The NUS Conference would rarely see such a huge emphasis on student media. This year, Bath’s Tommy Parker has brought a motion to the fore, (Motion 314) which seeks to allow student media to be allowed to more freely cover and comment on candidates running in SU elections.
Last night, it seemed as though there would be little time to consider and debate Motion 314 (see below), but the motion was guillotined. It will be debated at approximately 9:15 this morning, and student media is calling upon NUS Delegates to back the motion.
Many people have taken to twitter in support of the motion, hoping to gain the support of delegates present at the conference.
— Conor Matchett (@conorm11) April 19, 2016
— Fraser Whieldon (@FraserWhieldon) April 19, 2016
At around 9:35 on 20th April, the motion was brought to conference and “clearly passed” by delegates.
— Dan Leedham (@danleedham) April 20, 2016
Motion 314 | Media and SU Officer Elections
Submitted by: University of Bath Students’ Union
Speech for: University of Bath Students’ Union
Speech Against: Free
Summation: University of Bath Students’ Union
1. That most Students’ Unions have service level agreements (SLA’s) with their media groups that contain clauses on covering SU Officer Elections.
2. Most coverage involves either interviewing the candidates or stating the candidates manifesto points.
3. The NUS Student Media Guide stated “’Anyone can pick up a national newspaper and read about what the government is doing, but student media outlets are uniquely placed to cover what is going on locally in their institution, students’ union and local community. Student journalists should take advantage of this on topics where you can be an expert, get access to information, comments and interviews, and where you can easily speak with those affected – the students on your campus.’
Conference further believes
1. It is important that students are well informed on the candidates standing in SU Officer Elections, and media groups currently cannot give an accurate reflection on the viability of candidates manifesto policies and promises.
2. For the University of Bath, accountability of incumbent officers standing in media coverage is suspended until the end of the election period. Such practices harm both media groups in providing true and accurate coverage, and their ability to hold the SU to account, but also harm the electorate as they are less well informed when going to vote.
3. Democracy is at the heart of Students’ Unions, and that democracy should be transparent and Media coverage helps to do that.
4. Currently, Students unions place too many restrictions on media groups during this period. This results in Media groups not wanting to do any coverage for fear of breaking these many rules, and ensures elections are primarily a popularity contest.
5. NUS, who serves as Returning Officer for many SU Elections, are perfectly placed to give better guidance to Media Groups, and allow more opinionated coverage.
1. For the VP Union Development to investigate how media groups can run better content for
Students’ Unions Officer Elections.
2. For the VP Union Development to produce guidance for Students’ Unions Media Groups in runningpieces that truly reflect candidates’ policy proposals and incumbent officer progress.
3. For the VP Union Development to work with external organisations, such as the National Student Television Association (NaSTA), Student Publication Association (SPA) and Student Radio Association (SRA) to help find effective avenues in supporting media groups in providing coverage during officer elections.