PRESS RELEASE: NUS TO BALLOT MEMBERS ON RISK ASSESSING BOYCOTT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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The National Union of Students (NUS) announced on Friday that it will ballot all members on whether to publish a risk assessment and an equality impact assessment of the proposed boycott of the National Student Survey (NSS).
All members will be asked, “Should NUS conduct and publish a risk assessment and equality impact assessment before finalising the NSS boycott / sabotage action?” The ballot was demanded by officers at 35 students’ unions.
In April, student delegates to NUS National Conference voted to boycott the National Student Survey until government scrap the proposed higher education (HE) reforms. By refusing to fill in the survey, students will disrupt government’s flagship proposal, the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), along with other key market mechanisms. The motion passed at NUS National Conference stated that, “The HE reforms currently being considered by the government represent a fundamental attack on the idea of education as a public service. It is a blueprint for the marketisation of the sector, introducing private providers and variable fees, and orientating the whole sector towards the needs of employers.”
The HE reforms include plans to raise tuition fees and encourage private companies to set up universities. The White Paper on Higher Education also claimed that government has no duty to prevent the closure of public universities. Josh Berlyne, a Sheffield University student, said, “Calling a national ballot to risk assess a boycott? It’s ludicrous. Public education is in crisis right now, and these people are worried about students not filling in a survey. Students and academics are crying out to stop the HE reforms—2,300 at Sheffield University signed an open letter saying so. And while all this is going on, there are students’ union officers who want to slow down the only serious proposal to stop these reforms.”
Sahaya James, student at University of the Arts and NUS National Executive Council member, said, “On one level, calling for a risk assessment of the boycott is laughable. But it’s also insulting. Risk assessments exist to prevent deaths and serious injuries at work. They’re not meant to be used as an underhand tactic to prevent unions from taking effective action. It’s a joke and a disgrace.”
More information on the ballot can be found here: http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/groups/shape-our-work/articles/chief-returning-officer-opens-national-ballot