With another year of FXU presidential campaigns coming to a close this Friday, political conversation has been rife with the interest of the NUS’s future at Falmouth University becoming a hot topic in this years’ elections discussion.
Noah Thompson, who is running for FXU Falmouth President says in his campaign video: “We’re calling for a disaffiliation referendum due to its poor record on homophobia, anti-Semitism and general under-representation.”
His video has sparked some controversy in the election, and a debate which was to be held Thursday and unfortunately cancelled.
Truthfal spoke to Community and Welfare FXU president, Harry Bishop, who is re-running for the position, about the spark in debate of the future of NUS: “I think that it is great that the students are engaging in politics.
I think it is great that we can have these conversations because it is quite hard to engage students in the FXU to take part in any conversational debate.
As the current FXU president, it is nice to see some hot topics and real debate happening.”
FXU Falmouth President campaigner, Noah Thompson also agrees that debate is important and told Truthfal: “The debate itself is necessary because it’s not one that has ever really happened at this university and over the last few years 11 student’s unions have voted in favour of leaving the NUS so those students who feel the same way on our own campus are certainly not alone.”
There is a reason for concern on the role of NUS in the university as there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the organisation.
“There are concerns and in 2016 Malia Bouattia was elected (NUS President) and it was found that her comments could be anti-Semitic.”
As well as the controversy surrounding Malia Bouattia being elected as NUS president they have also said gay men are not oppressed enough and not a marginalised group within the LGBTQ+ movement and even refused to pass a motion condemning ISIS for fears it would condemn Muslims as a whole.
“With all these controversies surrounding the NUS why haven’t they been shunned and shut down yet? It is because presidents in all universities want to give their voice for the students and instead of running from these controversies, they want to solve them and build a stronger union to improve student’s university experiences.
We have submitted motions this year to the national conference and I will be on stage as the delegate, fighting for different causes that will benefit our students.
It’s easy to say let’s disaffiliate, let’s take back control but actually when you break it down there are tons of benefits to the NUS.”
Even though the Falmouth debate was cancelled, there is still the National Conference, which will be held from 27th-29th March in Glasgow, Scotland. This will allow the FXU presidents elected to go to the conference to speak out for Falmouth students and put forward motions that will benefit them.
However, the cancellation of Thursday debate cannot be ignored and FXU Falmouth President campaigner, Callie Edwards told Truthfal: “It’s a shame that the NUS debate is not going forward especially as it is a hot topic within this elections, hopefully, the debating society will use this extra time to increase marketing to ensure that it has the best student turn out possible so that we can really talk out these issues.”
Thompson added: “The FXU didn’t like the fact we as a pro NUS referendum campaign were doing much better than expected and eventually threw any idea of free speech and open debate out of the window, which I think is the sad state we tend to find university’s attached to the NUS.
… You don’t allow them a platform to discuss their perspective and viewpoint, you just shut them down and pretend they aren’t there, which I think has left a lot of students feeling very disappointed this evening.”
With the campaigning coming to a close on Friday 22nd at 12pm, the controversy and debate surrounding NUS will still continue and it will be up to the new and past elected presidents to prove to the students why it is or isn’t necessary for our university to stay in this very large and very powerful union.