Students to vote on the SU’s NUS membership

An exit could affect pint prices, society budgets and more.

The SU Bath will hold a referendum on whether it should continue affiliation with the NUS later this year.

Membership to the NUS (National Union of Students) cost the SU £37,500 this year, with that sum expected to rise to £45,000 next year. In return, delegates can vote on national campaigns, SU bars can access discounted drinks and the SU can utilise other type of support the NUS offers, including networking and help in the event of a crisis.

A referendum has not been held in Bath since 2013, when almost 70% students voted to continue NUS membership. 

Since then, multiple students’ unions have disaffiliated from the NUS amidst years of political controversies and financial woes.

In 2016, students’ unions from Newcastle, Hull, Loughborough and Lincoln disaffiliated themselves following the election of Malia Bouattia as NUS President, who faced allegations of anti-Semitism in her election campaign. 

The NUS has more recently battled bankruptcy when it faced a £3.6m deficit in 2018, brought on by governance issues and the poor performance of its paid discount card, NUS Extra. To make up this deficit, the organisation cut down the number of elected officer positions and sold its head office building.

Throughout these controversies, the NUS has continued its campaigning and lobbying of government, with varying degrees of success. Topics have included student rental prices, universities’ responses to coronavirus, Black Lives Matter, climate change and more.

As part of the SU Bath’s affiliation with the NUS, it can access discounted supplies for its bar through bulk-buying drinks with other students’ unions in a consortium. While disaffiliation would remove the SU from this consortium, membership can be purchased separately for around £2,000.

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