Mandate for NUS Reform

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THE RECENT YUSU elections have produced a clear majority among the newly elected delegates for ‘one student, one vote’ for electing the NUS President. The election saw the election of Alex Lusty, YUSU Activities officer, Catherine Yarrow, Lucas North and Dom Smithies, Community and Wellbeing officer. YUSU President Millie Beach will also be a delegate at the next NUS conference due to her role as the elected head of YUSU.

The current NUS election process for President works on a delegate based voting system in which the delegates sent to conference by their respective student unions vote on students behalf. At the YUSU NUS delegate election, three out of the four newly elected members, Alex Lusty, Catherine Yarrow and Lucas North, specifically mentioned their support for changing the voting system to OSOV; in which students directly elect the NUS executive rather than the delegates.

York has campaigned for OSOV at previous conferences. In the past five years, York delegates have tried to get the NUS conference to debate OSOV. At last year’s conference, the York motion on OSOV was debated but ran out of time, meaning it did not pass.

Catherine Yarrow, elected as a delegate for the first time and a member of last year’s disaffilation campaign told Nouse: “having lost the disaffiliation campaign last term, I was delighted to be elected as NUS delegate, as well as to see other candidates who, like me, had made a manifesto pledge to fight for OSOV, get elected. It shows that despite the decision of York students that on balance we are better off in the NUS than out, they remain dissatisfied with the way the NUS currently operates.

“Giving every student a vote on the individuals that represent them on a national level is hardly a radical idea, and it does not reflect well on the NUS that it has been so resistant to this fundamental democratic principle in the past. I am grateful to the student body for voting for me, and will keep my promise to work with the other delegates to bring forward an OSOV motion to conference that deals with the pragmatic and liberation concerns of the past.”

Lucas North told Nouse: “In March, I plan to use my experience, at three NUS conferences and on an NUS committee, to give this motion the best chance it has. I look forward to writing an OSOV motion which is not only practicable but which will complement existing democratic procedures.

“My vision of OSOV is a system where individual students have their voice heard without their unions having to do the impossible. A system which works for all students. I see national conference as an opportunity to bring reform to an institution I am proud to be a member of, and to have YUSU’s name at the front of that reform”

Alex Lusty, Activities Officer and NUS delegate said: “YUSU has always been at the forefront of the fight for democratic reform – last year we submitted a policy to try and implement OMOV. OSOV is one of many options on the table. In the meantime, we would encourage students concerned about democracy within the NUS to take part in its democracy consultation, which closes on the 25 November.”

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