‘In the past few weeks, several student unions have held referendums on their affiliation to the National Union of Students (NUS).
In our 94 years of existence, we have strengthened students’ rights across the board. In the workplace, by increasing the apprentice minimum wage; in housing, by winning council tax exemptions for students; and in the classroom, advocating a review of the Prevent duty. Demands like these must come nationally, with the legitimacy of more than 600 student unions and 7 million members behind us, and we must now go further still.
Make no mistake, this is about more than students’ interests. The universities minister, Jo Johnson, has set out his plan to remodel higher education in the image of the free market. He wants a two-tier education system, allowing “elite institutions” to charge higher fees while starving struggling universities of funds.
Meanwhile, our academics face ever tougher pay and working conditions, driving some out of the sector altogether. Just last week, they staged a strike to highlight the urgency of the situation.
Now, some students risk making things easier for the government by freely choosing to leave their unions. Every vote to disaffiliate from the NUS is a gift to the government. Every vote to strengthen the NUS is a signal of our determination to defend our education.’ - Guardian