Today we found out, following discussion at the NUS Trustee Board, that the new CEO of NUS could have a salary of £100K; that’s up over 16% from the current £86K. When important campaigns, such as that of Mature and Part-Time Students have budgets as small as £4000, I question how such a decision is in the best interests of students and Student Unions.
Up and down the country, Unions have to make tough decisions on what they spend their money on, to be able to afford NUS affiliation fees. We choose to affiliate to be part of a bigger movement, but also to get support and services. When administrative costs are so high, and campaign budgets so low, I have to question if NUS has got to balance right, and if students are getting the best they could from their National Union.
The proposed increase in the CEO’s salary is enough to increase the 2013/2014 Further Education Zone budget by over 50%, or triple this year’s Postgraduate Students Campaign budget. While I am not against high salaries where they are shown to be needed and deserved, the scale of this increase does ring alarm bells.
The entire country is facing tough economic times, and it is in these times, more than ever, that NUS needs to put as much of its resources as possible with the campaigns, supporting ordinary students on the ground. I will be working to make sure there is a wholesale change in the mindset behind the NUS budget; where students get the priority, and the leadership have to justify salaries over 50% larger than a Member of Parliament’s to the membership. It’s time for students to stand up and set a new direction for our National Union. It’s time for an NUS we all feel part of. It’s time for #OneNationNUS.
I wanted to take this opportunity to apologies for not being with you today. I hope you are having a fantastic conference and enjoying the wonderful city of Newport. Unfortunately an issue has arisen at Brunel that means I’ve made the decision to cancel my visit.
At Brunel we are proud to host the largest population of Syrian Students in the country. Following the recent crisis in Syria the Union of Brunel Students have been doing all we can to protect, support and help our Syrian friends during this troubling time; from lobbying the University to defer fees, fighting for provisions to gain emergency grants, and making sure that those with families have all the support they need.
Whilst for obvious reasons I won’t go into specific details of the issue, I am pleased to say that this is an isolated case, and that the Union is doing everything within its power, with the cooperation of the University, to find a resolution.
Whilst I was very much looking forward to seeing you today, it would be wrong for me to put politics first. I was elected by the students of Brunel and they must remain my number one priority. It is days like this that we remember why we became involved in our Unions; not for some personal gain or to push a massive political agenda, but like so many of you here today, and others up and down the country; to simply to stand up for students in their hour of need.
I look forward to meeting many of you in the coming weeks for what I am sure will be an exciting election. If you have any questions please add me on Facebook, tweet me, or drop me a call.
Best of luck in the Rugby at the weekend, and enjoy Toni, Vicki and everyone’s favourite Rod!