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Friday, 23rd March 2018

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NUS Conference Model Motions 2015 – free education, anti-racism, Palestine and climate change

By Aaron Kiely, NUS National Executive

NUS National Conference

Here are some model motions for NUS National Conference 2015. We are supporting the Student Assembly Against Austerity’s model motions on range of issues from free education to opposing racist scapegoating and we have also drafted a two other important motions on Palestine and climate change.

NUS National Conference 2015 takes place in April and is the place where next year’s policies and priorities for the national student movement are decided.

Every Students’ Union has the right to submit policies – and every student has the right to put forward policies you want your Students’ Union to be putting forward.

Below you will find the following model motions:
1. National student demonstration for free education and against student poverty
2. Stand Up To Racism and Scapegoating
3. No cuts and fees for FE – bring back EMA
4. Free education
5. Support the People’s Assembly National Demo
6. Stop climate chance – yes to renewables – keep fossil fuels in the ground!
7. Justice for Palestine

If you agree with some or all of these motions please help make sure they are debated at National Conference by submitting them through your SU. The total word limit for SUs is 1,400 – the motions below come to more than this limit, which means you’ll have to choose the ones you like best for submission from your SU.

The deadline for Students’ Unions to submit policies to be discussed at the conference is fast approaching – Friday 6 March at 12noon It is important to get moving now because each Students’ Union must decide what it sends to conference through your Union’s democratic structures (for example an Executive Committee meeting or Student Council meeting). Once the motions have been agreed through your Union’s democratic structures your SU will then need to submit them to NUS.

If you have any questions or need advice on how to submit these motions through your Students’ Union please get in touch by emailing


Word count: 183

NUS Conference believes:
1. The government’s drive towards the marketization of education has led to savage budget cuts, the most expensive tuition fees in Europe and soaring student debt.
2. A new movement for free education has emerged nationally and on campuses, including a 10,000 strong national demonstration for free education last November.
3. Students are facing a cost of living crisis. The cost of student housing, both university owned and private, continues to increase year on year. The lack of well-paid part time work, rising energy bills and increasing travel costs means that many students are forced into taking multiple jobs or working excessive hours, hitting the welfare of students hard.
4. Students across the country are campaigning to tackle student poverty from calling for the cost of housing to be brought down to demanding a national living wage be brought in.

NUS Conference resolves to:
1. Organise a national demonstration in the autumn term under the banner of free education and for serious action to tackle student poverty. No to cuts, tuition fees, student debt and the cost of living crisis.


Word count: 280 words

NUS Conference believes:
1. NUS must actively campaign against racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and fascism as these are dangers which threaten the welfare of millions of students.
2. As the cuts bite politicians are increasingly calling for draconian ‘anti-immigration’ policies and scapegoating migrant workers and Black communities in a bid to distract people from the real cause of falling living standards: the government’s austerity agenda.
3. Our campuses are not immune from this racist climate; Nazi swastikas have been daubed on campuses; further attacks on civil liberties and divisive rhetoric surrounding the PREVENT agenda; and students have been assaulted and even killed in racist attacks.
4. The student movement must never give a platform to fascists because fascism seeks to eliminate free, speech, democracy and annihilate its opponents and minorities.
5. The lesson of the 1930s was that the Nazis used violence to gain power and carry out a Holocaust. They slaughtered millions – in the gas chambers and concentration camps – of Jewish people, Eastern Europeans, communists, trade unionists, Romani, LGBT and disabled people.
6. Giving fascists a platform in the student movement destroys the safe spaces our campuses must be for the diverse student population.

NUS Conference resolves to:
1. To actively challenge racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and fascism.
2. To continue campaigning against the government’s divisive PREVENT agenda, which sees Muslim students unfairly targeted and harassed on campus.
3. To reaffirm NUS’ No Platform for Fascists policy and continue to campaign for its full implementation within NUS and all Students’ Unions.
4. Reaffirm our support for NUS organising an annual Anti-Racism/Anti-Fascism Conference and providing adequate resources for this work.
5. Work with unions and anti-racist organisations to mark UN Anti-Racism Day.


Word count: 216 words


Conference believes:

1. The Coalition Government has imposed massive cuts to Further Education over the past 5 years, removed vital financial support to hundreds of thousands of FE students and introduced a disgraceful fees and loans system for FE adult leaners.
2. The scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) has had a hugely detrimental impact, hitting the poorest families, women and Black students.
3. Adult education funding has been reduced by government cuts by 35% since 2010, whilst the budget for 16-18 year olds has been slashed by £250 million this year alone.
4. Government grants for 24+ FE students have been replaced with loans, with a disproportionate impact on women students who are the majority of adult learners in FE.

Conference further believes:
1. That the government needs to reverse all cuts to FE and instead provide a well, publicly funded FE which is free and accessible for all.
2. That the next government should bring back EMA. We need a new, bigger and better EMA that provides greater levels of financial support to more students.

Conference resolves:
1. Campaign for free education for all in FE – scrap fees and loans.
2. Launch a major national campaign to bring back EMA with national days of action and a protest outside the Department of Education.


