Motions and amendments to NUS conference


Deadlines for motions and amendments to NUS National Conference is on March 1st. All unions can submit 1400 words of text by passing them through their own structures (GMs, councils and execs) and following the instructions on this form. Below are some suggested motions from NCAFC, which total just under 1400 words. More motions will be posted up here shortly.


Amendment to 304


Conference Believes:

1. The idea of universal access to tertiary education cannot be separated from how it is funded.
2. If we want to be taken seriously by the public, we have to argue for a funding solution that is coherent and principled – not just for what is immediately possible through negotiation.
3. The welfare state was not built because the Labour movement asked for ‘universal access’ to healthcare and education and then conceded on funding before beginning the argument: universally accessible services are by their nature free.
4. The basic principle of public services is that they benefit everyone in society and should be funded by everyone – primarily by the rich and big business.
5. Bosses and businesses, not students, are the biggest financial winners out of the system of higher education: the UCU has repeatedly pointed this out with hard evidence.
6. User contributions in public services – in this case tuition fees or ‘graduate contributions’ – lead inevitably to structural privatisation. If our experience of the last few years has not taught us that, it has taught us nothing.
7. If we are fighting for free education in FE, it makes no sense to argue for a graduate contribution in HE and at the same time argue for a new united conception of ‘tertiary education’.

Conference Resolves:
1. Our fundamental and principled position on education funding should be that it is free at all and any level.
2. To call for this to be funded by a more progressive taxation system, finding new academic and innovative ways to express this



Amendment to 302

Conference Believes

1. As partners in education, students should be involved in all areas of how their institutions are run.

2. The higher education white paper, and the government’s privatisation agenda as a whole, presents a fundamental new threat to democracy in education. We cannot effective fight for higher education as a public service without a strategy to affect how it is governed.

3. Vice Chancellors and university managements are often regarded as the voice of their institution, and have considerable powers to alter the way their institution operates and make cuts.

4. How we learn and how we are taught is deeply political, and quality should be defined by students and their students’ union

5. Universities should be independent and democratic, and should ultimately be run by students and staff for the public good, rather than by unaccountable managers.

Conference Resolves

1. To launch a major new campaign – ‘Take Back Your Campus’ – to

  • Win a public argument for democratic university governance, and see it fought for on every campus
  • Defend and extend the right and ability of students, staff and activists to fight for their rights and the future of education

2. To conduct a study of the present state of campus democracy, taking into account the vast range of systems currently at work.

3. To link the campaign to a similar push for the democratisation of FE.


Amendment to 603:

Conference believes
1.Rising rents and deteriorating housing conditions is as much of – if not more of – a barrier to access than rising tuition fees. We need to launch an immediate fight on housing.

Conference further believes
1. We need to do more than just say that things are bad. Landlords – including institutions – can only get away with charging extortionate rents because students are not organised.
2. Tenants unions are a potentially hugely powerful force, and could take off very quickly in most cities.

3. We should have no qualms about mobilising non violent direct action against high rents and exploitation.

4. Any student tenants union must have the ultimate aim of creating a union for every tenant – not just for students.
Conference resolves
1. To support the development of regional and city-wide student tenants unions. These unions should be self-organising, democratic and self-sustaining, with regular meetings and branch structures.

2. To work with other unions and organisations to create tenants unions for everyone.

3. To produce campaign materials and a charter of demands – including:

  • abolishing letting agents fees (as has just been won in Scotland);
  • a new deal on housing tax, taxing empty homes and scrapping council tax;
  • the abolition of short lets and introduction of permanent tenancies; and
  • rent controls.

4. To raise broader questions of the cost of private rented accommodation, lack of council housing, access to and level of Housing Benefit and other benefits.

5. To campaign for universities to act as guarantors for international students.


Amendment to 503

Conference Believes

1. External trustees can give valuable expertise. However, there is absolutely no good reason why unelected non students should be allowed to vote in our unions.

Conference Resolves

1. Within the bounds of constituent member autonomy, to issue guidance that only elected students should be full voting members of Trustee Boards. Externals should advise, but should not have a say in final decisions.


Amendment to 702

Conference Believes:

1. There are a number of unelected non-members on the Trustee Board. No other major union would tolerate this situation

Conference Further Believes:

1. External trustees can give valuable expertise. However, there is absolutely no good reason why unelected non students should be allowed to vote.

Conference Resolves

1. To alter the Rules so that unelected non-students cannot vote at Trustee Board.


Amendment to 702

Conference Believes:

1. Zone Conferences are smaller and less representative than National Conference. Hardly any non-sabbatical officers actually go to them, and not all unions can afford to send delegates.

2. The Block is the only proportional election of NEC members at present.

Conference Further Believes

1. Proportional elections are good, and allow more talented and politically diverse people to get on to NEC.

2. Zone Committees are a good idea. However, given how unrepresentative Zone Conferences are, it is inappropriate that they should elect NEC members.

Conference Resolves:

1. To expand the Block of 15 to a Block of 20, with the same proportionate quotas for FE and Women, and to scrap Zone seats on the NEC.


Amendment to 703

Amendment 5

DELETES: CR10, CR11, CR12, CR13


Conference Believes:

1. At present, Zones have the power to submit proposals ahead of Unions. These proposals are often the only thing that conference gets to debate in zones.

Conference Further Believes:

1. The Zone proposal priority system was a nice idea but hasn’t practically worked

2. Member unions should have the right to raise policy questions inside NUS’s structures. Without this, we are not really a democracy.

3. Simply not publishing motions is not an answer to anything: it’s the equivalent of saying that unions shouldn’t expect NUS to be democratic, or to listen to their issues.

4. Limiting unions’ submission to 3 Zones is ridiculous: our members exist and have issues in all the Zones. The problem isn’t that unions have too many opinions on too many things; it’s that conference is too short.

Conference Resolves:

1. To remove the power of Zones to place its recommendations at the top of the agenda, and to make Zones have the same submission entitlements as Constituent Members.

2. To mandate another day of National Conference for 2014, for better democracy and better accessibility


Amendment to 703


Conference Believes:

1. NUS National Conference has far more procedural democracy in it – the ability to challenge the chair and to rearrange the agenda – than most trade union congresses. This is a good thing.

2. The chairs of National Conference are appointed by the President, and are almost always political allies of the President.

Conference Further Believes:

1. Democracy is sometimes messy and frustrating, but it is better than having a conference where the Chair and President have all the power.

2. Raising the bar on procedural motions to one third of delegates would make it almost impossible for most delegates ever to raise a procedural motion.

3. Some Zones are more controversial than others in some years; delegates should get to decide that.

Conference Resolves:

1. To change the requirement of 100 delegates to hear a procedural motion to “one fifth of those present”.

2. To insert rules so that the Chairs of National Conference are elected by and within the NEC by a proportional Single Transferable Vote election, and then allocated to Zones and sessions by the National President.




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