reform. Instead, things have gotten worse.

Highlights from this year’s work include Jewish representation removed from their anti-racism committee, the notorious motion to seek “restrictions” on anonymous use of YikYak (a purely anonymous platform), the Holocaust memorial embarrassment (delegates applauded for arguing to block a national commemoration this year because it’s not ‘inclusive’), a blanket opposition to any future HE reforms (without knowing what they will be), and more evidence that NUS execs are out of touch. Our universities are “the most expensive in the world” - VP for FE, and “teaching hasn't progressed much since the Industrial Revolution” – President-elect).

President-elect Malia Bouattia has been criticised by 57 leaders of Jewish student societies nationwide for past anti-Semitic rhetoric, and previously blocked a motion to condemn ISIS on the basis that it “appeared to condemn all Muslims”. The motion did no such thing.

Less than 0.005% of students voted for the new President, yet the NUS refuses to adopt One Member One Vote which would give you a say on who represents you.

And we should stay for a £12 discount card used by less than 15% of students, with the majority its offers being given for free elsewhere? For a student voice that failed to prevent tuition fees being trebled, protect maintenance grants, or stop tuition fees rising again? Guild services will not be negatively impacted by disaffiliation. That’s from executive Guild staff. Southampton, St Andrews and Imperial aren’t affiliated with the NUS and their unions are thriving.

The NUS can’t be reformed. It’s unaccountable, undemocratic and unreasonable, and it doesn’t represent Exeter.

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Case Disagreeing

Whilst we recognize that NUS is not perfect and does things we disagree with at times, we firmly believe in the power of students standing together to get a better deal for our generation – financially, politically, and organizationally.

Here are our top 5 reasons why you should vote to Stay in the NUS and Strongly Disagree to NUS disaffiliation:

  1. You will lose money
    If the Guild is made to disaffiliate, you won’t be able to buy an NUS Extra Card any longer. This includes: 50% off Spotify, 25% National Express, 10% Co-op. UniDays is not as good as NUS Extra, it has fewer offers relevant to Exeter.
  2. The Guild will lose up to £20,000
    The proposers of this motion argue that the Guild loses over £49,526 in affiliation costs to the NUS every year. However, we receive commercial benefits benefitting the Guild, and you, up to £20,000.
  3. Your Bars and Shops will be more expensive
    The NUS secures discounts on and buys alcohol, food, and stationery on behalf of over 100 Students’ Unions. That’s why prices in the Lemmy, the Ram and Guild Shop are so reasonable. You will be told Southampton are cheaper than us and that’s true, but they receive double the funding from their University (£2.7 million) than we do (£1.4 million).
  4. Exeter will not have a national voice
    The NUS as a representative group for 7,000,000 students have a much louder voice and gain access the Guild could only dream of.
  5. Your reps will lose access to training and research
    The NUS provides invaluable support for the Guild’s activities, representation, and support teams.

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DISCUSS

Owing to a large number of complaints about comments on this page, the Guild can no longer moderate them. The comments are now permanently closed.

You can also join the debate on Twitter.

Malaka Shwaikh
11:35am on 11 May 16 Dear Paul, please keep in mind that NUS delegates are not chosen but elected by students population in each university; sometimes this percentage is high and others it is low but that has nothing to do with NUS but with the students in each university and how much they engage with the political process. We are trying very hard in NUS to get more students to vote every year and maybe you have noticed that higher percentage of students are getting involved these years. Thank you again. Staying in NUS and voting with strongly disagree to this motion means that we as Exeter students are part of the reforming process NUS is currently holding - it's better to stay in, engage with the process, and hold officers to account. Have a lovely day :)
Paul Rota
10:41am on 11 May 16 But Sachal what MP has been elected on less than a 1% turnout in their constituency?
Sachal Khan
12:59am on 11 May 16 Thibaut, comparing it to a general election is hardly fair when there are more NUS delegates than there are MPs running the whole country and everyone seems fine with that.
Thibaut Le Forsonney
12:30am on 11 May 16 Malaka, I must point out that "the NUS is not 100% representative" is quite a telling understatement of how undemocratic this institution is. The incoming president Malia Bouattia was elected by just 372 voters. I'm not hiding any zeros, just so you know, thats really just 372 persons who somehow represent all students in the UK. The NUS claims to speak for "7 million student voices" so that would mean that 0.00531 percent of students voted for our president. Compare that to the more than 1600 people who voted for the BNP in the last general election out of around 30 million votes cast, which turns out at 0.00533 percent. Thats right, the BNP has more popular support than Malia Bouattia. As you can tell I'm not a huge fan of that party. So isn't it understandable when students get annoyed that, according to vice president Shelly Asquith, Lincoln's "less than a 13 percept turnout" is just a "small minority" while the NUS' conference is a "huge democratic event." If you believe the NUS is willing to change then please listen to the people who went to the last conference who advocated for a "one member, one vote" system. I should also say that I don't really care for personal politics but the incoming president's voting stats are just the most reported on, I'm sure the NUS' policies are just as undemocratic. Please vote "strongly agree" because we want the people who represent us to actually represent us.
Malaka Shwaikh
10:24pm on 10 May 16 Being an elected member of the National Executive Committee of NUS this year, I've seen first hand how much time and efforts people behind the scene are sparing to make the studrntns' life easier. If I speak thoughout the day to pay them some attributes, my words would not be enough. The NUS is not 100% representative yes but leaving would be a loss for all of us - because it is much better staying in, debating and holding officers to account, and getting them to pass whatever we want of policies and not leaving them to do what they think is right. Please strongly disagree with the motion.
Rachel Houseago
10:05pm on 10 May 16 It's funny that when there's an NUS president that finally, actually represents me... rather than accepting her election (as everyone has done with all previous candidates), suddenly the NUS 'no longer represents students' and we need to delegitimise Malia's platform. Why? Because she's active in anti-racism struggles? We wouldn't want a president who's against racism, how terrible. Or because she shows solidarity with people colonised by Israel, the *only settler colonial state in the Middle East*? No, we really should support the bombing of Gazans. Or because she campaigns against Prevent? No, we really should be targetting Muslim students more - there is not enough Islamophobia. Or maybe because she campaigns against the deportation of students to countries where their lives are in danger? Wouldn't want to keep all those students alive. Please guys, do you research before you vote. If you're female, LGBTQ, black, 'dis'abled, an international student or a postrgrad student it's a really bad idea to vote to agree with this motion of disaffiliation with a union that fights for you, trains your reps, and will support you when you face discrimination.
Aidan Roberts
9:38pm on 10 May 16 My main concern is if someone so left could realistically represent the entire student population of this country. I'm no right-winger but this concerns me greatly. Political views, possibly irrelevant and even obstructive to issues associated with all students here could significantly impede progress. In my opinion, an ideal would be to have a president that is totally politically neutral to minimise bias, which could be easily achieved by voting to disaffiliate with the NUS, that has indeed skewed far too far one way. The case remains if the president was hard right, too. The other point of note is the investment that Exeter has in the NUS, reaping very little benefit. The U-turn around opposition of increased student fees, after the fees were tripled, is not only disappointing but exposes the fickle structure of an organisation that has little aspiration to make a difference. While we can't directly apply the facts that other universities such as Imperial and Southampton are doing fine without the NUS to Exeter, what's stopping us from becoming an independent voice? We can do without the small benefits of cheaper drinks and discount cards to also rid the union of anti-Semitism, political bias, and (hopefully) any forms of xenophobia to correctly portray the diverse community of students in the UK, while also making sure that the union that represents our university here in the regional capital focuses on our needs, and not to campaign against governments and developments elsewhere in the world's stage. Leave that to other groups.
Billy Leaver
8:55pm on 10 May 16 "if Malia [The President] wasn't a Muslim, this motion (and all of the "controversy" surrounding her election) would likely not exist" - Malaka Shwaikh. Great to see that someone who has posted 12 times in this comment section and has run a campaign stall in the forum is simplifying the issue so hugely and spreading misinformation. As Alasdair pointed out this motion has been in the works since February and the NUS has been criticized for years over a huge range of issues. They spent £40,000 campaigning against the Liberal Democrats in the election, something which many think is a huge waste of money, have a strange preoccupation with international issues like ISIS and the Israel/Palestine conflict etc. which frankly should be of no concern to them. Furthermore they refuse to adopt the 'one member one vote' scheme which led to the current president being elected by 0.005% of the UK's student population. How exactly is any of that to do with the current president's religion or race?
