NSS Boycott: Open letter to NUS Leadership

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The statement below is an open letter signed by a range of student activists and officers from across the country in relation to the NSS Boycott campaign and the role of NUS within that. If you wish to add your name to the letter then please send your name and position/affiliation to [email protected], or message our Facebook page.

We, the undersigned students’ union officers and student activists, are pledging to continue to promote the boycott of the National Student Survey (NSS) until the latest round of the Higher Education reforms is withdrawn. We are also calling on the NUS leadership, in particular Vice-President Higher Education Amatey Doku, to follow its democratic mandate from NUS National Conference 2016 to lead a national boycott of the survey.

The threat posed by recent government reforms should not be underestimated. The HE Reforms will not only raise the cost of tuition, but also include the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework and making it easier for more private providers to award degrees. While the campaign against the HE Bill last year won some important concessions, such as delaying the link between TEF and fees and stricter regulations of private companies entering the market, our demands have not been met. The results of these reforms, combined with previous waves of marketisation, can already be seen with dozens of campuses announcing job cuts (some, including University of Manchester, explicitly citing government reforms as the reason). Unless radical action is taken, we will see more course closures and job losses, an even more unequal education system and staff working conditions further deteriorating.

The NSS is a key metric in the TEF, which means student feedback is directly used to raise fees, close courses and damage education. It is also the one metric students have control over. Boycotting the survey is more than a symbolic act of protest – withdrawing data gives us leverage by affecting the framework the government needs to implement its reforms. This ensures that we don’t come to the negotiating table empty-handed. Without any collective action by students, our position in fighting the TEF and marketisation will be significantly weakened. We know that the 2017 NSS boycott invalidated survey results at 12 institutions, further throwing into doubt the legitimacy of TEF metrics and putting pressure on the government.

As the largest democratic body representing students across the UK, NUS is best placed to to co-ordinate the campaign and negotiate with the government on our behalf. And while the HE BIll has passed, the fight to stop fee rises and marketization is not over. We are calling on NUS to start building now for NSS boycott 2018 and to learn from last year’s experiences to make it bigger and more effective. We are also calling on other students’ unions to join our campaign – the larger it grows, the stronger we are.

Signed by:

Beth Douglas NUS LGBT+ Officer (Women’s Place)
Ana Oppenheim NUS NEC
Amelia Horgan NUS NEC
Aliya Yule NUS NEC
Sarah Gillborn NUS NEC
Sarah Lasoye NUS NEC
Hansika Jethnani NUS NEC, Arts SU Education Officer
Deej Malik-Johnson NUS NEC, Manchester SU Campaigns Officer
Nicoline Kure Aberdeen Uni Student Association Women’s Convener
Lewis Macleod Aberdeen Uni Students’ Association Communities Officer
Tam Wilson Abertay Students Association
Leah Kahn Arts SU Activities Officer
Sahaya James Arts SU Campaigns Officer
Rebecca Harrington Brookes Union Women’s Officer
Claudia Cannon Carmarthen East & Dinefwr Labour Youth Officer HE
Taylor McGraa Education Officer Goldsmiths Students Union
Josh Chown Guildford Labour Youth Officer
Georgie Spearing KCLSU Disabled Students’ Officer
Rahma Hussein KCLSU VP Activities & Development
Douglas Carr Kent Union Ethics Officer
Rory Hughes Liverpool Guild Vice President
Sara Khan Manchester SU BME Officer
Rob Noon Manchester SU Trans Officer
Tyrone Falls NCAFC National Committee
Charlie Porter NCAFC National Committee, Free Uni of Sheffield Activist
Maisie Sanders NCAFC National Committee
Andy Warren NCAFC National Committee
Shula Kombe NCAFC National Committee
Ben Towse NCAFC National Committee
Nathan Rogers NCAFC National Committee
Monty Shield NCAFC National Committee
Zoe Salanitro NCAFC National Committee
Clementine Boucher NCAFC National Committee, Rent Strike Activist
Zac Muddle NCAFC National Committee, Bristol Labour LGBT+ Officer
Anabel Bennett NCAFC National Committee, Rent Strike Activist
Alex Booth NCAFC National Committee
Alex Stuart NCAFC National Committee, Surrey Labour Students Chair
Finn Northrop Non Portfolio Officer UEA SU
Tanju Cakar NUS Disabled Studnets Committee (Open Place)
Vijay Jackson Ordinary Members’ Representative, Scottish Labour Young Socialists
Tom Zagoria Oxford Uni SU St Anne’s College Officer
Krum Tashev President Canterbury Christchurch Students Union
Natasha Barrett Royal Holloway SU President
Chris Townsend Sheffield SU Education Committee
Charlotte O’Neil Sheffield SU Education Committee Chair
Josh Berlyne Sheffield SU Education Committee Vice-Chair
Stuart McMillan Sheffield SU Education Officer
Sarah Mcintosh Sussex SU Postgraduate Education Officer
Aisling Murray Sussex SU Society & Citizenship Officer
Lulah Brady Sussex SU Undergraduate Education Officer
Grainne Gahan Sussex SU Welfare Officer
Ayo Olatunji UCL SU BME Officer
Mark Crawford UCL SU Postgrad Officer
Justine Canady UCL SU Women’s Officer
Dan Davidson UCU Surrey Branch Secretary 2016-2017
Gary Spedding Ulster University Students Union Student Activist
Laura Tidd Undergraduate Academic Officer Durham Students Union
Mason Ammar Undergraduate Education Officer Bristol Students Union
Belle Linford University of Birmingham Guild of Students Disabled Student’s Officer
Jamie Jordon UWE SU Education Officer
Connor Woodman Warwick For Free Education Student Activist
Emily Dunford Warwick SU Postgrad Officer
Hope Worsdale Warwick SU President
Rida Vaquas
Young Labour West Mids Rep of Momentum NCG, NCAFC National Committee
Danny Filer Labour Students London Regional Coordinator, UCL SU Labour President
Dimitri Cautain SOAS SU Co-President Welfare & Campaigns
Nisha Phillipps SOAS SU Co-President Democracy & Education
Halimo Hussien SOAS SU Co-President Equality & Liberation
Mehdi Baraka SOAS SU Co-President Activties & Events
Flo Brookes Sheffield SU Sports Officer
Santhana Gopalakrishnan Sheffield SU International Students’ Officer
Celeste Jones Sheffield SU Women’s Officer
Megan McGrath Sheffield SU Development Officer
Tom Brindley Sheffield SU Activities Officer

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