Jack Berisford: Calls for Change From Within the NUS


Find all NUS Referendum coverage here.

With voting under way, both the Leave and Remain campaigns are pushing for your votes. One argument used by both sides is the idea that the NUS needs reforming and change is needed within the organisation. The Leave campaign has said on multiple occasions that the NUS no longer represents students and that while change is needed, the Leave campaign believe this won’t happen. On the other side of the referendum the Remain camp have admitted that the NUS isn’t prefect and aren’t claiming this to be the case. But they believe that reform and change can be achieved from within the NUS. Believing the best way to make a change is change the NUS from within.

Many have been saying that with some unions having already voted to disaffiliate- including Hull, Newcastle and Lincoln and many other unions along with LSU having referendums, then why isn’t the NUS beginning its reforms now? Well the fact is that there is already a growing momentum and strive for change coming from within the NUS.
Richard Brooks, NUS Vice President, on NUS Connect following the NUS Conference, wrote about the growing disaffection with the NUS, addressing the growing calls for disaffiliation.

In this article Richard understands and admits that the NUS is not perfect but is clearly passionate and believes that the NUS has a “significant positive impact on students’ lives”. Recently the NUS has joined the fight for Trans Students’ rights, introducing a full-time Trans Officer and a Trans liberation campaign within the NUS. Along with this the NUS runs many other campaigns, including ‘Out in Sport’, lobbying the government over NHS Bursaries and the ‘Cut The Cost’ campaign.

Richard addresses the growing number of Students’ Unions thinking of disaffiliating, he states that unions are stronger together and that the only reason the NUS gets to be in national parliaments or government offices is that it is the National Union of Students, representing 7 million people through it’s 600 members. Richard believes that once that goes, there is no getting that back.

Yes, the NUS did fail to stop the rise in Tuition Fees and the scrapping of Maintenance Grants, but they did represent you. If the NUS was not as large as it is, weaker through unions leaving, then who would have represented you? Yes, unions can pressure their local MPs, students can write to MPs and sign petitions, but the NUS at the end of the day are the ones sitting in the room, representing you.

Richard concludes his article saying, “listen, I understand the concerns you have – I share many of them. But NUS is something special and worth fighting for”. The belief held by some in the NUS is that change can be achieved, but whilst this happens it is important to stand together, united and strong against many of the threats faced by students’ unions at the moment. From LSUs point of view, we will have to see whether the NUS does reform- whether we are part of that or not is up to Loughborough students.

Have your say here now until 4pm Friday.

-A comment piece from Jack Berisford

Whilst Label provide unbiased coverage overall, comments and opinions may be shared by individual writers and do not express the views of Label, LSU Media or Loughborough Students’ Union. They are for the benefit of encouraging debate, engagement and further comment amongst the student body. Any queries should be sent to LabelEditor@lsu.co.uk, where you can also express your interest to become a volunteer at any time. 


About Author

Jack is a member of LSU Media's Senate as Chair of Hall Media, marking and helping develop the skills of the hall media reps. As well as this, Jack works with LSUTV primarily producing and editing Freshers "60 Second News" and also writing News and Critical pieces for Label. Jack was previously a media rep for Robert Bakewell, seeing his hall win Hall Media in 2015. He also represents media on the Hall Students Federation (HSF).

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