The NUS is an absolute shambles, and that’s from someone elected to a position within it. In January, postgraduates across the country elected me as their Postgraduate Research Students’ Representative. NUS then cut this and other positions as part of plans to fill a £3m deficit – despite these positions being voluntary and costing nothing. These decisions are symptomatic of how NUS has run in recent years – detached from students; detached from reality.
But despite these failings, NUS is still occasionally listened to by the Government. So I won’t walk away – I want to improve things for students of Durham and students nationally, and the only way is through NUS. There are three areas I want to fight for:
Getting more underrepresented students into postgraduate study – All Universities have targets for improving access to undergraduate study for students from underrepresented backgrounds; no targets exist for postgraduate students. That is wrong – if these students don’t go on to postgraduate study, they won’t become academics, and our lecturers won’t reflect wider society. My policy: NUS should lobby for postgraduate access targets to be introduced.
Regulation on accommodation fees – Durham effectively forces all first-year students to live in College, and forces students to pay an arbitrarily high figure for the pleasure of it. Universities will rarely cut the cost of accommodation voluntarily; an intervention must be made. My policy: NUS should propose that the Office for Students introduce regulation on accommodation fees.
Improved disabled students’ support – the Government has cut funding for supporting disabled students; Universities must now make up the shortfall, and often they fail to. For disabled students to have a fair chance of succeeding in their studies, this should be reversed. My policy: NUS should lobby for greater ringfenced Government funding to support disabled students.
Vote David, Jess and Amelia!