Alasdair Gibbs
7:05pm on 10 May 16 No, this referendum is not about the new president. This referendum has been in the works since February. You can read Exiter's open letter explaining a huge number of reasons for leaving (with citations and sources) here: https://goo.gl/wrdgLY
Nicholas McAlpin
5:55pm on 10 May 16 An echoing from Lincoln SU as to how this will not affect their services at all, which will be mirrored here in the event of a leave vote: "Hayley Jayne, as SU President, will write to the NUS Executive Council to give notice before the 1st July. The University of Lincoln Students' Union will then disaffiliate on the 31st December 2016. There will be no noticeable difference, our members will continue to be represented by a students’ union with their interests at the heart of its mission. We will continue to support, represent and empower our members in the same way that we always have. The disaffiliation will have no impact on the quality and level of services that we provide to our members."
Malaka Shwaikh
2:46pm on 10 May 16 I strongly disagree with this motion because for minority and ethnic groups in Exeter, there is no single source of support that is not linked to NUS. Without the NUS, we will lose so much support needed at all times. Think of liberation campaigns and students who are in need for the NUS throughout their studies while you vote please.
Callum Petty
2:26pm on 10 May 16 Let’s be honest. This motion is largely about the election of Bouattia as NUS President combined with recent claims that the left is antisemitic. These somehow signify that the NUS (yes, that ‘orrible leftist NUS!) is institutionally antisemitic (so Exeter must leave it). The rest of the ‘case agreeing’ asserts meaningless fluff, which most students care little about or over which the NUS has little control, so my post won’t engage with it. So let’s analyse the salient points of the case agreeing, shall we? ‘Jewish representation being removed from [the NUS’s] anti-racism committee’: This is misleading. This claim refers to the removal of the automatic right for one of the two co-conveners of the Anti-Racism Anti-Fascism conference to be a Jewish student. Instead, the motion called for ‘called for one position to go automatically to a representative of African, Asian or Latin American descent, but to have the second post be elected by the NEC from any group considered to be an ethnic minority or a member of a marginalised group’ (Source: The Jewish Chronicle). The NUS therefore sought to open up minority representation in a single post. It is far too much to cry ‘antisemitism!’ because of this (and begs the question of why in this day and age, a Jewish student deserves automatic representation in that role when Muslim students, for example, were never afforded that). Jewish representation and protection of Jewish students remains unchanged at the NUS’s other anti-racism initiatives. Holocaust Memorialisation row: In incendiary language, the case agreeing asserts that ‘delegates [were] applauded for arguing to block a national commemoration this year because it’s not ‘inclusive’. Some NUS delegates thought that the Holocaust shouldn’t be prioritised over other genocides and atrocities in terms of memorialisation. Wherever or not one agrees with this, it is again excessive to label the NUS as a whole as jew-hating because of this. Election of Bouattia: Firstly, the letter condemning her. While its provenance is unknown, it was circulated by an Israeli lobbyist in the UK (see the source below). It makes the common conflation of saying those that are anti-Zionist (as in those who campaign against the human rights abuses of the State of Israel) are antisemitic. If one reads the blogpost which Bouattia wrote (see below), it is clearly against the human rights abuses of Israel, not against Jews in general. While Bouattia and other Palestinian activists can be sloppy in their use of the term ‘zionist’ (a term meaning one who wishes for a Jewish state to exist – realistically, Israel – rather than how they use it as a term of abuse for those who excuse Israel’s human rights abuses – a very real problem), nowhere has Bouattia claimed that Israel has no right to exist or that she hates Jews. To say that she does, purely on the basis of criticism of Israel’s actions, is not only a logical fallacy – it is a smear. As for the ISIS stuff: Bouattia should have condemned ISIS in 2014 (although she has done so now). But that reason is not the focus of labelling the NUS as institutionally antisemitic. https://twitter.com/Jay10Bay/status/720312846425460737 http://the-london-school-of-emancipation.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/university-of-birmingham-israeli.html TLDR – Misleading claims regarding the NUS’s apparent institutional antisemitism from the case agreeing.
William King
12:13pm on 10 May 16 Thomas, I'm sorry you feel that way, but it is rather patronising to say that Exeter is mostly the university; there are many many factors and elements to the city beyond the university, and the divide between town/gown is one of the worst I've seen. The more we can integrate into the town, the better. I know that this is somewhat removed from the original point, but to just assume that the town is here to serve us does not serve us well. To quote: "If Exeter can't do one then I find that that a bit ridiculous given Exeter is primarily based around students so business' are reliant on students for their custom. " Exeter really is not based primarily around students; they're a large factor of the town, but it's not really a good basis to base a large part of the Leave campaign around. Thanks for attending my lecture though! :)
Alasdair Gibbs
11:25am on 10 May 16 For William: we WILL still get discounts, not maybe. The standard student discount has nothing to do with being part of the NUS. UNiDAYS offers almost all of the same offers as an NUS Extra card (a bonus set of discounts) for free rather than for £32.00. 94% of students nationally don't even use an NUS Extra card. And on prices in shops/bars: we WILL join a new trade consortium and get similar discounts - there is absolutely no doubt about that.
William King
11:05am on 10 May 16 None of the people voting to Leave have offered firm commitments. It'll all 'Probably be alright! We'll still get discounts!' Well, what if we don't? What if you're wrong? We would have left an organisation that is proven to do good for students and fight their corner because of some disagreements over policy. Well done. Furthermore, whoever said 'Exeter is mostly the university so the town would have to supply discounts!' was being patronising as hell.
Rachel Houseago
4:19pm on 9 May 16 The NUS Extra card gives students over 40,000 discounts worldwide including at Odeon cinemas, Amazon, Domino’s pizza, Apple, Superdrug, the Co-op and the AA. The out campaign argues that they would be able to provide students with *better* discounts if we disaffiliate, but it’s not true. I did my undergraduate at a university not affiliated with the NUS and missed out on a lot of discounts because of it. Moreover, because I care about women, black students, disabled students, LGBTQ+ students, international students and postgraduate students having a national voice and being represented I will vote to strongly disagree with this motion to disaffiliate. Currently, there are NUS representatives at Exeter for all of these groups, but if we were to disaffiliate they would all be homogenised under one rep, weakening the voices of all of these students. The NUS, like any union, is crucial to uniting students especially those struggling in times of neo-liberal austerity (which is most of us) against rises in rents, rises in tuition fees and resisting racist government surveillance programmes such as Prevent.
Malaka Shwaikh
3:23pm on 9 May 16 More reasons on why I STRONGLY DISAGREE with this motion: Because of NUS work in the past few years, 1. SU2015 had a 20% increase in attendees (847) with 75% of those completing the survey rating it as Excellent, Very good or Good compared with 65% last year. 2. Lead & Change had 467 attendees with an increase of 17% in Unions represented. 3 The new membership engagement team have met with over 100 of our member unions of all shapes and sizes in the past two months. 4. 33 Unions have completed Quality Students’ Unions, part A, 2 have completed part B with 7 more expected to complete this year. 5. NUS hosted and summit on Union Development in FE to discuss a consistent approach to and a sustainable model for FE Unions against a backdrop of the area reviews, a roadmap report will be published soon. 6. The Strategic Support Unit continues it work with Unions and had 5 Diagnostics booked in. 7. NUS continue to provide a Returning Officer service for Unions and deal with briefings on compliance issues. In the first quarter of the year these have focused on Charitable Campaigning, FOI requests, Freedom of Speech and Speaker evaluation and members responsibilities under the Counter Terrorism Bill. 8. NUS is also working hard to ensure that we are being transparent and that more students’ unions than ever before are engaging with our governance and democracy. 72.5% of our governance articles on NUS Connect have received over 500 views this quarter. 9. They launched Project 100. 10. NUS membership events achieve an average net promoter score (NPS) of 34 and as well as SU2015 and Lead and Change, the Student Media Summit and Membership Services Conference, that we supported, have had excellent feedback.
Nathan Burnikell
12:34pm on 9 May 16 In regards to the comments about Exeter setting up their own discount card that would be "more persuasive" and have more power to negotiate discounts outside of the NUS, history has shown otherwise. This was attempted literally about two and a half years ago and it took longer to set up the discount card than it did for it to die out again. How anyone can suggest that 20,000 students have more bargaining power than the 7 million voices the NUS represents just seems a bit ridiculous.
