Written by Branwen Cleaver
The FXU Debating Union are holding a debate, on Wednesday 21st March, at 4pm in Daphne Du Maurier building, Lecture Theatre A. All the candidates, for this year’s election, and a panel of invited speakers will have an equal platform to discuss their view on the advantages and disadvantages of FXU remaining affiliated with the National Union of Students (NUS); a controversial issue that some of this year’s candidates touched upon in their manifestos.
From the onset of the elections, when the candidates were announced, opposing views emerged at the AGM. Noah Thompson, a candidate, this year, for President Falmouth, believes that we should wholly disaffiliate from the NUS.
Whereas, Harry Bishop (who was re-elected as President Community & Welfare) is an ardent supporter of the institution and appears to be closely linked with the NUS senior leadership in response to this allegation, he offered this statement: “The NUS Full Time Officers have always given me their full support whenever I’ve needed it. From personal support to advice and guidance, I’m glad I’ve got them there to help support me in this role.”
In addition to that, Sarah Redman (President-elect for Student Experience) is to be representing the FXU at the NUS National Conference in Glasgow, this March, as our Exeter delegate.
There is reason to believe that the debate will be interesting, as NUS affiliation has been a significant topic in recent years; what with Loughborough University disaffiliating from NUS after a referendum. This occurred during Malia Bouattia’s premiership, from 2016-17, who allegedly made anti-Semitic comments and pushed for a pro-Palestinian agenda. Notably, Exeter’s Student Guild did hold a referendum, with a 144 majority of remaining affiliated (2,690 votes to remain compared to 2,546 to disaffiliate) while to date FXU has not.
A significant issue that is to be raised is the finances behind NUS affiliation, as the sum is a significant portion of FXU’s yearly budget. Many students are unaware of NUS, and do not know how FXU’s voice impacts national change in National Conferences.
According to the FXU Debating Union:
“This debate will raise awareness of the NUS on a balanced platform; the aim is to provide an impartial debate, where presidential candidates can state their opinions and raise awareness of what they would do if they were to remain affiliated or work towards disaffiliation from NUS.”