Anti-booze and pro-censorship – the NUS is a disgrace

Christopher Beckett

Topics Politics

It seems the National Union of Students (NUS) has taken another step in its attempt to regulate students’ lives. This time, it is teaming up with that popular fun-loving body, the Home Office, to launch something called the ‘Alcohol Impact’ scheme. According to the NUS, this scheme is an ‘exciting, and potentially transformational, new pilot programme’, to be trialled at eight UK universities, that aims to curb binge drinking and pub crawls, and ‘create a social norm of responsible alcohol consumption by students’.

This isn’t the first time the NUS has attempted to squeeze the fun out of its members’ lives. Back in 2009, the NUS took it upon itself to call for the minimum pricing of alcohol. And its decision to affiliate with the Stop Climate Chaos campaign, and to stick with its No Platform policy, captures well the NUS’s attitude to students: they need to have their freedom restricted.

So, not content with moralising about energy consumption or banning so-called fascists from campus, the NUS has now taken it upon itself to tell you how much you should drink. Which, in short, is not much – no more three pints or the equivalent for men or two pints or the equivalent for women, lest one be accused of ‘binge drinking’.

Given the NUS’s determination to micro-manage students’ lives, it’s hardly a surprise that it has no time to do what it’s meant to be doing: standing up for our right to a world-class academic education and protecting us from the abuses of university administrators.

Not that the NUS’s lack of interest in the actual educational substance of universities is a surprise. The current NUS president, Toni Pearce, has never been to university, which would be fine if she had some respect for academic pursuits. But Pearce doesn’t. Last year, she showed so little regard for what she might study should she go to university that she asked her Twitter followers to suggest subjects for her to study. Eventually Pearce decided not to go to university, and pursued her re-election as president instead, promising to ‘create more jobs… tackle unpaid internships… build communities… [and] encourage women into leadership’. All fine aims, I’m sure, but quite what they’ve got to do with the NUS, universities or the pursuit of knowledge is unclear.

I, and many others, are sick to death of NUS bureaucrats obsessing over our lives, from how much we drink to what music we listen to. The NUS is meant to represent students’ interests, be it in parliament or in the media, and help us gain access to the best education. It is meant to stand up for students’ freedoms – of speech, of protest and so on – against the encroaching power of university management. And the NUS is doing none of this. Instead, wedged up their own self-important arses, NUS bureaucrats prefer to insult our intelligence and moralise on issues that should be matters of individual conscience.

We need a new student body that fights for student rights, individual liberty and the best education possible. It’s time to smash the NUS.

Christopher Beckett is studying for a masters in sociology at the University of Liverpool and is an organiser for the Liverpool Salon.

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Topics Politics


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