119 Views

NUS supports ‘No’ vote in free education referendum

Students of Bangor University have been shocked to find the leadership of the NUS campaigning for a “no” vote in their upcoming referendum on whether to support the abolition of tuition fees.

Bangor Socialist Students had successfully obtained more than 250 signatures in a petition calling for a referendum on whether to join the Campaign to Defeat Fees (CDF) in its attack on top-up fees.

“Spending time and money on campaigning against free education in our own Unions is simply unacceptable”

However, in the run-up to the referendum the Presidents of both the NUS and NUS Wales have come out against Bangor Students’ Union adopting the CDF’s demands.

They made their position clear in a debate held earlier this month which saw them arguing against Ian Dalton, of the Socialist Students, who represented the “yes” vote.

Wes Streeting, NUS President, characterised the position of the Socialist Students as “an unrealistic wish list of demands”, adding, “the arguments put forward by the Campaign to Defeat Fees are ridiculous”.

Streeting pointed out that during this time of economic recession scrapping fees would be unpractical and that no government would introduce such a measure.

He drew attention to the more “pragmatic approach” of the NUS leadership. Its September 2008 report, ‘Broke and Broken’, launched an extensive critique of the current form of higher education funding. It stopped short, however, of calling for free university education and instead argued against any further marketisation of the system.

Dr No: NUS President Wes Streeting - Photo: manchesterlabourstudents.blogspot.com

Dr No: NUS President Wes Streeting - Photo: manchesterlabourstudents.blogspot.com

In his foreword to the report, Streeting writes that he personally feels university education should be free, but that “the debate has moved on and we won’t win by dredging up the old arguments”.

Yet Dalton was not swayed by the President’s ‘pragmatism’. He held firm in his belief that “we need a mass campaign to put pressure on the government to scrap fees involving a strategy of protests and national demonstrations”.

Some present at the debate contrasted this rhetoric to what they interpret to be Streeting’s pessimistic view of the scope of student activism. Dalton evoked the recent student protests in Germany as a successful example of students’ ability to have a real impact on government policy. These lead to the federal state of Hessen abandoning tuition fees altogether from this academic semester onwards.

Criticism has also been levelled at the NUS leadership for the union money that has been spent marshalling the “no” campaign. Student Unions, including the University of Sussex Students’ Union (USSU), contribute to NUS coffers through their affiliation fees, and many say it’s not acceptable to use our money to work against free education at a time when students are despairing at their rising levels of debt.

Lee Vernon, USSU’s Finance officer and a Socialist Student member, said that “the NUS spending our time and money on campaigning against free education in our own Unions is simply unacceptable”.

While stressing that there is no problem with the NUS arguing its position, he expressed the widespread
feeling that “our affiliation fees should be used to fight for better higher education funding, not political
point scoring”.

USSU have attempted to get an explanation and record of expenses from both Ben Gray, President of NUS Wales, and Wes Streeting. As of yet they have received no reply.

The President of Bangor SU, John Jackson, was unavailable for comment before the result was known, saying he didn’t want his personal views to sway what he felt should be a free and fair vote for all.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
515 views1
Campus News
515 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
60 views
Arts
60 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
99 views
Arts
99 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
98 views
Arts
98 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
123 views
Arts
123 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
143 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
154 views
Arts
154 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
144 views
Arts
144 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
233 views
Campus News
233 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
110 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
217 views
Arts
217 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
143 views
Arts
143 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
214 views
Artist Focus
214 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
151 views
Interview
151 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…

Adam review
Arts
218 views
Arts
218 views

Adam review

Ketan Jha - May 13, 2018

If you have been a stranger to the stage this spring and decide to see one contemporary show, let it be Adam. This reviewer went in entirely…

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
240 views
Arts
240 views

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 13, 2018

In celebration of iconic Brighton local, legendary alt-rock musician (and episodic actor) Nick Cave, TOM’s Film Club are hosting a double-bill screening of his films at The…

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review
Arts
279 views
Arts
279 views

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review

Georgia Grace - May 11, 2018

Meta-theatricality and interactivity are becoming all the more vogue in contemporary theatre, and in a world where the arts are becoming increasingly open and democratised, I find…

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks
Artist Focus
193 views
Artist Focus
193 views

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks

Alex Leissle - May 9, 2018

  [gallery type="slideshow" ids="35385,35386,35387,35388,35389,35390,35391,35392,35393,35394,35395,35396,35397,35398,35399,35400,35401,35402,35403,35404,35405,35406,35407,35408,35409,35410,35411"]

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival
Books
203 views
Books
203 views

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival

William Singh - May 9, 2018

Afua Hirsch’s 2018 book - part memoir, part polemic - provokes mixed feelings. So too did her discussion of the topic at this year’s Brighton Festival. Don’t…

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality
Science
258 views
Science
258 views

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality

Luke Richards - May 8, 2018

Bioweapons exist, while ethnic-bioweapons are whispered conspiracies. Pandemics can fairly hazardous to human life, the 1918 Flu Pandemic killed 20-50 million people. A man made pandemic could…

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced
News
268 views
News
268 views

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced

Jessica Hubbard - May 4, 2018

Students have voted to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, reject Prevent and adopt new Gender Equality policies. Results for the Students' Union referenda were…