Word count: 220

NUS Conference believes:
1. There is an alternative to paying for university through tuition fees or a graduate tax – public investment for free education.
2. Last year Germany scrapped tuition fees – proving once again that free education is possible.
3. The proposal to replace tuition fees with a ‘graduate tax’ is simply replacing one form of student debt with another. Under both systems the experience for the overwhelming majority of students would be the same: to pay tens of thousands of pounds for a university degree over the course of a number of decades after graduation, taking the form of automatic deductions from graduates’ wages every month.
4. Higher education is a public good and should be free for everyone to access.
5. Free education would pay for itself. The government’s own figures show that for every £1 invested in higher education the economy expands by £2.60.
6. If the government increased tax on corporations and the wealthy, scrapped Trident or reduced military spending, billions of pounds would be made available to fund free education and other vital public services.

NUS Conference resolves to:
1. Oppose and campaign against all methods of charging students for education – including tuition fees and a ‘graduate tax’ which is nothing more than a euphemism for ‘student debt’.
2. To campaign for free education.


Word count: 192

NUS Conference believes:
1. 5 years of austerity by this coalition government has led to the biggest fall in living standards for the majority since records began in 1856.
2. Osborne declared in his Autumn Statement there’s still 60% of cuts to come and this government plans to take public spending back to 1930s levels.
3. The deficit is growing and now stands close to £100bn
4. All major Westminster parties remain committed to a programme of austerity.
5. The richest 1000 people in the UK have doubled their wealth since the recession hit in 2008.

NUS Conference further believes:
1. Whatever the result of the election austerity looks likely to continue, therefore a broad, united and national movement that can challenge this will still be necessary.
2. No solution to the crisis will come from any form of form, Islamophobia or the scapegoating of immigrants.

NUS Conference resolves:
1. To support and mobilise students to attending the People’s Assembly Against Austerity national demonstration and festival taking place in June 2015 which calls for the ending of austerity.
2. Affiliate to the People’s Assembly Against Austerity and support its campaigns and initiatives.


Word count: 337 words

NUS Conference believes:
1. Climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity.
2. The worst effects of climate change can be avoided – but only with much greater political will and urgent action to cut carbon emissions.
3. The International Energy Agency report that increased ‘fracking’ would lead to a 3.5 degree centigrade temperature rise, well above the 1.5 degree acknowledged as the tipping point for runaway climate change.
4. To stop disastrous climate change, four fifths of all existing fossil fuels must be left in the ground.
5. As well as reducing the impact of climate change, increased investment in renewable energy will also contribute to the stabilisation and long-term reduction in energy prices. More jobs are also created for each unit of electricity generated from renewable sources than from fossil fuels.
6. Following the lack of progress in the 2014 Lima talks we need maximum action around the December UN climate summit in Paris to secure a fair and effective agreement to tackle climate change.

NUS Conference further believes:
1. That the government has failed to take action to reduce climate-changing carbon emissions.
2. Instead of taking urgent action on decarbonisation of our energy supply, the government have instead chosen to focus on lining the pockets of their friends in the fossil fuel industry, with a new dash for gas through fracking.
3. People and Planet’s ‘Fossil Free’ campaign has had major successes in pressuring universities and colleges to divest from fossil fuels. SOAS has agreed to freeze its investments in fossil fuels and the University of Glasgow has announced that it will divest its £129 million endowment from fossil fuels.

NUS Conference resolves:
1. To mobilise students to the protests against climate change around the Paris talks – we need serious commitment to slash carbon emissions.
2. To mobilise students to press the Government to take tougher action on climate change.
3. To continue working with SUs to support People and Planet’s ‘Fossil Free’ campaign.
4. Support Students’ Unions in moving towards running on renewable energy.


Word count: 283 words

NUS Conference believes:
1. In the summer of 2014 Israel invaded Gaza and launched a massive military assault. Over 2,000 Palestinians were killed and over 10,000 people were injured and hundreds of thousands were displaced. The overwhelming majority of those killed and injured have been civilians, including hundreds of children as homes, hospitals, refuges and schools have been deliberately targeted.
2. The Israeli military has directly attack the right to education in Gaza. UN schools and the Islamic University of Gaza were amongst the infrastructure Israel targeted during its assault on Gaza.
3. The UK government is directly arming Israel with £180m worth of weapons sold in the period 2008-2012, including F16 fighter jet components, assault rifles, armoured vehicles and ammunition.
4. The Palestinians’ human rights, including the right to education has been particularly hard hit by the siege on Gaza. Basic educational equipment including books, paper,computers, stationary and desks are all in limited supply and Israel routinely cuts off Gaza’s electricity supply. Alongside this, the siege traps 1.7m people in a tiny strip of land with severely limited access to basic supplies such as food, safe water and medicine.

NUS Conference Resolves:
1. To condemn and call for an end to Israel’s siege on Gaza and illegal occupation of the West Bank.
2. To reaffirm NUS policy on boycotting companies like Veolia and Eden Springs which have been identified as being complicit in human rights abuses in Israel/Palestine.
3. To call upon the UK government to stop arming Israel.
4. To coordinate a nationwide student day of action to commemorate UN Palestine Solidarity Day on 29 November.
5. Invite a Palestinian student as a guest speaker for next year’s NUS National Conference.

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