Malaka Shwaikh
10:38am on 9 May 16 Really interesting debate. Thank you all. I strongly disagree with this idea - I have been part of our students movement for the past three years. NUS in specific has changed my life positively. First-hand experience has taught me that students working together as a team can have a strong transformative impact. Whether people vote to stay in or leave the NUS consider the liberation organisations of the NUS that have led numerous national campaigns on our behalf to combat all sorts of racism and discrimination. * There are 6 affiliated organisations to the NUS: one for black students, one for international students, one for female students, one for LGBT+ students, one for disabled students and one for postgraduate students * Issues which affects these groups are raised here * The Exeter delegates that attend and raise issues at these conferences and in the University for each individual liberation group are the only people in the Guild solely representing their individual category i.e. we have no disability officer so the only person in the Guild solely representing disability is the NUS disability delegate * If we leave the NUS, all of these separate groups get put together into a liberation role- I find it implausible that one person alone can know the in-depth issues affecting all of these groups Please, when you consider our membership of the NUS think not only about main conference but the work done by the NUS liberation organisations and their delegates at Exeter University. As someone who has been working with of some of these liberation groups, they have supported me all the time. They have campaigned all over the country to combat all sorts of racism. It is natural, healthy and encouraged to have students with different views who disagree with NUS officers or policies. We have always had political and ideological differences. But let us join in, debate and hold officers to account. A weakened NUS means a divided and fragile students movement with no United students’ voice on a national level. Thank you,
Bhagya Silva
8:47am on 9 May 16 Vote Strongly Agree! An independent Exeter Students' Guild: - Can secure better and cheaper student discounts than the NUS Extra card, which ONLY 6% of students nationally own. Cardiff Met is an independent student union and their card is both cheaper AND offers more discounts than NUS Extra! - We'll be able to campaign for the issues that matter to us, but not be tied down to supporting the ones that don't. How does the NUS squandering £40,000 of OUR money on billboards attacking the Lib Dems help our worries about rents, welfare and mental illness? - The NUS no longer represents us. It's anti-free speech and extreme. Free of it, we'll be able to take control and focus on what Exeter students actually want, rather than spending £50k (a figure that's rising year on year) on a group of nutters who are too busy pretending to be the UN to help you and me.
Malaka Shwaikh
11:18pm on 8 May 16 Ten more reasons on why I strongly disagree with this motion: 1. The NUS launched our priority campaign #CuttheCosts, with member resources and actions including a constituency lobby of MPs, and a Westminster lobby. NUS is currently taking legal action against the government’s failure to fully assess the impact of the proposed cut to maintenance grants. 2. They negotiated at the highest level holding meetings with universities minister, Business Secretary (and their special advisors), the shadow HE and FE minister, the BIS select committee chair, the education select committee chair, the treasury HE team BIS civil servants and others. 3. They put Lad Culture firmly on the political map, with government making a pledge to start up a taskforce specifically looking at harassment and violence against students. The Lad Culture Pilot Scheme is also underway, with 9 unions participating in it. 4. They successfully re-formed the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on students with strong cross-party representation across its membership, including newly elected MPs. They developed and agreed work programme for the APPG on Students, and held reception for the Group’s re-launch. 5. They secured NUS representation on the national advisory board which is reviewing post-16 education. 6. Two meetings of the Black Sabbaticals Network have been held with over 60 Black Sabbaticals attending the first event from across the UK. 7. They produced a full SU briefing, and coordinating a response to the government Green Paper on HE including #LoveSUs and Quality doesn’t grow on fees initiatives. 8. They achieved a substantial increase in national media coverage notable success, Cut the cost, legal action, lobby and lad culture. 9. Over 275,000 Extra cards were sold during the quarter, 4% increase on same period last year. New point of sales (POS) materials and digital assets supplied to unions. 10. UnionCloud’s Scalable architect passed the A-level results day with flying colours, coping with a 7,000% increase in traffic, handling 400,000 page requests during a two hour period, which is the normal traffic of a whole day.
Nicholas McAlpin
9:11pm on 8 May 16 Hi there Dominic. Actually I would consider that interfering in the democratic process. I, for example, have an NUS card, but no longer support the NUS. I'm sure there are many others that were swayed by this. Campaign spending is very limited on both sides and this is obviously a massive unfair advantage towards the Stay campaign. Fortunately at other SUs across the country (Hull being a prime example), the NUS has been warned that if they interfere in a similar way to how they interfered here, there will be penalties against the Hull SU Stay campaign. This just goes to show that it's widely viewed as an undemocratic act to take part in.
Thibaut Le Forsonney
8:40pm on 8 May 16 Just a correction, Cathryn, according to NUS there are liberation campaigns for disabled students, LGBT, black students, and women. So not international and part-time. Also, though I would agree that particular groups need a voice that is particular to them and more than a "lets all get along" approach there is no reason to insult other people while doing so. The NUS has regularly felt it has to demean the lives of people so that it can fulfil its aims. One motion claimed that "white gay men may often assert that they are ‘strong black women' or have an 'inner black woman.'" This is such a lie that I cannot understand why the NUS has not been made to apologise for it. Gay men, who still face persecution in most of the world and have been the victims of lies about who they are and what they do, apparently are not oppressed enough to merit being left alone to live their own lives. Their comments against Jews and the commemoration of the Holocaust are even worse, and they pretend that its to raise awareness for alternative causes. This is ridiculous, we're not running out of empathy points to hand out. You don't need to ignore one person's suffering to tend to another's. Please vote "strongly agree."
Cathryn Stocker
7:49pm on 8 May 16 The NUS delegates for liberation groups- LGBT, international, part-time, black, female and disabled are vital. Without the Guild having an officer to represent these campaigns individually, it is down to the delegates to raise matters specific to these groups both in the University and at a national level, achieving change and making things better for these groups of students at Exeter.
Dominic Self
7:06pm on 8 May 16 Nicholas, the NUS only sent that message to people who have bought an NUS extra card - shock horror, NUS asks people who have supported it in the past to keep supporting it! Its position is obviously going to be that it wants us to stay, it's hardly interfering with the democratic process by asking people to vote that way.
Nicholas McAlpin
5:46pm on 8 May 16 On dit « NON » au National Union of Students ! Votez « STRONGLY AGREE » du 2 au 12 mai, pour être plus fort, en faisant partie d'une Guilde d'Étudiants indépendante et libre ! Le NUS ne respecte pas les valeurs françaises- surtout celle de la liberté. Le NUS vient d'envoyer un SMS marketing aux étudiants d'Exeter qui les encourage à voter pour rester dans le NUS. Je crois que ça représente un exemple clair où le NUS s'ingère dans le processus démocratique. We say "NO" to the National Union of Students! Vote "STRONGLY AGREE" from the 2nd to the 12th May, in order to be stronger by being part of an independent and free Guild of Students! The NUS does not respect French values- especially with regards to liberty. The NUS has just sent a marketing SMS to Exeter students, encouraging them to vote to stay in NUS. I believe that this represents a clear example where the NUS has interfered in the democratic process.
Malaka Shwaikh
5:42pm on 8 May 16 I strongly disagree with this idea - This year NUS postgraduate campaign fed into the Disabled Students’ Campaign on postgraduate mental health and suicide prevention, talking to policy-makers on how campus-wide services could be reformed and what safeguards must be in place for better mental health provision for postgraduates. In terms of ongoing campaigns, NUS postgraduate campaign is working with the Union Development Zone on gathering evidence on best practice for postgraduate involvement in student opportunities to help student unions involve their postgraduates. Looking forward, a central priority of mine for NUS postgraduate taught representative for 2016-17 will be to tackle postgraduate taught fee increases at institutions and campaign on fee regulation for postgraduates in the context of free education, making sure the loan scheme provides access for the least privileged students onto PGT courses. NUS is also working on improving postgraduate representation and grassroots campaigning activities. This March NUS had a successful NUS Postgraduate Conference passing policy on many issues affecting postgraduates, which the campaign will continue the work and lobby on throughout the year. For this and many more please let us stay in and make sure our voice is heard through the policies NUS will pass.
