VP Academic Affairs Sasha Watson presents the case of the Sabbs with regard to the NUS referendum.

Firstly, I’d like to make it clear that it’s great to see people beginning to discuss the referendum, however, there are a few things that need to be addressed and corrected.

To explain where the decision to hold a referendum came from, it was agreed at SUSU’s Annual General Meeting in May last year, with an almost unanimous decision for the motion. The AGM is a place for any student to bring any motions and policy ideas, and to have a vote on, and in the interest of it being the most public venue where decisions are made, where most students would be able to have their say and vote against the motion, that’s why Sam and another student proposed the motion.

Had Sam wished to “sneak” us into the NUS, or to not have a proper debate, we could have taken the decision on whether to affiliate to the Trustee Board of the Union (made up of 6 Sabbatical Officers, 6 student Trustees, and 4 external Trustees), or to Union Council, made up some 60-odd representative and reflective students. These were never considered, but were options available to anyone wishing to affiliate to the NUS, but instead we are opening the discussion for a referendum. The fact that we are one of only 6 Unions not affiliated to the NUS, and the rate at which the student body at SUSU changes, regardless of whether we vote yes or no this time, I still think it’s important to keep checking the opinion of students regularly.

The issue of Sabbaticals campaigning comes down to two things: firstly, we are still technically students – we have taken a year out of our studies, albeit at the end of our degrees – but it’s quite common for 1st/2nd year students to be Sabbatical Officers; and secondly, we are allowed, if not meant, to have opinions on matters impacting the Union. Just like any policy decision to do with student safety, or academic rights, we have the right to give our opinion, allow the members of the relevant decision making body to have their say too – then vote, and the Sabbatical team enact the wishes of the members. We are having a referendum because students said we should have one, and we are permitted to give our opinion on why we think one way or another – just like previous Sabbatical Officers did the last time we had a referendum.

To also say that students will be biased towards voting a certain way, purely because Officers say so, is grossly unfair to them, treating them like puppets – and if they do not wish to engage with any of the debate, just simply vote, then that’s they’re choice. People vote for a whole variety of reasons, not just because someone said so – and given that Southampton is a top University, I’d imagine most people will be able to consider their own opinions, and ask around if necessary, before voting.

In the case of NUS referendum, I believe it’s even more important that Sabbatical Officers voice an opinion. We’ve all lived in Southampton and can comment on safety; we’ve all studied here at Southampton and can comment on the quality of education here at the University – but how many people have been to an NUS Conference? How many people have previously been a part of the NUS, or have an understanding of what the NUS could provide? The answer is a much smaller number of the student body if not none, and it showed in the last referendum, where the two key arguments were surrounding NUS Extra Cards, which is a very small part of what the NUS does, and SUSU’s independent voice, which I’m still not quite sure what that meant – because the NUS cannot dictate to us what we do as a Union in terms of policy or actions.

As Officers, we’ve been privileged enough to see the range of training on offer for students at other Unions, the support that NUS staff provides Unions in terms of staff, resources and research, and the benefit of being able to join up very easily with other Unions to share the best ideas and have the greatest impact on students. But all of this isn’t clear to most students at Southampton, because most haven’t studied anywhere else, so haven’t experienced or even known these sorts of benefits existed. As I’ve said, Sabbatical Officers in the past have campaigned on this issue, and more generally, you see political figures taking stances on issues every time, and so this occasion should be no different.

The reason we campaign generally is because we believe something will improve the Union – just like we campaign against some things because it will harm the Union. We would certainly not try to push an agenda because of relationships with other people, or because of personal agendas, but rather because we think SUSU can improve as a result. We have nothing personal to gain from the NUS and have no desire to run in NUS elections – we are campaigning purely because we feel the NUS would be beneficial for SUSU, and that last time, the messages delivered at the referendum were greatly flawed.

The auditor’s report is being released today that will provide further facts about affiliation, especially surrounding cost and what is provided in terms of services, and if anyone is enthused by the anything they’ve seen – please join the debate. Campaign for, or campaign against, just get involved – use your voice, and make sure that the decision we make is the right one.

