In November, it was revealed that the National Union of Students is facing severe financial issuesNUS UK

The National Union of Students (NUS) has formally announced a proposal to defund its Trans Officer and Committee for at least the 2019-20 period, prompting criticism from the NUS LGBT+ Campaign, among other student activists

This proposal, which was formally confirmed on 16th January, comes alongside a series of cuts aiming to limit the number of full-time officers to 12 and plug the NUS’ large deficit. The proposal letter was co-signed by the Chair of the Board, NUS President Shakira Martin, and NUS CEO, Peter Robinson.

However, the proposal cannot come into force until after it is voted on at the upcoming NUS National Conference, set to take place in April.

The NUS Trans campaign is an autonomous part of the NUS. According to the campaign’s web page, their role “to represent trans students and fight for their rights”. The leadership and policy of the campaign are decided during an annual Trans Students’ Conference, which takes place every summer.

In December, the NUS’ initial consideration of proposals to scrap liberation officer roles, representing BME, LGBT+, trans, disabled, and women students, received condemnation from student activists. CUSU President Evie Aspinall remarked that removing liberation officers would be “very dangerous, in the sense it will curtail the NUS’ ability to do its core functions and protect students.”

Now, in response to the formal proposal to defund the NUS Trans Committee and Officer, the NUS LGBT+ campaign has issued a statement expressing significant concerns. In this statement, issued on the 21st of January, the campaign noted a continued influx of trans students in need of support, specifically in the area of healthcare. They described the trans student population as “probably the fastest growing in the NUS’ individual membership” and noted that these students “have specific welfare and campaigning needs”.

“Defunding the NUS Trans Campaign forces volunteers to stand alone against the wave of transphobia in the public in the public sphere”, the LGBT+ Campaign wrote, noting that the work carried out by the organisation is “highly specialised and requires public policy support which is only available in large NGOs like NUS.”

The NUS LGBT+ campaign also expressed concerns about being solely responsible for trans rights and support once the trans campaign is defunded.


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Writing in the Gay Star News, NUS LGBT+ Office Rob Noon said, "This decision is a political one and thus warrants a political response”. Noon also claimed that the decision was made without consultation with either of the current NUS LGBT+ officers, who are both trans.

The President of the CUSU LGBT+ campaign, Liam Plimmer, also expressed concerns, saying: “We are obviously disappointed with the decision, and are still consulting the community about our response”.

The NUS did not respond to Varsity’s request for comment.

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