Thibaut Le Forsonney
5:20pm on 8 May 16 Myat, though I do agree with your point that we should create ties, I don't see how it applies to the NUS, which doesn't function to create an environment for people, communities, and universities to interact with each other on an basis of equality. The NUS is more interested in dividing people and playing politics, also personally I don't see their conferences as great opportunities for student engagement because they are both too exclusive and reclusive. In fact, the NUS is probably content that most students don't care enough about the organisation to question it or the people who gain positions within it. The "one member, one vote" attempt to make the NUS more democratic was ignored. At this point in time we're being asked to question a lot of the institutions we would have otherwise held for granted. I personally support membership of the EU and the UN because I believe that they have a positive impact on our lives. However, being a member of the NUS is more like having your politicians as members of the Trilateral Commission. We don't need the people have more of a voice in the NUS to have "more equal rights than others," nor do we want the NUS to spend our money on campaigns to tell us which political parties not to vote for. What is needed is a sense of all people as equals and the means to communicate amongst each other so that we can create ties on those terms.
Myat Cho
3:43pm on 8 May 16 I'd like to repost an idea, from Jack Sheeran's tweet: "Shouldn't we be leading this society, rather than leaving it?" It's like a diplomatic relationship that you need with America. You probably don't want it, but it's best to stay have ties with them, rather than completely isolate yourself from them. We could lead the NUS only when we're IN the NUS. Make the right choice.
Malaka Shwaikh
2:58pm on 8 May 16 Gary, thank you. It's true I reposted the first comment because of, as previously mentioned, language/format and other considerations (I wanted to edit it but the edit option isn't available) but other comments are all new and have been posted for the first time ever. I don't like the collective attack on me by the leave campaign. If you think I've done something you don't like you can always complain officially to the Guild. Otherwise you have my respect and appreciation guys. Well done and let us keep this campaign positive. :) :) :)
Gary McLachlan
2:05pm on 8 May 16 Unless commenters are putting in an official complaint about a comment or series of comments, I would like to remind everyone that we are collectively not supposed to assume other people's motives.
Malaka Shwaikh
1:46pm on 8 May 16 As someone who would be most affected by the NUS disaffiliation, I try to post about what NUS means for me and all international and postgraduate students. Throughout the year NUS postgraduate campaign has been working on the continued development of support for postgraduates who teach and campaigning against casualisation. Sai Englert, the postgraduate research representative, has been instrumental in leading on this through his support for individual postgraduate researchers. We have also been supporting the Fight against Casualisation in Education (FACE) which offers a national network for local campaigns for better pay, conditions and recognition locally. For postgraduates who teach, the PREVENT agenda has meant that they are legislated to spy on their students for signs of ‘radicalisation’. They supported the NUS Black Students’ Campaign in the #StudentsNotSuspects tour, with Sai speaking at many campuses, highlighting how postgraduates who teach can go against PREVENT as they are educators not informants.
Malaka Shwaikh
1:32pm on 8 May 16 On postgraduate issues and as a postgraduate student myself, NUS postgraduate campaign was one of the first organisations to bring up the idea of postgraduate loans a few years ago within the Higher Education sector, and indeed should be credited for what is now the government-sponsored postgraduate loans scheme coming in the academic year 2016-17. We started the year off by making sure this loans scheme is available for those aged over 30 with the #CapsOff campaign. I presented evidence to policy-makers, universities, government and specialists about the benefits of lifting the initially proposed cap, such as economic arguments (reskilling and upskilling) and access arguments (widening participation for groups such as parents). The campaign was successful and now the loans will be available to those over 30 as well as having much improved repayment terms and being extended to research masters students as well. Read more about it here http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/articles/guest-blog-mahamid-ahmed-postgraduate-students-campaign#.Vy8EvqZ32x8.twitter
Nicholas McAlpin
1:23pm on 8 May 16 Malaka, please stop constantly deleting and reposting the same comments so that you can have them situated at the top. I would appreciate that. No need to reply to this. Just acknowledge it and move on. This is now at least the third time from you. :)
Malaka Shwaikh
1:17pm on 8 May 16 On another note, I feel that the NUS work for international students like me has been phenomenal. Stopping the deportation of thousands of international students for no reason is something great. Only few days ago, a students from Scotland named lord was detained and set to be deported away from his family who were living with him while studying. The NUS has stopped this deportation. Let us stay in and make this Union even stronger. Thank you dear Wang - you know international student like me sometimes leave grammatical mistakes so I wanted my comment to look understandable so I edited some stuff... :) On deportation: please read this recent article https://www.nusconnect.org.uk/articles/students-and-politicians-stand-up-for-student-at-risk-of-deportation This resulted in the home office decided to withdraw the decision to refuse and certify lord's human rights claim and to refuse to revoke his deportation order, and have confirmed that they will be reconsidering his case. They have also confirmed that if they maintain their refusal, lord will have an in-country right of appeal. Is not that amazing? This is only one reason why I strongly disagree with this motion.
Nicholas McAlpin
1:17pm on 8 May 16 Fact check: Claim: "The NUS has helped and in some cases stopped the deportation of 48,000 international students caught up in the latest scandal." Reality: The only organisations mentioned in any literature on the subject are The Hindu, The Hindustan Times, The Indian Workers' Association, the tribunal that reversed some of the decisions and the judges and lawyers who made this possible. None of those are the NUS.
Bhagya Silva
1:10pm on 8 May 16 A BBC Panorama investigation has revealed that the NUS has had a negligible impact on deportations. The NUS doesn't stop deportations - grassroots movements, lawyers and charities do. Do Southampton, Cardiff Met, Glasgow, Imperial and St. Andrews all have epidemics of international students being deported compared to NUS-affiliated unis? Of course not. It's not fair to try and guilt-trip Exeter students into voting Stay.
Yuzhuo Wang
12:24pm on 8 May 16 Malaka Shwaikh may I kindly ask you not to delete your comment and repost it just in order to pin it on top please. I've witnessed you doing it at least twice. This is a place for debates, not for advertising :)
Bhagya Silva
10:55am on 8 May 16 I'm on the committee for a charity who fights to stop deportations and assist asylum seekers. Claiming that the NUS is able to overturn government policy is, at best, an exaggeration and, at worst, grossly misleading to Exeter students. The real heroes are the charities and lawyers who fight these cases - not the NUS jumping on their bandwagon. What we DO know is that, at EVERY instance the NUS has LED a campaign to overturn government policy - it has failed us. Tuition fees, top-up fees, the fees review, maintenance grants, equality in the minimum wage. It isn't taken seriously by anyone. Exeter, on the other hand, is. Our #NeverOK campaign last year got national press coverage and was heralded as an example of how to tackle lad culture and sexism. Vote Strongly Agree for a free and independent students' guild!
Abdulla Moaswes
3:09am on 8 May 16 On the issue of deportations again, the individuals within the NUS have taken on the issues of deportations. We can argue about the definition of grassroots in this case, but I don't think it's for home students to try to allay the fears of international students. We are not so impotent that we do not know how immigration and deportation work. Also, Panorama have a history of racist and xenophobic coverage of issues. They are hardly the most reliable source when it comes to issues like this, particularly if you watched the documentary on student visas, which was what led to the wrongful deportation of tens of thousands of students in the first place. The NUS is a very important tool for students who face deportation, and for some of us, deportation can mean a prison or death sentence. It's already happened on several occasions where students have been deported to their death, so keep this in mind when voting. I strongly encourage everybody to vote strongly disagree to leaving the NUS.
Alasdair Gibbs
8:52am on 7 May 16 To respond to some of the comments below: the “right wing” myth is back. Several of us at Exiter are on the left, I’m a vocal voice in Exiter and voted Green at the last GE and will be voting to stay in the EU. Totally irrelevant but worth clarifying since ‘they’re all Tories anyway’ seems to be a way to try and dismiss us (a bit like the NUS does ironically). “The NUS is weak” hasn’t been posed as anyone’s sole reason to go, it’s the response to the myth it’s some kind of formidable, respected, influential organisation - which it isn’t. Two big examples: the NUS may have fought against tuition fees but ultimately failed to stop them rising in 1997, in 2003, in 2010 and in 2015. Second one is the result of a BBC Panorama investigation that found the NUS has had an impact in basically zero of those 48,000 deportation cases - almost all were grassroots movements. Over and over, the NUS claims responsibility for just about anything good when in reality it’s at best one of several supporters or a middle man. Our ‘need’ for the NUS just isn’t true. Example: some of the best recent LGBTQ+ achievements aren’t from NUS representation (often the NUS aren’t taken seriously by key areas of influence, in fact they’re ridiculed), they’re made by better organised, better represented, better funded, more focused charities and campaigns nationally and internationally, as well as by the Guild (and DVP for Liberation) and by LGBTQ+ societies across the country. Four members of our campaign team are LGBTQ+ themselves and entitled to a say on these issues.
