How NUS lost its way

December 19, 1997

THE TWO letters from National Union of Students hacks you printed (THES, November 21) illustrate beautifully the two key ways in which the organisation has lost its way.

First, the NUS mistakes the opinions of the self-declared student leadership for the opinions of the student body. The abolition of the grant is not accepted by a "vast swathe of mainstream opinion" among students, nor is it accepted by the majority of the electorate.

The second problem is far more crucial in the short term. The line it has taken, that the abolition of the grant is in the best interests of future students but that fees are unacceptable, is an inconsistent nonsense. If paying more to support yourself at university does not deter you, then why should fees? At least the government's plans exempt the poorest from fees, but no one is exempt from the abolition of maintenance support. The performance of the NUS on this issue is shameful.

James Mackenzie Kincaple, Fife

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