National 'Boycott NUS' campaigns being held at freshers' week events
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What are some of the NUS' controversies?At the NUS’s LGBT+ conference in 2016 the NUS controversially called on LGBT+ societies to drop the gay men’s representative position. Essentially claiming the role was no longer needed because white, gay men don’t face discrimination. “Misogyny, transphobia, racism and biphobia are often present in LGBT+ societies. This is unfortunately more likely to occur when the society is dominated by white cis gay men,” the NUS motion said. Another issue, cited repeatedly by dissatisfied students, is the NUS’s treatment of the Jewish community. In April 2016, some delegates at the annual NUS conference argued against a motion which was calling for the NUS to organise events and commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day. Later that same year, in a separate incident, The Tab exposed Edinburgh NUS delegate Daniel Yahia for calling a Jewish footballer a "subhuman rat". More recently, the NUS were called out in January of this year after they sent a survey asking for people’s religion but failed to list Judaism as an option.
What actually is the NUS?
The National Union of Students was established in 1922 and is a confederation of students unions in the UK.On their website they describe themselves as “a voluntary membership organisation which makes a real difference to the lives of students and its member students' unions”. And says: “We will fight barriers to education, empower students to shape both a quality learning experience and the world around them, supporting influential, democratic and well-resourced students' unions.” While some students are dissatisfied with the NUS, it also has many supporters. In an article for Cherwell, supporting the pros of NUS affiliation, Oxford Student Union President Tom Rutland said NUS lobbying had helped save students money and improve their experiences. “If we didn’t work together, we’d be far worse off than we are right now,” he wrote.
Students who support Boycott NUS
“I support Boycott NUS as for too long the NUS has forgotten about the everyday Student experience too focussed on the wider picture and not what matters to students on the ground. They are out of touch,” Mark Francos, former NUS Conference Delegate and Ulster University student says. Elena Bunbury agrees. “The NUS has become an echo chamber of dangerous extremist views. It fails to target campaigns it can actually have influence on, instead it chases bold political headlines,” she explains.
Boycott NUS campaigns will be taking place over the next few weeks at York, Kent, Falmouth, Bournemouth and Portsmouth universities.