Sam Rozati, a member of the NUS Executive, has called for York students to vote yes in the upcoming referendum, arguing that while “large parts of the NUS are terrible” it can be changed through engagement by members.
Rozati said: “Students should definitely vote yes. We have bits that are bad, we have bits that are shit, but it’s changeable.”
Rozati has been a controversial figure within the NUS, resigning from the finance committee in 2005 after claiming that the NUS’ current finances were leading the union to bankruptcy. His high-profile role within the Conservative Future, the youth wing of the Conservative Party, has also led to tensions with other members of the National Executive Committee.
Rozati said that disaffiliation was unlikely to result in YUSU being allowed to keep the £36,000 currently allocated by the University for NUS affiliation, a key point in last night’s panel debate. He said: “99.9% of the time, if you disaffiliate from the NUS, in the very next round of negotiations with your university, your university will take that bit of your block grant away from you.”
‘No to the NUS’ campaign coordinator Alan Yonge, who last night claimed this view was “overly pessimistic”, said: “Frankly, we don’t know either way so it would be irresponsible for one campaign to say ‘we’re definitely going to get it’ and it would be irresponsible for the other campaign to say ‘we’re definitely not going to get it’. I really don’t think we can be definitive on this.”
The ‘No to NUS’ campaign heavily publicised the event only to find that Rozati was encouraging students to vote yes. Julia Heaton, chair of the York Tories and a member of the ‘No to NUS’ campaign, admitted that “someone got the wrong end of the stick”.
Rozati claimed the NUS was responsible for forcing HSBC to u-turn on a decision to scrap interest-free overdrafts, citing it as an example of the NUS’ success.