NUS Referendum: What is it?

Image courtesy of: National Union of Students.

Kent Union will be holding a referendum on membership of the National Union of Students (NUS).

The poll, which will be ran concurrently alongside Kent Union’s leadership elections, will decide whether the Union will keep or rescind its commitments to the national student group.

The Union have set dates for a number of events surrounding the campaign, with separate teams being set up to campaign in favour of or against the NUS with a limit of £100 campaign spending for each side.

A general meeting outlining campaign rules will be held on the 22nd of January, which will brief any parties who wish to get involved in campaigning to remain or leave the NUS.

Voting is estimated to start on the same day of the leadership elections, the 17th of February; the results will be given before the new leadership team is announced on results night, which is yet to be set a date.

The NUS is a national body of Student Unions – the largest in the United Kingdom – that provides discounts for affiliate members.

The organisation also runs an annual general meeting where leaders of Unions across the country meet to discuss policies and initiatives at their University.

Kent Union paid over £50,000 in membership fees to be affiliated with the study body last year.

The NUS ran into controversy early last year when they were forced to cut almost half of their full-time staff due to cuts brought on by a £3 million deficit.

It is also believed that subscriptions to their flagship student discount card, TOTUM, has been steadily declining in recent years due to competition from other discount services.

In March, Canterbury Christ Church University declared an NUS referendum where over 500 students had voted.

It was later declared invalid, however, due to a “clear and significant breach” of the Union’s rules.

At the University of Kent, the issue of NUS membership was brought up in the 2019 Leadership Elections, with all 3 Presidential candidates being in favour of NUS membership, despite mentioning “bureaucratic” issues with the organisation.

More to follow.