The National Union of Students (NUS) president, Megan Dunn, has become a board member of the “Stay In” campaign for Britain’s European Union referendum, without even consulting the NUS’s national executive committee (NEC), let alone the nation’s seven million students which she claims to represent.
Dunn joins fellow panelist Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Labour’s Lord Mandelson and General Sir. Peter Wall, who was head of the British Army until last year.
“Yet again despite being on the NEC, which is supposed to be the highest democratic body between conferences, I and even NUS’s full time officers knew f*ck all about this,” wrote student activist and Green Party member Sahaya James on Facebook.
She said the decision was “completely without consultation” and suggested Dunn is “putting the NUS into disrepute as an undemocratic, unaccountable and hierarchical organization.” Adding: “It’s getting beyond laughable now just how much power Megan has or at least acts as if she has.”
James was just one of many student taken by surprise. A lot of the left-wing students, however, who dominate the NUS, were most concerned by the fact that Dunn will share a platform with businessmen, an ex-head of the British Army and other “dodgy” people on the board.
There's loads of arguments to stay in the EU. But a campaign led by a bunch of poverty-paying corporate titans? No thanks. #StrongerIn
— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) October 12, 2015
“Head of the National Union of Students (NUS) has decided to campaign to stay IN the EU, but how many of the students she represents has she actually asked? None, it seems,” wrote Get Britain Out on Facebook.
“Proud to be joining the board of the Stronger In Campaign. NUS conf voted overwhelmingly to campaign to stay in EU,” wrote Dunn of Twitter.
There was a motion introduced by international students at this year’s NUS conference to campaign for “in,” which passed. Those opposing it were accused of “xenophobia” on social media. However, the NUS is notoriously undemocratic and so intrinsically left wing that most right wing students do not bother voting for their delegates.
“That’s explicitly not the point; the point is that it’s pretty awful that Megan can’t have the decency to at least let other officers know,” replied Open University student Alasdair Clark on Facebook.
President of NUS is on the board of campaign to keep Britain in EU, that alone is nearly enough to make me vote for #Brexit!
— Matthew Roe (@roematthew) October 11, 2015
“Cooperation and collaboration are at the heart of the movement I lead as president of the National Union of Students,” wrote Dunn in a column for The Independent announcing she would join the campaign – a column in which she was brutally honest about the financial incentives behind her decision:
“The EU supports our education sector in Britain and ploughs close to a billion pounds a year into higher education funding and research alone… This income is increasingly important. EU funding now provides an additional 15 per cent on top of the UK government’s own science and research budget.”