The NUS spent £60K on a demo that got no media coverage

By: Toby Gould

Updated: NUS asks us to "correct" our article, claim it is "inaccurate"

Source/ Copyright: twitter.com/zoezackhouse

Unless you take an active role in the NUS, or your student union, then you will be completely forgiven for missing the NUS' 'United for Education' march through London. Last Saturday (19th November), thousands of students (according to the NUS) marched through the capital to "demand free, quality further and higher education, accessible to all".

Controversial NUS President, Malia Bouattia, addressed the crowd, saying:
"The demonstration was just a start. The work now needs to continue in each institution to put pressure on MPs and managers up and down the country to reject the reforms and to change course. We will continue to fight for a free, accessible and liberated education for all."

According to the NUS website, 60 coaches took students to the demo from around the country. However, many critics of the NUS have noticed the little press coverage the demonstration received and criticised the NUS for not being effective - having previously failed to prevent rises in tuition fees and the abolition of maintenance grants.

NUSceptics, a group which opposes the NUS and calls for universities to disaffiliate, said on their Facebook page:
"the event failed to gain any real traction in the media, and did not make any headlines... The NUS spent £60,000 of your SU's money of this demo- you would have thought with that expenditure, it would have had at least some exposure!"

Will this demonstration change anything? No. It's another example of the NUS, funded by us, wasting money on demonstrations that can increase the personal standing of NUS 'officials' but achieve nothing in the big picture. The government isn't about to change its policy on education because of this, and the broad nature of the demo means that it's difficult to continue it as a long-term campaign (the only way we can actually achieve change).  A few people may have read the Huffington Post article on this, or the Evening Standard's, but the majority of people won't have seen it and those who did will ignore it.  

A waste of £60,000? Yes.  When will the NUS learn?

(Updated) We contacted the NUS for comment.  An anonymous NUS "spokesperson" told us that "There was press coverage of the demo in Sky News, the Daily Mail, BBC, Evening Standard, Independent, Telegraph, Guardian and Press Association. There was also coverage in others like VICE, Dazed, Al Jazeera, Yahoo, various student media outlets, regional press and some international press."  While this is not inaccurate, articles covering the demo were rarely front-page news and certainly did not gain the same coverage which protests against tuition fees rises did back when they were raised to £9,000/ year.

We asked about the reported £60,000 cost but were told that the NUS doesn't comment on the costs of individual projects.  Do students not deserve to know where their money is being spent?  

The NUS spokesperson told us they "would appreciate it if you could correct this article, as it is inaccurate".  None of our reporting in this article was inaccurate.  Information was taken from the NUS website and a statement taken from NUSceptics' Facebook page, and the article concluded with opinion.  The only aspect of the article which may be described as "inaccurate" is the claim that the NUS spent £60,000 on the demo. This is a figure that the NUS failed to deny but that was reported widely across student media.

Read the full statement the NUS sent us:

We don’t have exact figures, but turnout was estimated to be about 15,000. 

It’s not our practice to comment on the cost of individual projects but the content of the demo made a significant impact and helped to kick-start further campaigning work. 

There was press coverage of the demo in Sky News, the Daily Mail, BBC, Evening Standard, Independent, Telegraph, Guardian and Press Association. There was also coverage in others like VICE, Dazed, Al Jazeera, Yahoo, various student media outlets, regional press and some international press. 

It’s come to my attention you have written about this question here [this article], and would appreciate it if you could correct this article, as it is inaccurate.
The NUS spent £60K on a demo that got no media coverage The NUS spent £60K on a demo that got no media coverage Reviewed by Student Voices on 17:41 Rating: 5

No comments:

Share your views here! But read our Comment Policy first, found on the about page.

Powered by Blogger.