Thanks,

Sasha Watson
VP Academic Affairs

Check out the article which set off the debate about Sabb involvement in the NUS Referendum here.

More articles in NUS Referendum 2012
  1. An Assault on Democracy? – a Response
  2. SUSU Announce Date For Forthcoming NUS Referendum
  3. An Assault On Democracy? – Sabbs & Their NUS Plans
  4. University of Surrey Students’ Union Keeps NUS Affiliation
  5. Q&A with NUS President Liam Burns at Campus This Evening
  6. Q&A With NUS President Liam Burns – Live Blog
  7. ‘No’ NUS Affiliation For St Andrews Students’ Association
  8. NUS Who?
  9. Debates, votes and results: An NUS Referendum Timetable
  10. Say No To NUS
  11. Say Yes To NUS
  12. The Cost of NUS affiliation – A Quick Glance at the Auditor’s Report
  13. The International Arguments About NUS
  14. Crunching the Numbers on the NUS
  15. NUS Apocalypse
  16. Students Vote To Keep SUSU Out Of NUS
  17. NUS Apocalypse Part 2: Referendageddon

41 Comments »

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  • Anon
    avatar

    ” We would certainly not try to push an agenda because of relationships with other people, or because of personal agendas,”
    Forgive me if I can’t take your word on that.

    ” We have nothing personal to gain from the NUS”
    Categorically untrue.

    ” The auditor’s report is being released today that will provide further facts about affiliation, especially surrounding cost”
    Over £31,000 denied to clubs, societies and other aspects of SUSU in dire need.

    ” and what is provided in terms of services”
    Not a lot that we can’t already get from the NUS despite being unaffiliated.

    Reply

    Sasha
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    Thanks anon – fine, dont take my word – but come have a chat with me about it, and then decide for yourself.

    Nothing personal to gain – categorically untrue? What do I have to gain? I wont be paid if we join, I wont get a job if we join, I wont run for a position if we join. Please explain what you mean…

    The Socs budget was increased by £60,000 this year – we are not a poor union. Thats up from £26k to £80k for societies and performing arts. Last year we had a surplus of £120k – thats £120,000 that SUSU did not spend on students, and this year we are budgeted to have a surplus of £140,000. Again, we are not a poor union – societies, and any student group, would not lose out on money if we joined.

    Not a lot we cant get already? We have 100 core staff in total – the NUS has hundreds conducting research, helping run campaigns, plus there are national volunteers who are there to help out. There’s a lot we are currently missing out on, and we will look to highlight this in the coming weeks.

    We haven’t started campaigning, we have only just started trying to get students involved in the campaign so that they can lead it – in the coming weeks we aim to make it perfectly clear what the NUS could provide SUSU, so keep an eye out – and if you have any questions, come find me, ask me, and have a chat.

    Reply

    Anon
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    So… £120,000 you didn’t spend on clubs, societies etc who are arguably the flesh and bones of SUSU as a whole.
    And we’re supposed to trust you on the NUS referendum?

    Quick question, how much did the big picture of you, Shane and Mr. NUS President hung up in the Sabbs office cost?

    Reply

    National Union of Sabbs
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    It was printed black and white, probably to save the money for inter mural sports… OH WAIT.
    Not sure about the cost of the frame.

    Reply

    Sasha Watson
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    We dont run Intramural sports – that’s purely the University’s doing… We’ve made positive steps in bringing it back to what students want though!

    Reply

    Anon
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    How much did the photo cost, Sasha?

    Sasha Watson
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    haha really? 4p probably, if not less. and you can feel safe in the knowledge that the photo is now out of the frame – it is able to serve a much higher purpose than have my photo in it, and im sure Dean will use it more wisely. any questions about the quality of the print, or the toner used – and il happily try to find out for you – im just glad we can have these important debates out in the open.

