SURHUL President supports NUS Extraordinary Conference

Joff Manning, the President of Royal Holloway’s Students’ Union, has come out in support of the Extraordinary Conference. He stated that: “The Governance structures of the NUS have stayed relatively untouched since the formation of the National Union in the early 1900s, but student numbers, student lifestyles, and student debt have changed forever. It’s time for the NUS to acknowledge that its membership has changed, and that it must change along with it, or face growing criticism that it is out of date and out of touch. An Extraordinary Conference is needed because there are Factions within the movement that will stop at nothing to block reform- An extraordinary conference gives us a clear mandate to discuss the proposals put to us, without the political in-fighting and filibustering that so typifies Annual Conference.”

Despite this, students have raised the point that the Extraordinary Conference, which is effectively an emergency meeting, has come somewhat out of the blue. Why was the subject of government reform not discussed at the NUS’s annual conference earlier this year? In answering this question, Mr Manning stated that the topic has been discussed at NUS conferences for years. “A motion was passed at the last Annual Conference for the NEC to conduct a Governance Review. That Review has now been completed and an Extraordinary Conference is required to debate whether or not to accept their findings, as the problem with endless discussion is that nothing actually happens.”

Students may also wonder, on discovering the severity of the problems of NUSÂ’s governance, why the reforms to governance cannot be discussed at the next Annual Conference of the NUS to be held next year. Mr Manning stated that this could be possible but that it was unlikely that anything would be done about it. Mr Manning said “Basically, there are a thousand and one different ways you can slow things down at conference because you can interrupt a debate on Governance with a procedural motion that we discuss Darfur. Now, that will inevitably get voted down, but that takes a vote and that takes time when you have 1000+ delegates. At extraordinary conference we can only discuss the one topic it’s been called for, so there can be no timewasting, which is the favourite pastime of factions, political groups, and troublemakers.”

What do you think about the NUSÂ’s extraordinary conference? Vote in our poll online on The FounderÂ’s homepage.

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