Due to Oxford SU budgeting issues, Oxford’s NUS Delegates have been told that they will be representing Oxford SU remotely at this year’s NUS National Conference.
Delegates were told in an email seen by OxStu that “accommodation, travel and meal budgets for the numbers we had planned to attend the conference are not feasible this year.”
This will mean that delegates will not be able to participate in workshop sessions, although they will be able to watch the livestream and vote.
The conference is taking place on the 15th and 16th March in Harrogate where delegates will “come together to grasp at the root of the big issues facing students today”.
The NUS (National Union of Students) tells delegates to “expect feedback and dialogue with our officers and across the movement on what has been happening plus sessions building our core campaigning skills to take this work forward.”
Oxford SU said they had come to the decision to cancel Oxford’s in-person attendance due to “rising costs and the fact that accommodation is no longer provided by the NUS.” They said they will provide a “dedicated space for delegates with refreshments and lunches.”
The news comes as the SU is preparing for a referendum on its membership of the NUS. The referendum is due to be held in 7th week, with results being announced on Wednesday 1st March. Voters will answer the question: “Oxford SU is currently affiliated to the National Union of Students (United Kingdom). Should it continue to be affiliated: yes or no?”
Oxford’s NUS Delegates were elected in the SU elections a few weeks ago.
Oxford SU has been dealing with financial troubles for several years, with an exclusive OxStu report revealing that the SU had consistently made a loss in the last five financial years.
Caleb van Ryneveld, one of the NUS delegates, commented, ‘The National Conference is supposed to be an opportunity for delegates to represent student interests to the National Union of Students. Oxford contributes over £20,000 each year to the NUS in membership dues, yet despite this the organisation has refused to cover costs for Oxford delegates to travel to the conference. This deprives us of the chance to engage with NUS workshops or fully participate in the electoral processes. This only further highlights the contempt with which the NUS treats its members and strengthens the case to leave the unrepresentative and anti-democratic organisation which cares little for the interests of Oxford students.’
The NUS and Oxford SU have been approached for comment.
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