Benedict Murrell
2:04pm on 6 May 16 spurious argument to leave: the NUS is weak (not able to stop tuition fees) so make it smaller, fragmented and even weaker! Look at the facts - what the president actually said - don't just take hearsay, interpretation and selective quotes. The presidents 'sin' was standing up to powerful lobby groups, and the pressure that pro-Israel lobby groups put on media world wide is very well known. Pointing this out is not anti-Semitic.
Rachel Houseago
12:09am on 6 May 16 It's really important to 'strongly disagree' with this motion and stay affiliated to the NUS. It's not just about the discount card: the NUS has a strong history of fighting for students, including against rises in tuition fees, against deportations of students to countries where their lives are often in danger, against the government's Prevent scheme which unjustly targets Muslim students, backing the Junior Doctors' struggle against the privatisation of the NHS, to name a few. The campaign to disaffiliate is being led by right-wingers who, rather than accepting the election of a left-wing NUS president, are attempting to delegitimise her platform through an under-handed slander campaign. Disaffiliation would significantly reduce the power your student union has to fight for its students, and it would be appeasing a campaign that, quite frankly, is an outrageous attack on our first female, Muslim, black president who has a history of solidarity with anti-colonial, anti-racist struggles, including actively supporting Holocaust Memorial Day, LGBTQ struggles, migration struggles and many more.
James Golten
8:53pm on 5 May 16 This point has been made below but remains unanswered. The NUS does fantastic work preventing deportation of students. What will happen to these students after we leave?
Malaka Shwaikh
8:45pm on 5 May 16 As an international postgraduate student, the NUS has tremendously helped me and other colleagues with training and welfare support. Leaving the NUS means losing this support not only for me but for all the minority students in Exeter which is catastrophic. It's healthy and even encouraged to have students and officers with different views; we have always had these differences. But let's stay in the NUS, debate and hold whoever is running it to account instead of leaving it and letting them do what they want. We are stronger together.
Sachal Khan
7:53pm on 5 May 16 Hi, I've been asked to clarify an earlier comment. The page which compared Malia Bouattia to Osama bin Laden is NUSceptics. The post was taken down after complaints of racism / Islamophobia.
Gary McLachlan
9:01am on 5 May 16 Can commenters here please narrow the conversation back to the NUS and the affiliation (or non-affiliation) of the Guild - this thread is not going to solve the problems of structural justice, and nor should it be used for that purpose.
Thibaut Le Forsonney
9:45pm on 4 May 16 Sachal - I must disagree. The motion was titled "Dear White Gay Men: Stop Appropriating Black Women." This is not the voice of a minority that is campaigning for their inclusion into society on equal terms, this is hate speech, founded on a lie and perpetuated by a majority of members of an institution that I do not want my university to be a part of. That is why I voted to leave. People do not need your reserved seats, they need to be seen as equal members of society. People also do not need to be put into cells called LGBTQ so they can fight over scraps. The point of these terms was to enable empathy for some of those that had been denied it, not for the NUS to decide who in the LGBTQ community was the most underrepresented of the year. I suppose gay men are living too good of a life, so no more NUS goodies for them, unless they earn it. Alan Turing was castrated for being gay, but I suppose if he was alive today he would have "appropriated black women," so perhaps we shouldn't view his death as a tragedy, at least if you believe the NUS' motion. You can't tell me that the NUS supports people who's voices have been "co-opted" when they force words into the mouths of every person that matches the description "gay white man," just to suit their interests.
Nathan Burnikell
7:58pm on 4 May 16 Thanks for sharing that, Malaka! In response to Sarah, you clearly don't quite understand what happened at the NEC in regards to gay mens reps. As Sachal has pointed out, there is no embargo on gay mens reps. They haven't been banned, and no position has really been dissolved. The NUS issued a recommendation that University LGBTQ+ societies no longer RESERVE A SPECIFIC ELECTED SEAT for gay men within their society committees. Yes, the wording was a bit haphazard and could have been better, and they did not say gay men aren't oppressed - just that they face the least oppression in relation to other LGBTQ+ identities (Exiter don't seem to understand what the LBTQ stands for, just the G). Societies are still free to elect these representatives, they are still heavily encouraged to fight for the rights of gay men as strongly as all other identities, just no seat is to be reserved for them. This isn't because the NUS don't think they're important, only that they have enough coverage from the media and are slowly being very well represented. If the Exiter campaign actually cared about LGBTQ+ individuals (and not just use them as a bargaining chip) they would look further at what the NUS actually does for them. It's literally a lifeline. The University does not have any wellbeing services specifically tailored to LGBTQ+ issues and from my experience as a bisexual man with mental health problems, there is very little they actually do to support us here (in fact, the support group that was run by the university actually ran itself into bankruptcy and their account still exists and is in debt to this day). Yes, there is our society, but it's a volunteer group of students. The majority of the training and support our society gets is from the NUS, most the grants we are allocated come from NUS money. Because of this, we are the cheapest society on campus and are able to make ourselves available to as many students as possible. We've recently created two welfare officer roles and a campaigns and causes position, because we can count on the support of the NUS. If we leave the NUS, this small beacon of in-house support at the University massively dwindles and may reduce to being nothing more than a social space as it once was. If your role is to support all students, Sarah, why aren't you listening to us? Of course I don't believe that all LGBTQ+ students want to leave the NUS, but I *know* that the majority need the NUS. I know that our society runs on contributions from the NUS. I know that, as an LGBTQ+ student, I can turn to the NUS because the University is literally failing me. Why aren't you listening, Sarah? I'm not saying you aren't allowed to have contradictory views, I'm asking that you stop co-opting LGBTQ+ narratives, and peoples real, lived experiences and using your role to pretend they are backed up. The NUS doesn't oppress LGBTQ+ students, the NUS doesn't tell people their identities aren't valid. It's a helping hand that the University does not give. With the antisemitism angle, obviously this is not my lived experience, so I won't co-opt Jewish narratives or speak for them. What I will do, is refer you to the post Malaka recently copied over. The NUS has in the last two months unanimously passed an emergency motion to battle antisemitism on all University campuses.
Sachal Khan
7:37pm on 4 May 16 Thibaut - these criticisms that come from the NUS come from the minorities who face these issues. It is usually black people, and black women in particular, who raise the issues of having their voices co-opted, because it is what they have experienced - in that sense the NUS isn't 'pushing a view' onto minorities as it is representatives of those minorities who raise the issues. I'd like to add that the NUS does not condemn, discriminate against, or 'hate' gay men - the issue of the gay men's representative was, as far as I know, that they believe that a reserved seat should be reserved for people who are underrepresented in the LGBTQ+ community (e.g transgender people). Gay men may still be elected, just not to the reserved seat.
Malaka Shwaikh
7:16pm on 4 May 16 This comment made by Nathan on another motion is very relevant, please read: This is such a ridiculous... motion. One, as people have already pointed out, the conflation of antizionist and antisemitic is being made. They are not the same thing, and it's a perfectly valid political opinion to be an anti-zionist. Not all anti-zionists are antisemites, not all antisemites are zionists. Multiple Jewish organisations have come out in favour of antizionism and support it. Secondly, if Malia wasn't a Muslim, this motion (and all of the "controversy" surrounding her election) would likely not exist. Two racist stereotypes are being propagated here: that Muslims and Jews are each others natural born enemies and that all Muslims have a duty to condemn ISIS and distance themselves from it. We don't ask every white politician to publicly condemn the KKK... or any other terrorist organisation run mostly by militant white Christians. This a ridiculous, racially fuelled motion that should not go through. Vote Strongly Disagree.
Thibaut Le Forsonney
4:25pm on 4 May 16 True, the majority of students do not hold strong views about the NUS and its role in their lives. As such it can seem best not to question whether it benefits our community. However, its just this passive attitude that permits rotting institutions like the NUS to continue providing mediocre services and racist narratives. As a European student who has not lived in an Anglophone country before coming to Exeter, I can understand if the terms "white" and "black" are more a part of your culture than mine, however, I find it ridiculous that the NUS is colouring people to suit their worldview. For instance, according to a recent motion, "white gay men may often assert that they are strong black women." Is the use of the word "may" supposed to make this less of a lie? This is the sort of argument Martin Ssempa used when accusing gay people of eating "poo poo." Such statements are not just homophobic, they are lies. I would think that the people the NUS calls "white" or "black" or "gay" would be more focused on living their lives and expressing their feelings rather than trying to fit the reactionary worldview of the NUS.
