An open letter is being circulated among left wing National Union of Students officers and students who, outraged with the “claimed” massive deficit, have demanded yet more spending as a response.
They are demanding a bigger NUS conference, more money for part time NEC members, and no cuts to campaigning budgets. “We demand no cuts to democracy, representation and campaigns.”
The only cut the letter suggests making is to the CEO’s £100,000 salary, which even if it were stripped back to the minimum wage, would have last year cut the NUS Group deficit down from £5,436,526 to just £5,424,332…
Read the extraordinary open letter in full below…
“An Open Letter to Shakira Martin, NUS President
What the student movement should be about is outward facing campaigns to improve students’ living conditions, fight for liberation and transform our education and wider society alongside the trade union movement. We need a democratic, representative and campaigning NUS that can be a real voice for students, that links up our activism and campaigns and spreads them across the country.
We are very concerned by the news that major cuts will be made to NUS democracy with no input from ordinary members. It is claimed this is necessary to close up a £3 million deficit in NUS’s finances. We don’t know if this is true. If cutbacks are needed, NUS should look first to senior management’s excessive salaries: the Chief Executive earns £100,000. We demand no cuts to democracy, representation and campaigns.
We demand NUS opens the books for a democratically-accountable student investigation, with complete transparency for decision-making. The only meeting that should take decisions is a properly constituted national or extraordinary conference. At the very least, the ‘strategic conversation’ meeting taking place on 27-28 November, currently only for SU Chief Executives and Presidents, must be opened up for students to attend, and either live-streamed or recorded.
** No cuts to liberation, section and region campaign budgets and representation
** A turn outwards to campaigning: it doesn’t need to cost tens of thousands to organise a demo or run a speaker tour. The 2017 national demonstration for free education cost the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts just £5000
** A bigger, not smaller conference, with more, not less, time for political debate. Conference should be about ordinary members having real control over NUS, not a networking event for sabbatical officers
** More, not less, power in the hands of the democratically elected NEC not unaccountable and highly paid senior management, with wildly different interests to students. We want funding restored to NEC members so they can travel to campuses and run campaigns.
We will organise and protest locally and nationally to stop these attacks on democracy, calling emergency student council meetings and activist meetings to discuss the fightback.
If you agree, please sign and share and send to your sabbatical officers!”