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NUS Conference 2012

Students vote for Burns’ second term and national demo,

Liam Burns has been re-elected as President of the NUS at the National Conference in Sheffield.

He will now lead the NUS for a second term into 2013, after winning 387 votes to second place Ed Marsh’s 295 in the final round.

The Conference, held in Sheffield City Hall between 24th and 26th of April, also saw the election of all other positions on the national executive, as well as debates on policy direction for the coming year. This included a major decision to hold a national demonstration in the coming year.

Executive positions were voted for by delegates representing universities across the UK, with Cardiff sending eight students, chosen through the recent student elections. However Marcus Coates-Walker, Cardiff Students’ Union President and delegate from the University, was less than impressed with proceedings, especially in relation to the seeming lack of focus on issues related to Wales.

He said: “The event was overloaded with motions on the agenda that were never all going to be addressed and more time was wasted discussing procedure rather than the content. Consequently, specific discussions relating to Cardiff were prevented from being discussed.”

“Furthermore, I was disappointed with the majority of candidates for NUS Officer positions for their general lack of knowledge and interest about issues facing students in devolved nations.”

Five vice-presidents were elected across the NUS policy, including the re-election of three of the candidates. Those who will continue for a second term include Danielle Grufferty for Society and Citizenship, Pete Mercer for Welfare and Toni Pearce for Further Education. Rachel Wenstone has been elected in for Higher Education and Vicky Baars for Union Development.

Marcus did continue however that the experience had been largely positive: “Overall NUS National Conference was a success; the sheer amount of people talking about issues that really matter to students was incredible and I’m proud that we had 8 delegates representing Cardiff. I believe we have taken a huge step forward to improve the experience of thousands of students.”

As well as the elections, multiple fringe events were held across the three days, with discussions on issues ranging from graduate employability to financing of degrees. There were also opportunities for the NUS’ various ‘zones’ to offer policy recommendations. NUS zones amount to departments within the organisation under the control of the five vice-presidents. Also included were reports on the progress of the numerous liberation campaigns across the student movement.

Talking about his victory, NUS President Liam Burns said: “I am delighted students have put their trust in me and re-elected me to serve a second term as NUS President.”

“With the government’s abandonment of the proposed higher education bill, scrapping of EMA, and presiding over record youth unemployment, so many of their wrong-headed reforms are taking place behind the scenes and we will continue to vigorously contest them out in the open.”