The National Union of Students (NUS) conference 2014 took place last week amid a backdrop of austerity, economic crisis and privatisation.
The NUS faces a challenge to be relevant to ordinary students in the face of this. It has halved the length of its conference and the number of delegates attending. Most delegates are now student officers.
The NUS leadership, run by Labour Students, was shown to be out of touch when delegates voted against it to defend free education. They are also out of touch with their own black students committee who work with and are affiliated to Unite Against Fascism (UAF) where the NUS voted nationally not to.
The Socialist Workers Student Society (SWSS) delegation supported Aaron Kiely for president who came second and Piers Telemacq who had a surprising election victory for vice president (society and citizenship).
The Student Assembly Against Austerity held a fringe meeting of 40 students. Some 40 students went to UAF’s fringe meeting.
SWSS held a meeting on the first night titled, “Stand up to Ukip, how do we fight the racists?”. Some 25 students came and Jo Cardwell led off a debate.