    Josh Cox
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    The £120,000 surplus has been re-invested in SUSU this year. For one it has enabled E&E to have an addition to their budget, ensuring we can continue to deliver bigger campaigns and events. SUSU is solely not-for-profit…everything we make is given back to the Union. I don’t think slandering our Sabbs is the right way to go in the referendum. The flesh and bones is not just clubs and socs, but every single member of the Union. That £120,000 will be spent in the areas that need it most. I have been privileged to sit on many committees and I am already seeing areas that will put this money to good use.

    Reply

    Sasha
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    Hi Jack, thanks for your question and comments – you’re right, we planned to only make a £75k surplus last year, which is business-smart because it guarantees the security of the organisation, by saving for a “rainy day”, and we exceeded those plans, which depending on how you look at it is either a positive or a negative.

    That said, the turnover of SUSU is around £7 million – student run groups like clubs and societies make up roughly £600k of the request for budgets – the vast majority is spent on staff and other budgets that make the union run. we wanted to give more money to clubs and socs etc – but they didnt claim their budgets. the AU for instance, had a shortfall of near £40k underspend because clubs didnt ask for the money – and anyway, thats irrelevant to the cost of joining the NUS, because the money is there if we need it. In a £7m organisation, we can find £31k very easily in my opinion.

    And on the photo – it cost 4p. It was a photo of me, liam burns, and shane, and was funny because i apparently look like neil from the inbetweeners, liam like simon, and shane like someone. it was an internal joke – but feel free to make the most of it.

    Happy to talk out any issues you have personally – just give me a shout next time youre in the office.

    Reply

    Sally
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    Sorry let’s get this straight.

    SUSU has a turnover of £7m.

    £600k is requested from AU/Socs.

    Less than 10% of the Union’s turnover is spent on student activity. That’s scandalous… where is the other 90% of the money going? What is this?

    And then to top it all off you have the temerity to blame the clubs and socs for underspending their budgets… SUSU should be supporting Treasurers, explaining to them in simple terms how to claim money back for club expenses. Making sure that NO student is having to choose between digging into their own pocket or not joining a club or society…

    It’s easy to sit in your ivory tower, on your big salary, surrounded by people who are also on salaries as large as the whole AU budget and blame students.

    Try doing your job, focus on getting things right for your students here at SUSU. I doubt joining the NUS is going to make you any better at re-investing SUSU money on actual students.

    This comment has been edited due to staff-student protocol, any questions about the edit then email editor@soton.ac.uk

    Reply

    Sasha
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    http://www.susu.org/about/facts-and-figures

    and I doubt Level 2 is an Ivory Tower…

    Interested
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    Sasha,

    You’ve got a £140,000 excess left at the end of the year – and so you’re going to throw it at some external body? From my experience of being affiliated with the NUS at my 6th form all the NUS did was take a load of money out and give us sod all in return. –> Whatever argument you may say I would ALWAYS vote to keep my and my fellow peer’s money where it belongs – in our pockets.

    It is bad enough we’re paying £9000 tuition fees without our elected representatives (who all paid substantially less and won’t see X amount of there money sent to some hole in stoke-on-trent (Or wherever NUS offices are based)) pissing more of it away.

    VOTE NO, VOTE TO KEEP THE MONEY ON OUR SERVICES.

    Reply

    Sasha Watson
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    Hi Interested – you raise some valid concerns, and I dont know if youre straight out of 6th form college, or were there a few years ago – but satisfaction in the NUS has risen dramatically over the last 5 years to 80%, which shows they’re going in the right direction. That’s not to say its perfect, but from what I’ve seen, a £31k investment in the gains we can have from affiliating is well worth it in my opinion.

    What students gain out of the NUS depends how much you get yourself involved – at the very base level, even the student who does nothing with the Union benefits from the national representation on welfare, education, and human rights, the environmental work that NUS is doing with Student Unions, and the NUS Extra card if you want.

    Get involved with your union a little, and join a club or society, and you should see an improvement in your experience because the NUS provides training for volunteers to help them be better – they also provide support for the staff who help organise and run many of the events and make all the arrangements, and also have a bank of resources that means we can provide further training if necessary.

