With the NUS Referendum vote now open (until Friday 27th May at 4pm), it is paramount that you have YOUR say. “Why?” You might ask…
The NUS Referendum campaigns have been seeking your attention all week long, and it’s important that you take the information that you see relevant to yourself as a student, as part of a wider student body, and depending on what you think you gain/ do not gain from LSU being a member. We’ve seen various discussions over the costings of the NUS, whether you believe that we will save money be remaining or leaving is your call- but the LSU official financial statement does suggest that the union gains from being a member of the NUS, despite having to fork out several tens of thousands of pounds initially to be a part of the national body.
Yik Yak isn’t everything, but a recent Label article does show that the NUS do not actually want to “ban” the social media outlet. Other claims made by campaign groups have shown that we “need” to be in the NUS for the representation of various groups of students, coming from Remain; whilst Leave suggest that we have managed to run successful campaigns without the support of the NUS (with Play with Pride being an example of this). The Remain group are consistent in showing that the NUS have helped with the representation of students in terms tuition fees (successfully or otherwise) and council tax, whilst the Leave campaign are strongly focussed on the price of your alcoholic beverages and in part have considered the supposed “anti-Semitism” of Malia Bouattia.
It has become clear since this year’s National Conference that not everyone is in favour of the newly elected NUS President, especially since the allegations of anti-semitism against her. Whilst this has caused controversy, there is the option to stay within the NUS and therefore seek to change the body from within– whether this relates to Presidential allegations or not. Whilst this is only a small part of the bigger picture, it is still a factor for many students, and something that the Leave campaign have considered.
The LSU has not run the referendum on this basis. When it was decided that a referendum would be held several weeks ago in Student Forum, the group decided that the NUS has been a huge talking point of late, and needed to be opened up to the wider Loughborough population based on the representation of students on a national level, as well as financial concerns being raised. Whilst the anti-Semitism allegations have seemingly been the catalyst for many students’ unions to host their respective referendums in the first instance, this is definitely not the sole reason for Loughborough Students’ Union to be voting on its membership of the NUS.
I ask you to consider everything that you believe is relevant to you in this referendum, whether this includes the NUS Committee or not, and in doing so ensure you make an informed decision.
With 1000 votes cast, there’s still a long way to go in voting figures for the referendum to be solely decided upon by students. If we do not reach 4000 student votes, and judging by the recent referendums held in Lincoln and Hull to name a couple, there are low voting turnouts in NUS Referendums.
Why should it matter if you’re graduating? Well, the reputation of the students’ union that you have probably been involved with in some way or another over your time here could well impact you in the next couple of years. Should the LSU strive without the NUS, you may have done the right thing by voting Leave, or should it become even stronger and become a driving force behind the NUS, you may appreciate that you voted to Remain. Whilst we can’t predict what will happen outside of the NUS, you can still weigh up your options, whether you’re a student here for much longer or not- and it’s only fair to vote having had a lot of experience as a student, as opposed to leaving it solely to the students in a year or two below you who may not be as well informed…
Do you really want your future NUS membership to be voted on by the Board of Trustees? (Find out more in a Label article about quorum and what Max Crawford, VP: Union Affairs had to say here). This group of people consists partly of students and partly of elected members (elected by the LSU Executive) in order to: “consult and take full account of matters referred from the Student Forum as a student representative body whenever appropriate“. Whilst this is a way of deciding on behalf of the student population, a low voting turnout may not be truly representative of everyone’s views- and only you can change that. Whether you vote to remain, leave or even abstain, make an informed decision this referendum. You have less than 24 hours to do so.
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.