CUSU Council voted to remain affiliated to the NUS at a meeting this evening.

With CUSU President Daisy Eyre absent from the meeting, Florence Oulds and Lola Olufemi, CUSU Disabled Student’s and Women’s Officers respectively, proposed the motion to remain affiliated to Council. Eyre did not provide a statement.

Explained What is the NUS?

The National Union of Students (NUS) is a confederation of students’ unions, including over 600 university and college unions.

The group aims to represent the interests of students at a national level, in particular to lobby the government on issues relating to student finance, rights, and welfare. Notably, it has campaigned in the past to reduce tuition fees, implement votes for 16-year-olds, and to encourage universities to divest from fossil fuels.

The NUS also provides services to its member unions, including publishing guidance on issues such as sexual harassment. Students can also purchase an NUS extra card which provides discounts to students at a range of outlets across the UK.

In spring each year, NUS national conference elects a new set of officers to lead the organisation. These posts have one year terms, but officers can stand for re-election.

The organisation has been the centre of controversy in recent years, with last year’s president, Malia Bouattia, accused of anti-semitism. Her tenure saw several member students’ unions disaffiliate in protest.

The University of Cambridge narrowly voted to stay in the NUS in a referendum held by CUSU in May 2016, with 51.52% voting to remain.

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Olufemi argued that it was “important to have a stake” in the national organisation, amid “potentially life-changing” recent ructions in the higher education sector.

The vote, which CUSU’s constitution dictates must be held annually, attracted considerably less controversy this year than in previous years, despite continued ambiguities over the cost of affiliation, and ongoing controversies within the NUS.

Olufemi did not offer new information on NUS affiliation fees – which have so far been charged at more than £10,000 below the expected figure – saying Daisy Eyre was “in talks with people from the NUS” but that she had “no information at the moment.”


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Mountain View

Can CUSU count on its NUS discount?

In light of accusations of bullying and intimidation against current NUS President, Shakira Martin, Olufemi emphasised the importance of remaining a part of the NUS, saying: “Current drama is sexy and people like to pick and choose what they take from the organisation” but that CUSU “promised as a union to push for change, and that’s exactly that we’re going to do”

Last year, following an unexpected rise in the affiliation fee, former CUSU president Amatey Doku, postponed the statutory vote to Easter term, when it was approved.

The year before, controversy following the appointment of Malia Bouattia as NUS president led to a referendum of all students, with 51.2% voting to remain affiliated after a heated referendum.

The meeting, which was attended by only three of the six sabbatical officers, appointed Joe Cotton as a chair. After no Council members nominated themselves to fill the role for this Council, CUSU General Manager Mark McCormack volunteered to lead proceedings.

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