    …and there’s so much more – but I wont kill the comments section by going into all of it here. But basically if youre interested in finding out more, pop along on wednesday to our opening event where were going to give our perspective and drum up some debate on the issues https://www.facebook.com/events/391344200938661/?ref=ts&fref=ts

    Reply

    Future BNOC
    avatar

    1. A purely personal reason you won’t take his word?

    2. Some evidence that this is a falsification?

    3. Is there no benefits? Just a huge bill?

    4. Are you sure the NUS offers us nothing ‘extra’?

    Reply

  • Dave
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    Sasha,

    Will any of the Sabbs that have taken a side have any say in how this referendum is run?

    With regards to sabbatical elections, anyone who wishes to run or be part of a campaign team has to, unless it changed during the last year, resign from elections committee if they are a member. With this in mind it seems fitting that any Sabbs that have or intend to take a side on this issue be forbidden from taking any part in deciding how the referendum is run.

    Reply

    Josh Cox
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    I don’t think the Sabbs who are vocal have any say how the referendum is run. There is a sub-committee of Trustee Board who are looking at it and also the impartial voting members of Elections Committee. David Gilani is Deputy Returning Officer, and therefore cannot be vocal about which way he wants to vote.

    Reply

    Sasha
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    Hey dave, yup same rules apply – David and Dean are on the rules making body, and the rest have been removed from any rules making process. Its all legit, dont worry – were all well aware of the potential implications!

    Reply

  • Matt
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    Can I ask if the AGM was Chorate? I know thats not how you spell it but any decision made at the AGM isn’t official without the necessary 225 students?

    Is it really necessary to check before a full generation of students have moved through the university?

    Its very nice saying that students make well informed decisions on the issue but what percentage of voters read the sabbs manifestos during their elections?

    Reply

    Sasha Watson
    avatar

    I dont think it was quorate – but all the decisions were ratified at the next quorate Union Council, so the decision is still legit.

    And I think so, yes – why stick to a 3 year cycle (or more), because then the first time some people will ever get a say is in their final year of their degree, and not be impacted by the decision one way or another (because you would join the following year) – and whats wrong with asking people more often generally? we should debate lots more and engage the wider student body in the decisions about the union more, have more discussions on wider issues and more referendums in my opinion.

    And some people dont read them – thats fine because not everyone votes based on manifestos – but maybe how well they think theyll do the job, what their personality is like, or something else – and thats fine – you get trained on how to make the most out of the year all the same, and its very hard to know whats achievable in manifestos without ever having sat in the role before anyway.

    and thats why this referendum has started the campaign already – so that we have 8 weeks of being able to get the discussion out there, to try and get people to have an opinion based on the information one way or another – unlike the 2/3 weeks you have to read sabbatical manifestos, and about 30 of them. this is a straight up yes/no decision, so hopefully thats a bit more manageable!

    Reply

    Matt
    avatar

    I am by no means saying that what has happened is illegitimate merely that it wasn’t officially ratified at the AGM but rather Union Council.

    Sticking to the 3 year cycle makes sense because while I agree some people may not benefit from that specific debate there a wide range of issue’s out there that a referendum could be held on that it isn’t but having the same one every couple of years makes the students that voted the first time who are still at the university feel as though they have in some way made the wrong decision and a second referendum is being held to override the decision they have made for the benefit of future students as well as themselves.

    I agree that the vast majority of students don’t vote based on manifestos or policy information. I voted for you because I think your a good guy with the right tools and experience for the job you do. Therefore I didn’t read your manifesto. But with a referendum people should be voting using information on the issue because this is not an election with a personality to vote for.

