NUS told 'oppose boycott'

March 24, 2006

An emergency motion calling on student leaders to review their uncritical support for lecturers' industrial action will be submitted for debate at the National Union of Students' annual conference next week.

Between ten and twenty local student unions are thought to have backed an emergency motion questioning the NUS's unequivocal support for the academic boycott of assessment, even though the action is calculated to deliberately harm students.

The motion, which was still to be approved for debate as The Times Higher went to press, calls on the NUS executive to review its policy relating to the boycott tactics of the Association of University Teachers and Natfhe.

In a separate move, several student unions have written to the NUS criticising it for supporting the boycott. A letter from Leicester University Student Union says: "We feel very strongly that a marking boycott is simply not in the interests of students and, as student representatives, we feel the NUS exists to oppose any form of academic disturbance to students, rather than endorsing it."

Irfan Zaman, president of Liverpool University Guild of Students, said: "It seems like the NUS leadership is putting the ideology of union solidarity before the interests of its members."

NUS president Kat Fletcher said that emergency motions had still to be confirmed by the conference steering committee.

  • Delegates at next week's NUS conference in Blackpool will elect a new president from seven candidates. These include Gemma Tumelty, the union's national secretary, Sian Davies, the students with disabilities officer and Pav Akhtar, the black students officer.

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