William King
2:51pm on 4 May 16 Leaving would be a total waste of time, money, and resources. Leaving the NUS simply does not stack up. Vote to stay.
Abdulla Moaswes
6:06pm on 3 May 16 A modest contribution here in favour of the STAY campaign: Can we please emphasise the role that the NUS plays with regards to deportations, which are literally an issue of LIFE AND DEATH for many international students. I'm not exaggerating here. I'm speaking from my experience and those of many other international students I know. The fact that the NUS has worked on fighting the deportation cases of 48,000 students and has even managed to overturn many of them is a massive reason to stay within the NUS. It is disheartening to see the debate framed in terms of the financial relationship between the Guild and the NUS and some of the other points mentioned here when the lives of many students who are often excluded from the discussion are at stake. I understand that the NUS is flawed, but it does offer services to certain marginalised students that no other organisation does. I don't want the Guild to leave the NUS because I don't want to see international students, a large proportion of who are at risk, be thrown under the bus because certain people have issues with certain policies. Being a home/EU student (which I suppose falls under the general description of an "ordinary student") is a privilege too, you know? The NUS is literally the only organisation that has a track record working on this issue with international students. Don't take that away from them.
Alexander Scott-Malden
4:09pm on 3 May 16 Last year I voted to stay in the NUS. I wasn't sure about the political posturing but dismissed it as less important than the money the guild receives and student discounts. Having looked at these issue more closely, it turns out you don't need to be a member of the NUS to gain the discount card and the amount the guild receives seems fairly trivial. This year I am voting to leave. The way the NUS takes political positions on issues they have no power to change is totally inappropriate for an organisation that is meant to be representing the issues of students. The new president has managed to alienate almost all the Jewish societies in the UK, and for what? Even if she is right about Israel or whatever she was arguing for, a large number of students have been made to feel unrepresented for no reason. Sometimes, consequences matter a lot more than intentions. Even when the NUS does try to be political on behalf of students it goes about it in the wrong way. Of course, they should oppose tuition fees, but during the last election they spent £40,000 of our money on attack ads against the Liberal Democrats! The lib dems lost a lot of seats in the last election, but it doesn't look like there have been any improvements in the tuition fees situation. We need a National Union for students, but one that actually stands up for student issues. There are a lot of them to be getting on with: mental health, tuition fees, REF, grades, access to university. The NUS wastes time, effort and money on furthering pointless political views in the name of representing students. This has to stop. I hope you will all join me in voting out.
Sachal Khan
12:39pm on 3 May 16 Connor Sealy - some thoughts on your comment. Who are the 'moderates' being no platformed? I believe there are 6 organisations on the no platform policy list, all of whom are extreme. The Guild does not have to abide by the no platform policy. None of the other names were no platformed. The issue of cis gay men representation is not that there can be no elected gay male reps - there still can be - but a speicifically reserved seat should be reserved for voices which are underrepresented, and gay men are not underrepresented in the LGBTQ+ community. Queer politics are very complex and blanket liberation policies are unhelpful - underrepresented queer voices have, for a long time, been pointing out that issues faced gay men often dominate queer discourse when that discourse encompasses the lives of so many more than just gay men. It's complicated and the NUS should have been more clear. That could possibly be an interpretation of the equal rights quote - that either some demographics are allowed to exercise their rights more freely than others, or that more ground needs to be covered to achieve equal rights with certain demographics than needs to be done with others (e.g the legal, social, cultural, mental health, and racial issues of transgender people vs the issues that gay men face; liberation work needs to recognise what and how much needs to be done in each area). I take issue with the idea that people want to be victims. As someone who has experienced racial and anti-queer hatred, nobody wants to be a victim, they want to better the lives of underrepresented voices. In addition democratic change is slow - you don't fix things in a year, or two years - but it is better than no change by disaffiliation. Those who vote to disaffiliate now will likely not face the consequences that future undergraduates and postgraduates will face when they have no national voice to lobby the government with - a process with which the NUS has a huge history of success. In the case of undemocratic numbers of votes, that can only be changed by increased participation. I estimate that at best this vote might receive upwards of 2,000 votes, which only around 10% of last year's student population - hardly a very representative number if you ask me. The issue with disaffiliated universities like Southampton is that Southampton receives over £1 million more than Exeter receives, and while Exeter may well be able to 'survive' disaffiliation it does not make sense to me to cut off vital resources, training and the potential for a national voice. Thing we consider essential to university life, like exemption from council tax, first-month deposits for student housing, etc were as far as I know successfully lobbied by the NUS, among many other steps forward. It'd be best not to forget how crucial the union is to your national representation, cutting it off is much more detrimental than working to improve it.
Thomas Collins
12:27pm on 3 May 16 You do not need to be part of the NUS to have access to the Green Unit, Southampton got it and are not affiliated to the NUS. Furthermore it is a non argument this time around because the funding expires at the end of this academic year and the University is actually making up the costs of it for next year so the Green Unit will be funded.
Connor Sealy
12:13pm on 3 May 16 It’s pretty insulting to look at everything the NUS is doing in their purported representation of students. We’ve arrived in a worrying place on campus; debates for the first time are actively being discouraged by our leading body of representation, and moderate, perfectly legal ideas are being ‘no-platformed’. Anything that might threaten the narrative the NUS is selling us is being pushed out of our intellectual spaces; we are being treated as if we cannot possibly take in multiple perspectives that might alter, or even 'threaten' our thoughts and ideas, and we are also being treated as if the NUS speaks for every one of us. But I simply cannot believe that this is what students want. I cannot believe that we want Nick Lowles, Peter Tatchell or Boris Johnson to be no-platformed, or even more controversial groups like the BNP. I cannot believe that we think the very moderately worded condemnation of IS the NUS proposed was “Islamophobic”. I cannot not believe that we view the police as “oppressive”. I cannot believe that we would even entertain the idea of Holocaust Memorial Day being removed for not being “inclusive” enough. I cannot believe we think the University of Birmingham is a Zionist outpost, or that we think in terms of Zionist conspiracies. I cannot believe that we want Yik-Yak and other social media sites to be “restricted” at certain times, or banned from some campus wifi networks altogether. I cannot believe that we think gay "cis" men do not deserve a position in the LGBTQ+ decision-making processes, since they "do not face oppression”, direct quote (note, that motion also claims that: “Misogyny, transphobia, racism and biphobia… are more likely to occur when the society is dominated by white cis gay men”. I cannot begin to say how bigoted this assumption is). So I wondered, since this isn't what the majority of the students I know of want, what is behind this madness? NUS VP Richard Brooks literally said recently that “some people have more equal rights than others” to free speech (seriously). This way of thinking, that so plagues the NUS, seems to be the culprit behind this ugly intellectual culture we’ve arrived at. Everyone is encouraged to be a victim, to be as oppressed as possible, and to assume to be nothing more than what our basic ‘identity' on paper would have you think (disability, sexuality, gender, ethnicity…). This seems to be good for business for the NUS, as it allows them to wage a war of identity politics, doing things that go far beyond their mandate as a national student’s union, whilst ignoring the real concerns of the vast majority of students. This is fine though, apparently, because as they say, some rights are more equal than yours! Disagree with their prevailing narrative, and your rights to free speech, your rights to hear the free speech of others on your campus, your rights to be heard, your rights to be represented in your own minority community, or your rights to even use certain social media websites... are suddenly 'less equal’ in their eyes. This IS NOT a union. The NUS has been hijacked by an inner circle of regressive nonentities, who abuse their mandate to simply wage their own political battles, scrambling over one another in their ignorant and carefully controlled echo-chamber to prove who can be more ‘progressive', and it seems the majority of students have had enough. Any attempt to change the NUS from the inside has failed (they rejected a ‘One Member One Vote’ policy at the latest conference). The fact is you simply cannot arrive at a position of influence within the NUS unless you have subscribed to their hideously regressive politics for at least several years first, and it could be an entire generation before that changes. Personally, I’d rather take back the power that we’ve unknowingly and unwillingly given to these people, and my bet is that we’ll end up just fine, as have Southampton, St Andrews, etc. Leaving the NUS isn't a radical leap into the dark; it's been done already. As for the case against leaving, the first three points all seem to be the same thing, with the inconsistent and rather fear-mongering message being “You will lose money”. UniDays suits me just fine, I personally never renewed my first NUS Extra card, but it's emerged that we would still get NUS Extra anyway. Regarding point 4; the idea that we have more of a voice inside the NUS, I find this to be completely untrue, since the NUS hasn’t stopped any rise in tuition fees or grant changes, has a president who 0.005% of students voted for, and rejected a ‘One Member One Vote’ policy. On the contrary to their claim, the NUS seem to do everything possible to protect their inner circle from being influenced by the majority of students. However, if three out of the five reasons they would have me stay in the NUS are baseless assumptions that I might spend slightly more money (assumptions which are not supported by the examples of other universities leaving the NUS, or by emerging evidence), my response would be that they simply do not understand the reasons why students such as myself are voting to leave. I hope this helped. (I'm not involved with either campaign, and I did my own research to come to my decision).