    Reply

    Sasha Watson
    avatar

    thats a fair point, something we dont want to be the case – its not a case of the sabbs thought last time was “the wrong answer” which were trying to rectify this time, because most of us, if not all, voted no last time! 2 years is a long time, and SUSU has come a long way in that time, as have the NUS – and so i think the important thing to try and do is get people more into regular discussions of big issues, so that it doesnt seem like were questioning the decision, but more seeing what people think now. a 1st year student might not understand SUSU, let alone NUS then, but by 3rd year might actually have a good understanding, and want to change their mind about what we do – and so the aim for us is to liberate voices to really run the union, not question what they have said – which i get is what it can look like.

    lots of unions around the country have a referendum on the issue every year – most of the time its something like a 98% positive result, but they do it just to check with their students, just in case something has changed, and it helps create a campus feel that they can change things beyond just voting for the sabbs, which is kind of an impression i get about here unfortunately, with such a low uptake at council and inquorate AGMs etc.

    in the policy, it was agreed that if we said yes to NUS, another referendum would be held within 3 years to check that statement, which is a start – but yes or no, I’d want to see regular questions about BUCS, for instance, the NUS, and other issues and decisions that we take (maybe capital investments in the Union, rather than just going to our council) – but thats the next step!

    thanks for the comment – its an important point to establish!

    Reply

    Matt
    avatar

    With respect Sasha while lots of Unions may be holding yearly referendums on the issue SUSU doesn’t hold regular referendums and therefore it makes more sense that in the event we do hold a referendum it should be on the issues that SUSU actually really takes seriously rather than one which I haven’t seen to be an issue or topic of discussion before this referendum was announced or the discussion at the AGM.

    I agree that we do need to look at student engagement in political issues and maybe more referendums is the answer to increasing this but I do think that simply holding the same referendum repeatedly is not the way forward. If we are having more referendums in order to get student opinions on the issues then it should be on a variety of issues.

    Reply

    Sasha
    avatar

    You’ve got to start somewhere with holding regular referendums, and if people thought it wasnt an important issue – they should have voted no to holding the referendum.

    And I agree – this one came about because of a number of changes in HE, SUSU and the NUS, as well as the flaws of the referendum – but hopefully future ones will address other issues. I have an idea for one that I may propose – but need to research more

  • Liam
    avatar

    I don’t really care whether or not SUSU joins the NUS, if it’s beneficial to the university then let’s do it? The main problem with the referendum, of course, is that it’s become an utter farce due to the very obvious Sabb biases that exist.

    Sabbs showing such biased support towards the yes campaign, especially considering their affiliation with this Liam character, totally brings their whole involvement into disrepute – despite whether or not THEY happen to think it does (obviously they’re not going to admit that they may actually be biased!). Maybe it’s ‘constitutionally allowed’ to support the campaign and all within the rules, but that doesn’t mean that the Sabbs should not remain impartial.

    Sasha do you understand what this personal friendship with the president of the NUS looks like when you’re actively supporting joining the NUS (i.e increasing your mates influence)? Of course you do – I assume you’re not an idiot. But you are still campaigning for it anyway! If you’re that confident that the yes campaign is good for students, and that they are capable of making their own informed decisions why not take a step back and allow other students to campaign for it? At the moment all you’re doing is suggesting to many students that you actually don’t give a shit about impartiality. Removing yourself from campaigning for it is honestly the best move you could take to allay any fears students have that you are abusing your power. It’s so simple!

    All you Sabbs need to say is ‘It seems our involvement in the Yes campaign is causing some students to get upset, and as such we’re going to withdraw from actively supporting it and focus on our other Sabb duties during the referendum period.’ Why not?

    Reply

    Sasha
    avatar

    I think people are reading far too much into this friendship… Im not best buddies with Liam by any means, I barely know him, but at conferences we say hello and have a laugh – just like I do with anyone I know in Southampton or other sabbs in the country… and he really wouldnt influence my decision because I know him – I have legitimate reasons for thinking the way I do, and on Wednesday will make that clear.

