Whitewash failure for Oxford candidates at NUS Conference

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Nathan Akehurst, the only Oxford candidate in the NUS Conference elections, failed to win a seat in the ‘Block of 15’.

 Akehurst, a third-year History student at Lincoln, said he was “not altogether disappointed”.

 “Block was full of good candidates this year with more people than usual standing, so I’m not altogether disappointed.”

 “I still think it’s a shame that the National Executive is only elected by a few hundred delegates,” he added.

 Tom Rutland, OUSU President, praised the NUS for what he perceives to be its benefits to students.

 “Students don’t need to be elected to NUS positions to get something out of membership – whether it’s a strong national voice for students or saving hundreds of pounds with an NUS Extra Card, everyone has something to gain through NUS membership,” he said.

 At the earlier NUS Disabled Students’ Conference, Teddy Hall fresher James Elliot won a place on the Disabled Students Committee and NUS National Executive Council.

 Elliot welcomed his chance to “voice an alternative strategy for NUS as a more radical, grassroots-led campaigning organisation, one that sticks up for all students and defends an education system that ought to be free, public and democratic”.

 Elliot continued: “The NUS NEC hasn’t always made the right calls in the past, and I pledge to be a transparent representative for both the Disabled Students Campaign and students in Oxford, letting you know when meetings are coming up, and canvassing thoughts on policy.”

 NUS Conference involved 1,000 delegates voting for motions including opposition to privatisation of student loans, opposition to UKIP and support for the UCU’s marking boycott.

 Despite the lack of Oxford electoral victories, Rutland claimed Conference “was excellent.”

“We’ve set priorities on a plethora of issues facing students: tackling dodgy landlords and letting agents, reforming curriculums and assessment to make sure that they get students the best education possible and improving access to postgraduate education.”

 “In conjunction with local student unions, NUS is making sure that students aren’t taken for a ride and that they will be a force to contend with at the next general election,” he added.