Delegates disregard Warwick Policy at NUS

Controversy has erupted around the events of the NUS Conference last Wednesday, where six delegates from the University of Warwick are reported to have voted against an amendment which would have taken the No Platform Policy out of the proposed new NUS Constitution.

In the same week that Union Council passed a motion stating Warwick delegates should vote in line with Union policy to avoid undermining the Union’s democratic process, six out of eleven delegates voted against the amendment.

The NUS Extraordinary Conference had been convened to discuss the proposed new NUS Constitution. The previous year had seen proposals for a new constitution rejected and this has led to increasing criticism from some Students’ Unions on the matter of reform, including the Warwick Students’ Union.

A Council Meeting on Monday had seen the delegates asked to reject the proposed NUS reforms. However problems have arisen as six Warwick Delegates also voted to reject an amendment from the University of East Anglia to remove the ‘No Platform’ Policy from the proposed Constitution.

Last year, a referendum was passed by Warwick Students to remove the Students’ Union own ‘No Platform’ policy and this vote has led some campaigners to criticise the delegates for ignoring the voice of Warwick Students.

Rajiv Shah, former Union Councillor and a campaigner against No Platform has been one of a number of students who are displeased at the voting. “Over 1,000 students voted in favour of a motion that said we would not ban Racist or Fascist Speaker … we can‘t believe in something different at NUS.” He added, “The policy further stated that Warwick Students’ Union would resolve to “defend the right of all peoples to freedom of speech (within current UK law)”.

Chris Rossdale, one of the students who wrote the motion to remove “No Platform” policy from the Warwick Student’s Union, said, “I’m very disappointed. Delegates are supposed to represent students, not their own interests, and in this case they have not done that”.

Andy Glyde, Governance and Finance Officer, who was a delegate at the Conference said in response to the criticism, “In my personal opinion, this policy refers only to Warwick Students’ Union and makes no reference to any other organisation, including the NUS. I can see the argument that you can make a link between the policy focusing on Warwick’s policy and the one of the NUS. However, it must be remembered that the NUS’ “No Platform” has no impact on that of Warwick – if you read the constitution, it does not force individual unions to have a stance either way.” He was also keen to put the event in context, “Union Council on Monday mandated all of the delegates to vote against the reform package on offer, which included the “No Platform” clause – it was irrelevant whether we voted in favour or against the amendment as we were voting against the entire package as a whole.”

The same event occurred last year when Warwick University delegates at the NUS Conference voted in favour of a “No Platform” Policy despite a referendum which had just passed removing such a policy from Warwick Students’ Union.

Student reaction has been mixed to the affair as a whole. While there is a great deal of apathy around the NUS and the proposed new Constitution in general, students are divided on the matter of whether delegates should have voted against a “No Platform” policy. “They will presumably know the facts better than I do, so in a better place to make a decision” said one student. However on RaW News Insight on Thursday, one emailer stated that Warwick Students’ Union was “burying it’s head in the sand” and that the delegates should be “ashamed”.


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