    Im very keen for this campaign to be student led – I agree that if we cant convince students to get involved at all, then were on the wrong side – because we shouldnt be the only people campaigning for yes – but we need to be able to help educate people first, because ive already had lots of people message me saying theyre interested, but dont know anywhere near enough about it all to confidently be a yes. after wednesday, were hoping that the students will feel enthused and wanting to campaign for yes. remember – campaigning hasnt actually started really – its all planning at the moment, and ive certainly not given any detailed reason behind my beliefs yet!

    if this was any other issue, i dont think people would mind us having an opinion – like £9k fees, or BUCS affiliation – i imagine most people would think we should have one, and i see this as no different. itd be great if everyone knew about the NUS already and could lead from the word go,but understandably, most feel they cant because they havent ever experienced what the NUS is about. i think the way were going to campaign has been misunderstood – im certainly doing my job at the same time, dont worry – the last 3 weeks ive done over 200 hours in the office, and im not going to let my roles work be forgotten because theres lots i want to achieve in my final year – but feel i can do both very happily.

    why i wont withdraw from actively supporting it – because i believe its an important issue to have a voice about, for as many students ive seen be annoyed that were campaigning, ive spoken and seen from more that think i should be campaigning, and also i dont actually know what power im abusing? i cant use my blogs, i cant email students, and i really dont have a lot of current students who i dont know well on media – i have exactly the same resources as anyone else. and if youre going to look at facebook friends, ive been at uni for 6 years and most have left! of those, im sure they can come to their own opinion as well about what to do – and have already seen people disagree with me, which is fine – so i dont know what the problem is?

    Reply

  • Martha
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    I’ll have no problem with the referendum itself, provided that a cast-iron guarantee is provided that the same referendum will be run at regular intervals in the future.

    Reply

    Sasha
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    as per my post above – i totally agree, and it should be on more than just NUS! if we say yes, there is already the stipulation that we definitely have another within the next 3 years to review it

    Reply

  • Quote-ilicious
    avatar

    I must say the most amusing part of this article is the air of sanctimony around the following:

    “Had Sam wished to “sneak” us into the NUS, or to not have a proper debate, we could have taken the decision on whether to affiliate to the Trustee Board of the Union (made up of 6 Sabbatical Officers, 6 student Trustees, and 4 external Trustees), or to Union Council, made up some 60-odd representative and reflective students. These were never considered, but were options available to anyone wishing to affiliate to the NUS, but instead we are opening the discussion for a referendum.”

    As if, had Trustee Board or Council actually affiliated to the NUS directly, there wouldn’t have been an outcry and heads wouldn’t have rolled. Trying to make the Sabbs look better with that argument really insults students’ intelligence, Sasha.

    Reply

    V
    avatar

    So True…

    Reply

  • Jim
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    Just did a quick google on other Unions who have had similar experiences…

    2006: Imperial re-affiliate – http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2006/nov/20/highereducation.students

    2008: Imperial realise the NUS is full of dicks – http://live.cgcu.net/news/1805

    2010: Durham leave cos an NUS officer is a dick: http://live.cgcu.net/news/2103

    2011: Durham rejoin NUS after President sleeps with NUS President – http://www.palatinate.org.uk/?p=10697

    Reply

  • Jack Kanani
    avatar

    Just to add something – a lot of students at the AGM last year were a bit confused as to whether the vote meant we were joining the NUS or if we were just voting on the chance to vote etc which had to be clarified before the vote/when questions were being asked.. I think there needs to be a debate where the advantages and disadvantages are effectively highlighted and discussed.

    Need to give everyone all the info available to make an informed decision.

    On a side note would the Sabb votings have changed if NUS preferences were discussed? Not sure if it would have but thought it was an interesting point lol

    Reply

  • Questioner
    avatar

    Can I point out that the mandate given at the AGM was for a referendum on whether the Union should be affiliated to the NUS. Surely there is something in the constitution that would protect the students in SUSU from having affiliation forced upon them after such a mandate was ratified at Council?

    Reply

    Sasha
    avatar

    When I said there were other options, that was pre-AGM, i.e. we couldnt do it now (or at least, until after the referendum – but as the person above said, that’d be suicide!). Safe to say we’re not forcing anything upon them!

    Reply

    Paul
    avatar

    Hi Sasha,

    Could we have an assurance that only current Southampton Uni members (and Sabbs) will be allowed to campaign?

