The NUS aren’t representing the needs of students

The NUS aren't representing the things that really matter to students. (Source:Philippe Leroyer via flickr.)

By Maria Mellor

The NUS is ‘the national voice of students’ – or so they say on their website. A union is supposed to join people together, to represent a community so that their voice may be heard. It is my opinion that the NUS no longer serves this purpose: only the voice of the far-left snowflake is being noticed and the rest have been forgotten or ignored.

Some of the motions they have passed or overhalled have been borderline ridiculous. For example there was the motion for the NUS to condemn ISIS that fell because they were worried that it would be ‘Islamophobic’. NUS delegates applauded a student who opposed commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day; they passed a motion meaning that the organisation is against the monarchy and wants a republic. How is any of this relevant or helpful to the student cause? It’s not that I disagree with any of these things, but they take away focus from the actually important key issues: anti-racism, anti-sexism and overall rights for students.

In the last national NUS conference there were dozens upon dozens of motions. It took hours to go through them all. It’s a shame that the actually relevant issues had to be interrupted by such trivia.

However the real cherry on top of the NUS cake of ridiculousness was the news that they want to ban clapping at their events. Apparently clapping excludes deaf people. This rule just adds complication to an already over-distracted organisation. I am fully aware that for the deaf, jazz hands are used as a substitute for clapping but surely you can see people clapping as well as hear it. Maybe they should think about the visually impaired people who will now have no clue as to what’s going on thanks to this stupidity.

This clapping ‘issue’ has come up in the past in relation to the NUS – they wanted to ban it before because it can be triggering to people with anxiety. By all means, ban whooping and cheering so that things flow more smoothly, but this is a step too far.

I really don’t want to be that douche who disagrees with trigger warnings because people ‘need to get used to the real world’ but that’s exactly it! Loud noises are everywhere – a lot of them much worse than clapping! I really do support trigger warnings when it comes to censoring the right things – rape, depression, suicide etc – but if you have a problem with a crowd of people clapping I think you need to spend some time recovering before you think about attending a national conference.

The jazz-handed NUS is what is making the news. Not for their fight for students’ rights, not for their protesting and picketing to condemn tuition fee rises, but for their frivolity.

For the last general election the NUS organised a series of advertisements attacking the liberal democrats for their ‘broken pledges’ ie. the fact that tuition fees were raised despite them promising otherwise. Surely a vast number of students support the Lib-Dems? Not to mention the fact that they’re steamrolling over all of the potentially decent policies the Lib-Dems might have. I see they didn’t do the same for the Tories who also had a big part, if not bigger, in the tuition fee rises. If there’s one thing the NUS should not be, it is politically biased. The money they spent on this campaign could have been spent on so many wonderful things for students if only they had had the creativity to think of something other than posters that say little more than ‘we know how to hold a grudge’.

They’re making a whole generation of students look bad – no matter whether you’re part of it or not all students are lumped in with what they do. Their campaigns cover all of us with the same I-need-to-be-mollycoddled umbrella.