Alasdair Gibbs
11:56am on 3 May 16 The Green Unit is a one-off payment. We have absolutely no guarantee about when or if we'll get such payments in the future. What's more, I'm sure the stay campaign has avoided the Green Unit because it then calls in to question whether it's a good use of more than a quarter of a million pounds of student money at a time when, as Sachal points out, Wellbeing (and other services) are already suffering.
Liam Taylor
11:49am on 3 May 16 Guild finances are freely available to view online via the Charity Commission website - the latest is year ending July 2014. Run a search for 'NUS' within this document and you'll see that the Guild paid £47,757 in affiliation costs and £300 to 'NUS Services Ltd'. However, in the same year, the NUS gave the Guild £290,000 as a result of the application of a bid for the Green Unit. This wouldn't have been possible if we disaffiliated. This grant is equivalent to 6 years of affiliation fees and supports student led sustainable projects on campus. Source: http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Accounts/Ends68/0001136468_AC_20140731_E_C.pdf
Alasdair Gibbs
11:35am on 3 May 16 ANY financial benefit should be defended? So as long as we're getting some sort of profit we should let the NUS do as it likes? It's already been pointed out that the £8-29k is a very wobbly set of figures based an outdated study at a different union with the assumption we don't join a different trade consortium. Obviously that would lead to a loss. The figure given by the Guild Deputy Exec (estimated by the NUS so likely to be quite generous) was at very best £20k. So in the best case scenario, it pays for just one member of staff. Let's not pretend that's a groundbreaking amount of cash for a £5.2m organisation.
Sachal Khan
10:47am on 3 May 16 I don't know about the NUS Extra card issue admittedly, but you will lose money. It's quite funny, since the Leave campaign says the Guild should focus their spending on student services rather than the NUS, and when it is quoted to them that the Guild benefits between £8-29,000 they say 'well, the Guild says their services won't be radically affected'. Surely any benefit, especially in the thousands of pounds, should be defended, considering Wellbeing (and other services) are already suffering. Saying "we'll do without" doesn't make sense. You want the Guild to lose money as well as its only national voice? It is exactly at this time that we need a national voice.
Alasdair Gibbs
10:23am on 3 May 16 The stay campaign has outright lied by saying "You will lose money ... You won’t be able to buy an NUS Extra Card any longer." I asked the NUS by email and was told "A students union does not need to be affiliated in order to register for card sales with NUS extra" by an NUS extra Support Advisor.
Gary McLachlan
8:36am on 3 May 16 Guild staff have seen evidence that on one of the NUS campaign groups on Facebook an article or image in the form of a Buzzfeed "Who Said it" was shared. We do not intend any action for that article, but stating that it existed is not defamatory under the circumstances.
Sarah Schneider
6:05pm on 2 May 16 "Sarah, I find it ironic that you're a Liberation Councillor, a role that requires you "to listen to marginalised students, and help them articulate their lived experience" and "To campaign on behalf of marginalised students so that all Guild work represents them as fairly as it does an "ordinary" student", yet you're standing for a campaign that says 'gay people are oppressed by the NUS', yet arguing against LGBTQ+ people, including gay people, right here and on other forums who are saying that it does the very opposite. The NUS is one of the only welfare support systems that many LGBTIA* students have available to them. It regularly fights the oppression of BAME students and has overturned deportation of students on multiple occasions. I find it hard to see how these two roles can line up?" Hey Nathan, so my role is to support marginalized students - funny enough that includes ALL members of the LGBTQ+ community (not just those the NUS decides are "oppressed enough") as well as Jewish students (regardless of your opinions on the allegations against Malia, Jewish societies are considered marginalized as well). Right, you're next point - my arguing with gay individuals? Are you saying that because I'm liberation councillor I'm not allowed to have contradictory opinions on this issue to my fellow liberation councillor Sachal? Or are you referring to others? What about those from the LGBTQ+ community that do support leaving? Are you implying that every single individual from that community unanimously supports staying, because I'm not entirely sure thats the case. My role, as you've said, is to campaign on behalf of marginalized students so that all Guild work represents them fairly, as it does "ordinary students" - in that respect, I think that gives me the ability to promote that marginalized students are informed about the arguments for leaving the NUS, and why I feel that both they and "ordinary students" aren't being properly represented in the NUS either. I hope that clears up your concerns, but if not, feel free to get in touch. Thanks!
Vanessa Ng
5:55pm on 2 May 16 Dear Sachal Khan, could you kindly please link me to the article or any evidence of the article that the Leave Campaign posted comparing Malia to Osama Bin Laden. You can easily find me on FB and you can tag me or message me the link to the article. Thank you so much as this would be useful in helping me and the others make our decision about the NUS Referendum.
Elliott Malik
5:48pm on 2 May 16 The NUS is weak, it has constantly battled the government and failed. The best it can do is waste money by putting posters up to complain about the Lib Dems.
Nathan Burnikell
5:46pm on 2 May 16 Sarah, I find it ironic that you're a Liberation Councillor, a role that requires you "to listen to marginalised students, and help them articulate their lived experience" and "To campaign on behalf of marginalised students so that all Guild work represents them as fairly as it does an "ordinary" student", yet you're standing for a campaign that says 'gay people are oppressed by the NUS', yet arguing against LGBTQ+ people, including gay people, right here and on other forums who are saying that it does the very opposite. The NUS is one of the only welfare support systems that many LGBTIA* students have available to them. It regularly fights the oppression of BAME students and has overturned deportation of students on multiple occasions. I find it hard to see how these two roles can line up?
Elliott Malik
5:46pm on 2 May 16 Oh come on, the wording wasn't islamophobic at all. It was a perfectly acceptable motion which should have been supported and passed by the NUS.
Alexander Gewanter
5:45pm on 2 May 16 There was nothing islamophobic about the motion. I will attach the motion and Malia's response to stop the blatant lies from the Stay campaign. ___________ Wording of the motion: “to condemn the IS and support Kurdish forces fighting against it, while expressing no confidence or trust in the US military intervention.” ___________ Malia's response “We recognise that condemnation of Isis appears to have become a justification for war and blatant islamophobia. This rhetoric exacerbates the issue at hand and in essence is a further attack on those we aim to defend.”
Sachal Khan
5:30pm on 2 May 16 Identity politics has every place in this discussion, when the NUS is the only nationally organised student body which actively breaks new ground for marginalised students. The Leave campaign seems to ignore the NUS' history of doing so. By leaving the Guild will lose any influence it has in national student politics, I don't see how that helps anybody 'stand together'. On the subject of the NUS President, the islamophobia accusations come from the very real fact that Leave campaigners constantly misinform people on the subject. For example: Malia refusing to condemn ISIS. She was for the motion and only wanted its wording to be amended because the -wording- was Islamophobic. She then supported the amended motion. Leave campaign pages also shared a horrible article comparing her to Osama bin Laden. I don't think misinformation and deceptive tactics suit a campaign based on 'what's best' for students.
Sarah Schneider
5:10pm on 2 May 16 "Whilst we recognize that NUS is not perfect and does things we disagree with at times, we firmly believe in the power of students standing together to get a better deal for our generation – financially, politically, and organizationally." - STAY campaign .... I too agree that we should stand together to get a better deal for our generation, hence why I support the decision to leave a union that undermines the views of students and pretends to be a voice for us when it caters to very few with contradictory agendas to what the majority of students would actually vote for if they had the chance. On a separate note, I think the Stay campaign should stop labelling the Leave campaigners as Islamophobic for criticizing the President elect on her policies - we would do so on the basis of the policies and her voting record themselves, regardless of her ethnicity, gender, or religion. Identity politics has no place in this discussion.