    Other unions have permitted the presence of NUS personnel during the campaign.

    I would like to point out that a current NUS member of staff is a former Sabbatical Officer – I feel it would only be right he would be prevented from campaigning as well.

    Reply

    Sasha Watson
    avatar

    Hi Paul,

    I’ll check with David about what the rules say if they have any clarification, and it’d be interesting to know what you’d class as campaigning – in that I mean if getting someone to do a q&a session is campaigning or not – but I’m pretty certain they won’t come to do door-knocking or leaflet flyering, judging by the emails we’ve got in response to fears that they would fund the whole campaign (again, no).

    We only had our first meeting yesterday, and it hasnt come up yet in that group, hence the bit of a wishy-washy answer, but the intention is 100% that it is a student-led, student-run campaign, and now that we’ve had our initial group meeting, it will be “proper students” (to paraphrase the sabb/ student conflict) doing the vast majority and taking ownership of it all.

    And yes – I know the chap you mean, and I’m sure he’d come under the same as the above – but just to highlight, there will probably be a barrage of old sabbaticals (NUS or not) getting involved in the debate like last time, which is hard if not impossible to police!

    Reply

    Paul
    avatar

    Hi Sasha,

    Thanks for the reply. Do appreciate the response.

    I do not feel a Q&A session will members of NUS staff would be appropriate. Not to be a cycnic, but I believe precedence has been set by not using NUS figures in the previous referendum – why would we then rely on facts given by NUS staff in a Q&A session?

    A Q&A session would be the wrong format (in my opinion) – a debate would be better – although without NUS staff/members. I believe this would better frame the issue and not give credibility to answers provided in a Q&A session as they would obviously be biased.

    Not sure what you feel about that?

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    Sasha
    avatar

    My instinct says that not having any one “clarify facts” would make the debate a bit of he says she says.. every argument could come down to “well how do you know they will/ wont do that?” – but then a Q&A/ debate can go the other way with “you would say that” – but at least it’s on record as being said from the horse’s mouth. Either way you went with a Q&A/ debate too – the questions would be unrestricted, so if the no team wanted to grill comments, they would very much be able to do so.

    The only NUS figures used would be whatever an NUS staff member said, but with the auditor’s report, I dont think that would be as necessary to be the focus of the debate, and people would be better educated to say whether a figure is right/wrong – if a number was wrong, it would make them look bad, so it’s not in their interest to do so. Plus I’m not so blindly yes to not call bullshit on someone saying “we’d make £1000s profit from affiliation” or that “NUS Extra cards are God’s gift to students” or anything – but I dont think they would say that anyway.

    There’s something in doing it too much – we wouldn’t want a debate every day with a different member, but just like if we had a referendum on staying with BUCS or something, I’d personally appreciate someone from BUCS coming to clear the air and at least address the people interested in the question.

    It’s definitely an interesting one – like most things, no perfect outcome, but I appreciate you saying it’s a concern, and when the campaign team meet up, events generally will come up – and we’ll undoubtedly discuss this issue.

  • V
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    “Had Sam wished to “sneak” us into the NUS, or to not have a proper debate, we could have taken the decision on whether to affiliate to the Trustee Board of the Union (made up of 6 Sabbatical Officers, 6 student Trustees, and 4 external Trustees), or to Union Council, made up some 60-odd representative and reflective students.”

    So we are suppose to be grateful that you gave a choice rather than just make the decision yourself? How democratic of you!

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    Sasha
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    no im not asking you to be grateful – but some people are saying that the sabbs are trying to force us into the NUS, or sneak us in – and that was meant to explain that that is completely not true (as there are much easier ways!); instead, we’re wanting as many people as possible to have a say, and have always wanted to as open as possible

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  • V
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    Also Sasha, what of the Sabbs this year are 1st/2nd years? I’m pretty certain the majority is not..

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    Sasha
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    sam, shane and myself are 2nd year sabbs, chloe, david, dean and nicole are 1st year sabbs. im not sure what you’re referring to/ implying though…

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