National Union of Students Cancels Elections Over Potential Bankruptcy

The National Union of Students has written to all candidates for positions within the organisation to tell them that all elections have been suspended, pending a review of which positions will be cut. Guido understands that as a result of the £3 million deficit, a host of full time officers of the organisation are set to be cut and the NEC will be ‘gutted’. The NUS is learning that the only way they can save themselves from bankruptcy is with sweeping austerity measures and living within their means…

In his letter, the NUS Returning Officer states that “these are extraordinary times; NUS Is clearly facing a number of Serious financial challenges which at worst could result in insolvency.” He also confirms that “It is clear that there is likely to be significant cuts to NUS’ operating budget for 2019/20.”

After leading vehement and violent protests against deficit induced Government cuts in the coalition years, are finally learning cold hard financial realities. All is not well in student paradise…

Read the full communication below:

Dear Candidate,

Thank You for nominating yourself for candidature In an NUS Election. I wanted to communicate with yourself and each person who has nominated themselves to inform you of a ruling I have been asked to make on the NUS 2018/19 election cycle.

Last week I received communications from the NUS National President about the serious financial position facing NUS. In this exchange, I was asked to make a ruling in relation the NUS 2015/19 election cycle. This email outlines my decision and the next steps

What is the Issue?
It is clear that NUS is in a process of ‘getting to safety’. This includes reducing in-year spending and lowering costs to ensure that NUS remain solvent. As part of this work the NUS Boards are due to meet in January to agree their operating budget for 2019/20. I have been informed that this budget will see a reduction of expenditure In the tune of £3 million pounds and this will include and affect elections as well as the allocation of staffing, full time officer and activity costs.

Normally at this stage in the annual cycle the next year’s estimate would be in the final state of production. It is clear that there is likely to be significant cuts to NUS’ operating budget for 2019/20. NUS’ National President has requested that I make a ruling in relation to the running of elections until we have a clear decision from the NUS Boards in January 2019.

It Is important Mat you know, from the outset, the principles that I will be using this us to guide decision and future decisions connected to this issue. These are as follows:

  • Solvency: we must support the NUS Boards in reaching solvency and preventing the financial collapse of NUS – this is both a legal and moral duty of all responsibility-holding persons operating within NUS at this time;
  • Upholding our rules: where we are homed to deviate from our rules, processes and customs, we should stay as close to them as possible (examples below);
  • Adhering to our rules wherever our financial situation permits;
  • Running all processes as close to the original rules as possible;
    • E.g. the electorate of elections should be the conference delegates for that particular role/campaign;
    • E.g. the nominations process should be in line with the stated nominations Process.

Whet have I decided?
I have considered the options and have decided that in the interests of fairness and transparency for NUS members, to pause all nominations and election pro..es until after the decision of the Joint board meeting on 16 January 2019. To be absolutely clear, I am pausing all elections, with immediate effect, across NUS UK including full-time roles, nations roles, liberation and sections roles, and committee roles. Once I have been informed of the outcome of the Joint Boards’ decisions on what roles and committees are funded for 2019/20, I will publish an elections timeline and process for the year. I want to be clear that my ruling is only happening due to the specific in-year issue of a risk of insolvency and my understanding that the NUS UK board and the NUS group, subcommittee – finance committee – are now taking extraordinary decisions about the in-year and 2019/20 budget to prevent insolvency. Therefore my ruling only applies to thee elections taking place for the rest of NUS’ 2018/19 year.

What will happen now?
Please read the below very carefully as It pertains directly to the election you have nominated yourself for

  • All NUS UK election and nomination processes are suspended until the outcome of the joint board meeting on 16 January 2019
  • Submitted nominations for elected positions that have already closed, International Students’ Officer and Trans Students’ Officer, will be held in suspense. They will remain in suspense until I make a ruling in January following the outcome of the Joint Boards’ decision
  • As both these conferences (International and Trans) take place shortly after the Joint Boards meet, I will communicate to NUS and to members later this week about the process we will be lung to elect, if required, these officers and committee members
  • In the conning weeks I will provide Information concerning the announcement of future eternal timelines.

I recognise that my ruling may come as shock to some of you, a. you may feel like this is an extraordinary step for NUS’ Boards and the Chief Returning Officer to take. In response I would say that these are extraordinary times;, NUS is clearly facing a number of serious financial challenges which at worst could result in insolvency.

My duty is to make sure that we have free and fair elections whilst the Boards navigate this situation. I believe that it is only fair to those wishing to stand for elections that they are able to do so In the knowledge and with the certainty that those positions will be funded.

As outlined above I will be in touch again soon with further guidance and will communicate with you as soon as possible after the NUS Joint Boards meetings on 16 January 2019.

In the meantime you may wish to seek further clarity about your candidature or to make complaint about my ruling. I welcome any thoughts and considerations in this regard and would ask that you address these to me in writing and return via the NUS Governance Team.

Yours,
Jules Mason
NUS UK Chief Returning Officer


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