With Loughborough’s NUS Referendum coming up, in a long line of other referendums to “leave” the NUS, what can we expect from our students’ union, executive and students?
LSU Media will be taking a neutral stance on the referendum overall. You can expect to see opinions and ideas showcasing both sides of the debate, seeking to comment and consider the pros and cons of “remaining” or “leaving”. Label will welcome guest articles from anyone wishing to share their ideas on the campaigns, whilst looking to represent both sides equally.
Whilst the majority of the LSU Executive Committee are likely to have opinions on the matter, they will only be allowed to showcase these personally, and not to promote these ideas on their public platforms. This means that their ideas and campaigns will not be shared on their “VP” Facebook and Twitter pages.
Our very own VP: Media, Bryn Wilkes has aligned himself with the “remain” campaign; he gave the following statement:
I’ve come to the decision that I can’t sit back and remain neutral on this very important issue that not only affects Loughborough but students across the UK. I’m also aware that people could see my position creating a conflict of interest, so with this in mind, I’ve voluntarily relinquished editorial control of all content relating to the NUS referendum to maintain LSU Media’s impartiality and integrity.
As a union affiliated section and media body, no official stance can be taken by LSU Media and we will remain impartial throughout the period.
Students sitting on the Union Affairs Committee will not be able to take an official viewpoint during the referendum, much like during the Exec Elections. The group will be working to ensure that the referendum campaigning adheres to the set rules.
Students are able to get involved and campaign on either side of the referendum. A meeting was held for students who wish to lead campaigns on Friday. To express any further interest, email VPUAffairs@lsu.co.uk. Students will be at the head of each campaign group and will be allowed an allocated amount of money to spend on their campaigns.
What has happened with other students’ union’s referendums?
Lincoln were the first to disaffiliate themselves with the NUS, the “leave” campaign winning by a very small margin. Exeter have had a few visitors of late, as their referendum has seen “remain” campaigners from the NUS- with further funds, leaflets and text messages encouraging students to engage with the national body and vote to stay. Whether this has impacted on their choice to remain affiliated is up for speculation.
— Hanson Jones (@ahansonjones) May 11, 2016
As the NUS have recently been seen campaigning for students to “remain” in the NUS in Exeter, this could happen elsewhere too. Should this happen in Loughborough, the “leave” campaign may need to be escalated in order to present both sides equally to voting students. Rules on campaigning in Loughborough including campaigning areas on campus, expenditures and more will be clearly set out prior to the campaign period.
Hull Students’ Media have been able to take their own stance- using their platform to showcase their opinions on why their SU should disaffiliate with the NUS. Whilst this is not an option for many union affiliated media outlets, Hull should be commended on openly taking this stance:
Media supporting the @HullNoNUS campaign. Follow Lincoln and Newcastle and don't be afraid of the Yes scare tactics.
— Hullfire TV (@HullfireTV) May 12, 2016
Whilst you shouldn’t expect this from Loughborough in the next couple of weeks, do be on the look out for content which will be informative, opinionated and accessible, helping you to decide which side you sit on. It’s not quite #Brexit, but you sure need to read up if you’d like to be well informed on the referendum and in providing what you deem to be the best future for your students’ union.