The site that finally gives students a say. RYL is essentially a giant sounding board; so instead of hoping a friend knows how good a lecturer is you can visit this site and see reviews put up by other students whilst adding your own. This is the only way to improve teaching in the UK whilst holding your lecturers to account. Please do take a couple of minutes to add your thoughts and help out your fellow students!

 

Do the NUS really even care?

Students across the United Kingdom will know the NUS as that ubiquitous provider of budgetary advice pamphlets and discount cards. However, believe it or not, the Union actually has a lesser-known function of representing the student voice at a national level. But with everything we’ve heard, do they really do that? Do they really even care?

According to their mission statement, the NUS exists to “promote, defend and extend the rights of students by providing students and students’ unions with a collective voice by delivering a range of activity that articulates the needs and aspirations of its members to relevant bodies.” In short, if students across the nation are shouting about something, the NUS will provide a megaphone to make that voice louder.

The NUS are also supposed to be supporting students unions to build strong relationships with affiliates in order to create sustainable organisations that champion student life. However, some of the press they’ve received lately suggest that may well not quite be the case. In case you’ve been living under a rock, here are two things that the media have picked up on...

They don’t see White Gay men as discriminated against...
Recently at the NUS LGBT+ Campaign Annual Conference in Sheffield a motion was passed abolishing representatives for gay men, explaining that they don’t need one because they just don’t face oppression in the LGBT community. Many LGBT societies at Universities have dedicated reps for each group, but have been told to abolish the role. As an explanation a spokesperson said: “Misogyny, transphobia, racism and biphobia are often present in LGBT+ societies. This is unfortunately more likely to occur when the society is dominated by white cis gay men.” Obviously this matter has come under significant scrutiny, simply because the best way to deal with issues of discrimination against groups usually isn’t to make a rash generalisation and discriminate against another group.

They are becoming increasingly politicised and biased…
Students Unions where created to represent the complete student body, but the NUS has come under criticism for removing the need for students to actually think for themselves. Instead of remaining neutral on matters like Brexit and creating supporting documents outlining the benefits and negatives for each side of the argument, many make their mind up to support one or the other. In this and other matters of Politics, the NUS could be seen to be attempting to tell Students what style of politics they should subscribe to.

So, do they really even care?
The short answer is, they should. They exist purely to care. At a time when students are becoming increasingly undervalued, it’s their job. So it might be time to campaign against the campaigners and get them to realise that they are failing in their primary job. It’s becoming harder and harder to survive as a student, so don’t allow your one chance at a significant voice to be taken away.