UMIST joins NUS quitters

August 21, 1998

STUDENTS at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology are to disaffiliate from their national union.

UMIST students' association will become only the second university student body not to be a member of the National Union of Students. The other is Imperial College, London.

But the NUS claims students at UMIST were not properly consulted and is looking into whether the decision was taken legally.

UMIST student union decided last year to change its constitution to deal with inquoracy and wipe out "irrelevant" policies relating to foreign and political issues. The change, which left the union with no policy on affiliations, had to be ratified by UMIST's university council because not enough students turned up to the general meetings.

Three days after the council recognised the new constitution, along with a name change from UMIST students' union to UMIST students' association, the students' finance committee decided no longer to affiliate to NUS.

Student president Sabeh Behzad said: "We all recognise the need for a national student body and, on the whole, agree with the aims of the NUS. However, we feel that the NUS has not represented or addressed our needs for a very long time and rarely achieves its aims."

He said it was felt the Pounds ,000 subscription fee was too expensive.

But an NUS spokeswoman said: "This was not passed democratically by a general meeting. It was taken out of the hands of the students. How are they going to feel when they arrive next term and have no NUS card?" She said it was normal to hold a referendum of students before disaffiliating. Disaffiliation from NUS takes more than a year and UMIST students' association will have to continue paying its affiliation fee to the NUS during this time.

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