The Students’ Union of the University of Plymouth have opted to leave the National Union of Students (NUS), following a referendum. The decision was made due to a range of reasons, with ‘significant concerns’ cited by the Union President regarding value for money for students.
1,006 members of the University of Plymouth Students’ Union took part in the vote. 519 members – just over half of those who partook in the vote – opted to vote in favour of ending the Union’s affiliation with the NUS.
This news comes as it was recently revealed that the Plymouth Students’ Union alone had sent over £57,000 to the NUS in this academic year.
The President of the Students’ Union – Alex Doyle – cited ‘significant concerns’ by students regarding value for money from the NUS, along with suggestions of a ‘lack of support’ and ‘lack of political standing’.
What exactly the NUS does with this money is anyone’s guess. Arguably the most concerning part of this is that the £57,000 figure represents the contributions of just one University. The NUS describe themselves as a ‘confederation of 600 students’ unions’.
The NUS has come under fire in recent months for a range of reasons. Many have questioned how, other than the NUS card which provides some retail discounts, the NUS are actually actively helping students. While their website provides details of what they supposedly do, there appears to be little in the way of actual evidence.
Though it should be noted that almost half of those voting wanted the Union to remain aligned with the NUS. The most common belief was that the NUS was ‘fighting to make students voices heard’.
In a statement, the NUS said they will ‘intend to listen, and intend to change’. Moreover, they stated that Plymouth’s Union leaving was a ‘source of great sadness’.
They later added that the NUS was ‘working hard to build the kind of responsive and effective organisation that’s fit to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow’.
With Plymouth’s Students’ Union becoming the first union to leave the NUS in a high-profile manner, it won’t be surprising to see other Union’s follow suit – especially given the questions over whether or not the NUS is actually fit for purpose.
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The NUS has been plagued in recent times by bankruptcy fears. This latest news too could have a negative effect on the organisation.