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EXCLUSIVE: NUS is proposing cuts to full-time officer roles in a bid to save money

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NUS has proposed funding cuts to its Trans Campaign, the only national body representing trans students in the UK.

The proposal was revealed on 21 Jan in a statement by NUS LGBT+ and confirmed in a letter to all NUS members the following day.

The letter was signed by NUS President Shakira Martin and Acting CEO Peter Robertson. 

The proposed cuts are not yet final and must be approved at the NUS National Conference in April.

Funding for the campaign, including for the full-time NUS Trans Officer, will be paused for 2019/20 as a result of the proposed cuts. According to the letter, the NUS Trans Officer's remit will be transferred to the remaining NUS LGBT+ Officer.

The proposed cuts also mean funding for seven other full-time positions will be paused for 2019/20.

This will affect the positions of LGBT+ Officer (Women's Place) and the International Officer, as well as the VP Societies & Citizenship and all full-time officers from NUS Wales and Scotland besides their Presidents.

The letter notes the proposed cuts are "an interim measure and specific to our transitional year of 2019/20."

In its statement, the NUS LGBT+ Campaign allege that the process was conducted in secret, without consulting with any trans students.

They expressed concerns that the decision was "a political rather than a financial choice". 

Speaking to The National Student, NUS LGBT+ Officer (Women's Place) Eden Ladley said:

"Last Thursday, Rob Noon and I (the elected LGBT+ officers in NUS) were informed that the NUS UK Trustee Board voted to defund the NUS Trans Campaign, alongside a range of other cost-saving measures. We are heartbroken and angry at this decision and at the way in which it was taken.

"No trans students were consulted in this decision, which shows utter contempt for the trans student community.

"This decision has already been heralded by anti-trans activists as a victory for their cause. The work that they want to do on encouraging legal discrimination against trans women, defunding trans healthcare and instituting a new Section 28 will have less opposition from the country’s largest union.

"NUS leadership are complicit in this, and we urge trans students and allies to get in touch with NUS and their students’ unions to say how this decision will negatively impact the trans community."

Five NUS Full-time Liberation Officers, including Eden and Rob, signed the statement.

Students and activists reacted angrily to the announcement on Twitter, condemning the move to defund the campaign and the lack of consultation.

The NUS has been contacted for comment.

Image credit: Willowbarbican [CC BY-SA 4.0]




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