Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 13 December 2007

National Union of Students: Right wing force through undemocratic changes

THE NATIONAL Union of Students (NUS) held an extraordinary conference in Leicester on 4 December. The New Labour-dominated right-wing NUS leadership called the conference to push through a 'governance review' and new constitution which will effectively remove any potential for the NUS to represent and fight for ordinary students.

Edd Mustill and Matt Dobson

The structural changes to the NUS will make it impossible for students to have any say in its running. University student unions will be able to opt out of mandatory cross-campus elections for delegates to NUS conference.

The current NUS national executive will be replaced with a senate and board, which will have a large number of officials and external 'experts', together with some genuinely democratically elected student representatives.

This board will supposedly play a 'non-political' role but in reality it will be able to veto any campaigns or actions proposed by elected student representatives.

The senate will include all the elected student representatives, which includes both those elected by NUS annual conference and those elected by smaller conferences with less of a democratic mandate.

Having been passed at this undemocratic conference, the new constitution will be presented as a fait accompli to April's NUS conference. The vast majority of students had no say in this governance review.

Most delegates to the extraordinary conference were full-time NUS officials or were hand-picked to represent their student union as there was no obligation for student unions to hold elections.

Supposed 'consultation' over the governance review happened over the summer holidays, and the right-wing bureaucracy has quietly forced through motions in support of the governance review and the undemocratic conference in local student unions without any attempt to inform students on campuses.

At meetings of over 500 in both Manchester and Sussex, the governance review was rejected when students had their say.

Socialist Students mobilised for elections for delegates and 18 Socialist Students members were elected delegates from campuses across the country.

We proposed student union motions against the governance review explaining that NUS can only be defended by involving ordinary students in campaigning against the endless attacks on students and the need for a national student organisation to lead this campaign.

The right wing's undemocratic methods continued at the conference. Many delegates were told they were "mandated" to vote for the review whatever they thought of it themselves. Opportunities to actually debate the review were limited with time-wasting tactics by the bureaucracy.

However opposition to the review was stronger than they thought, about 160-180 delegates voted against it, just short of the one-third needed to stop it going through. The bureaucracy was so worried they 'guillotined' the debate to one speech for and one against and then refused to count the vote.

The fight is not over; Socialist Students will be mobilising opposition to the governance review for the final decision at the NUS conference in April. The best way to do this is to organise immediate action against fees, cuts and privatisation in the new term. On this basis we should stand for election as delegates to the conference and put forward motions to our unions.

The Campaign to Defeat Fees is organising a national day of action on 21 February 2008. We want to unite to build action against fees and show a glimpse of what a nationally organised fight-back by the NUS could be capable of, with protests in universities, colleges and schools across the country.

If you want to join this day of action by mobilising students, getting your student union to back the day of action and getting involved in the Campaign to Defeat Fees contact us on or 020 8558 7974.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 13 December 2007:


Defend Tommy Sheridan: End Murdoch's witch-hunt

Tommy Sheridan: End Murdoch's vendetta

Tommy Sheridan perjury charge

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Warning: NHS cuts seriously damage your health

Manchester: Karen Reissmann sacked - and cuts still loom

Post Office dispute

Fight to save post offices

What we think

Interest rate cut will bring no reprieve

Charity begins at the bank

Every fiddle helps

Government's lying statistics

Global Warming

Thousands march against climate change

Socialist Party news and analysis

Sefton's first citizen "cheating the system"

Unite Cardiff schools campaigns

Your new police terror chief

Socialist Students

National Union of Students: Right wing force through undemocratic changes

Leicester students debate tuition fees

International socialist news and analysis

Beijing Olympics under a cloud

China: Mass protests erupt in Shenyang

Extraordinary tape destruction at CIA torture camp

Workplace news and analysis

DWP strike: Fighting the pay cuts

Birmingham city council: Workers boo 'lead balloon' councillors

Action can beat Cadbury closure threat

Newham council sack Unison chair


Home   |   The Socialist 13 December 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleSocialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleStriking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

triangleSchools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

triangleCardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg

triangleLeeds Socialist Students marks 'International Safe Abortion Day'


triangleFight for free education

triangleNUS leadership: Blairites supported by establishment

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



Balloting members on the pay cap



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice