SRC Votes For Conditional NUS Accreditation
By Ned De Grandi
Content warning: this article mentions queerphobia and harassment.
At a lengthy meeting Tuesday night, the Student Representative Council (SRC) unanimously passed two motions to conditionally reacreddit with the National Union of Students (NUS) for 2019. ANUSA will provide funding to the NUS if it meets certain Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) relating mostly to governance. An amendment proposed by Queer* Officer Sam Neave – to restrict the NUS from using Department branding in its materials without express permission – was also incorporated into the motion.
The SRC first debated Motion 8.5, which pertains to ‘exit KPIs’. These concern a series of actions the NUS Executive which must be met during in specific time frames. ANUSA President Eden Lim moved the motion, and ANUSA Education Officer and NUS Executive Member Tanika Sibal seconded it. The motion was concerned with reaccreditation to the NUS for 2019; if the conditions are not met, ANUSA will not pay money to the NUS. Most of the exit KPIs are aimed at improving the administration and transparency of the NUS – one requires that the 2018 NUS budget is provided to all Campus Presidents who are a part of the NUS. Another KPI asks that the NUS not condone violence at any rally or protest it supports, and asks the NUS to take appropriate action to mitigate the chance of violence at these events.
Motion 8.6, also moved by Lim, outlines ‘assessable KPIs’ and sets ANUSA’s accreditation fee at $10,000. In contrast to the first motion, assessable KPIs are more general goals (e.g. requiring full-time, paid NUS National Office Bearers either meet in person or by phone at least once per academic period). The degree to which these standards are met will determine how much money ANUSA will give to the NUS. These KPIs were sent to general representatives for comment for two weeks. Despite this, the KPIs remained mostly the same since last year.
Many ANUSA representatives spoke in support of reacredditing the NUS. Lim said that it is “really important we have a national student voice”, highlighting the role the NUS had played in protecting immigrant students. Sibal was said that “[she] honestly believes having our voices heard on a national scale is vital.” She also noted problems with the NUS, saying “it’s currently not a good thing.”
One ANUSA SRC member, Kai Clark, said he wished to “express disappointment over the lack of consultation… over the KPIs”. However, he reiterated that KPIs were the best way to “change [the NUS] from the inside”, and voted in support of the motion.
Queer* Department Officer Sam Neave put forward a friendly amendment, adding another KPI that only allows the NUS to use promotional material and logos from departments with the “direct endorsements… of said member organisations department”. This follows after the NUS used ANU Queer* Department branding on material without its permission, including posters labelled “Fuck Queerphobia”.
Only accredited member universities of the NUS are allowed to vote at the National Conference in December each year. This is is where major policy decisions for the NUS are made for the following year, so if ANUSA delegates wish to reform the NUS through internal means, they must accreddit first. If the KPIs are unmet, and ANUSA does not accredit, delegates sent to the conference will be observers only, and will have no vote on policy. The last time ANUSA accredited to the NUS was in 2015.
Lim is tasked with reporting to the SRC as each KPI is completed. The SRC will debate whether the KPIs have been met next semester.
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