Dominic Self
4:54pm on 2 May 16 Would it be possible to get this page reformatted so the "Case Agreeing" and "Case Disagreeing" parts are side-by-side, rather than on top of each other? Currently when you log in you just see the poll and the reasons to leave, and it's not obvious that there are arguments presented to stay unless you scroll down.
Sachal Khan
4:44pm on 2 May 16 If you actually want to engage with these politics and clear up misconceptions, you're welcome to find me on Facebook and talk to me there. It's not good to derail this ideas page.
William Burrell
4:44pm on 2 May 16 There's no such thing as positive discrimination. Discrimination is discrimination, it's all bad.
Sachal Khan
4:37pm on 2 May 16 Hahaha, no. I'm saying if you'd look into actual discourse on politics and privilege you'd see that there is no 'racism against white people' going on either in the Guild or in national intersectional politics. But instead you'd rather come here and fearmonger on this campaign page without actually engaging with the discourse.
Alexander Gewanter
4:18pm on 2 May 16 So the Guild itself is inherently racist against Caucasian members through endorsement of white privilege so it's okay for you to be. is what you're saying?
Sachal Khan
4:13pm on 2 May 16 Alex, as elected DVP Liberation, I am bound to follow these politics. The resources I am given to perform my duty are resources which recognise privilege and oppression as legitimate, and so does Guild policy. This is exactly the position I am capable of taking. Guild policy recognises intersectionality (we even have a DVP position dedicated to it!), so please look into intersectional definitions of racism and you'll find I'm condoning nothing of the sort. What people are forgetting is that the NUS is the Guild's only national voice, and has secured SO many victories for students: deposits for housing, funds for sustainability projects, increased disabled students allowance, and the protection of 48 THOUSAND students who were illegally deported. You may think the NUS doesn't represent you currently, but make it better, don't cut off the only thing giving you a national voice. If this motion passes it will do more harm to student democracy than the NUS has ever allegedly done.
Alexander Gewanter
3pm on 2 May 16 Sachal your comment is disgraceful as you are condoning racism against the 'privileged'. That view has no place from an elected member of the Guild.
Giles Gabbutt
1:44pm on 2 May 16 Accusing the #Exiter camp (and the individuals that comprise it) of racism/witch hunting and Islamophobia is just childish rhetoric and mere show to avoid the real issue of what the NUS referendum is about; Does the NUS accurately represent the Exeter student body coherently and effectively? The answer is a resounding no, whilst acting in the interests of students on tuition fees and grants, the NUS has often been disconnected from the mainstream views of students. It also has very limited democratic accountability,especially since the One Member One Vote - OMOV resolution was rejected, quite recently too. The idea that the NUS is disconnected has been only enhanced further by Bouattia's election, not because of it. The NUS' stance in regards to free speech, with their no-platform policy only furthers the idea that the NUS is a left wing dominated & politicised body, not an impartial democratic representative body of UK students. I urge you all to STRONGLY AGREE and vote to leave the NUS, the Guild can be an independent, directly democratic body - accountable only to the students of which it is elected by, here in Exeter. Make the NUS bleed green at this ability to project a voice of no confidence in the leadership of the NUS.
Sachal Khan
1:39pm on 2 May 16 Alex, I suggest you actually look into the politics of privilege and structural power. The NUS can be tactless (in that they don't explain themselves fully) but it is not any of those things. Who exactly is it causing pain? You? For recognising that systemic forms of discrimination have differing effects on different demographics?
Alexander Gewanter
8:01am on 2 May 16 Sachal you are avoiding the point, the NUS is systematically racist, homophobic and sexist. Sometimes all three at once for example when they passed a policy to "stop gay men appropriating black female culture" because they had 'male privilege' 'white privilege' and 'cis privilege'. The NUS is a cancer that causes misery and pain through it's systemic glorification of identity politics. I will be voting to leave; a vote to remain is a tacit endorsement of racism, sexism and homophobia.
Bhagya Silva
1:25am on 2 May 16 I'm really disappointed that Project Fea... sorry, the Stay campaign is trying to grossly mislead students by implying that we wouldn't get a number of discounts without an NUS Extra card. Why would I pay £35 for three years of an NUS Extra card when I can get the same discounts (e.g. Spotify) for FREE off Unidays or elsewhere? Also, if the NUS Extra cards provided such unique, amazing discounts then surely more than 6% of students nationwide would own one!
Alasdair Gibbs
12:45am on 2 May 16 It's the leave campaign that's full of inaccuracies and rhetoric? [1] Spotify, Urban Outfitters, Topshop and the 16-25 railcard were all listed as NUS Extra exclusive discounts on the stay campaign Facebook page. None are exclusive to NUS Extra, all four are available for free through UNiDAYS. Spotify also falsely listed above. Less than 15% of Exeter students use an NUS Extra card (£32.00 for 3 years), millions use UNiDAYS (for free for as long as you're a student). [2] The loss following disaffiliation is listed here as up to £20,000. On Facebook it's up to £29,000 (based on a series of inaccurate calculations based on an outdated study). It's not surprising students are confused. The Guild figures we were provided with suggest that the Facebook figures have been inflated. In real terms £20,000 pays for a single member of Guild staff. Guild executives told us that their services would not be affected by disaffiliation. Exiter highlighted rising affiliation costs before official figures were obtained from the Guild, at no point did Exiter deny a small financial advantage by being affiliated? [3] The motion passed seeks to "open a dialogue" to impose "restrictions" (quote from the original motion) on anonymous social media including Yik Yak (a platform that only exists as an anonymous forum - so not sure what form these "restrictions" are supposed to take), Facebook and Twitter for making student elections "unsafe". That's how it was reported. That's not a simplification, that was the motion. The NUS VP for Welfare told delegates that other SUs already use 'monitors' (staff who down-vote and remove yaks they disagree with) and have blocked Yik Yak from campus wi-fi as if that's something to be proud of. [4] Again, "the Malia Bouattia issue" wasn't simplified. Quotes with citations were provided, and news articles from reputable sources were provided. A few of the reasons she's considered a controversial leader: 57 leaders from Jewish student societies across the country questioned Malia's past rhetoric which was widely considered anti-Semitic in an open letter which I urge you to read. Malia previously blocked a motion to condemn ISIS. She said in The Guardian last week it was because "it appeared to condemn all Muslims". Again, Exiter provided the full NEC motion that she blocked. If you can find anything in that motion which appears to condemn all Muslims, I'm all ears. Malia has also spoken twice alongside the leader of UK CAGE. She was also congratulated by CAGE on Twitter following her election. Calling out these facts leads people, myself included, to be called racist, sexist and Islamophobic. [5] "It's really telling that instead of pointing out what is an actual problem (the unrepresentative number of votes)" - again, please look at Exiter's Facebook page where you'll find an infographic (with four citations) highlighting exactly this issue. In several cases, unions saw a turnout of less than 1% for NUS delegate elections. The NUS is a "loud" student voice, yes, but hardly representative or democratic. There's also plenty to be said for the fact it's not even effective. The NUS are almost entirely disregarded by key areas of influence, dismissed as over-militant and uncooperative. [6] Not a single person has claimed ownership of Exiter or stood as a sole spokesperson for Exiter, so I'm not sure how "#Exiter is literally an ego trip."
Sachal Khan
7:40pm on 1 May 16 I think it's so telling that the case for leaving the NUS is full of inaccuracy and rhetoric. For example, the real reason for removing a specific seat reserved for gay men was that a reserved seat should be reserved for people who are underrepresented in the LGBTQ+ community. Gay men are not underrepresented in that demographic. Simplifying the social media restrictions decision (which was just to communicate with Facebook to try to combat trolls) and simplifying the Malia Bouattia (who responded to most of those concerns) issue doesn't really help either. It's really telling that instead of pointing out what is an actual problem (the unrepresentative number of votes), the case for focuses on sensationalist rhetoric around things she has said. Like, the NUS has been representing students for so many years. It's such a useful tool for representation, training, money, and resources, and disaffiliation shouldn't be the reaction, trying to improve it should be. #Exiter is literally an ego trip.


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