National Union Of Students accused of bullying

Nathan Webb- News Reporter 18 February 2010

The National Union of Students (NUS) has been accused of bullying tactics after it lobbied to cancel a debate featuring BNP members last Friday. NUS President Wes Streeting has since issued an apology.

The Durham Union Society cancelled the long-planned debate, entitled ‘This house believes in multicultural Britain’, after sustained pressure from Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and the NUS.

Two officers from NUS autonomous campaigns, black student officer Bellavia Ribeiro-Addy and LGBT officer Def Adle, sent a letter to the Durham Union threatening a ‘colossal demonstration’ and went so far as to threaten that coach-loads of protesters would be transported from other universities to Durham for the event.

When he visited Durham last Tuesday, Wes Streeting apologised, saying that the letter was unacceptable, utterly ridiculous and that those responsible had been asked to account for their actions. The action was in line with the NUS ‘no platform’ policy, which asserts that no-one considered fascist or racist should be able to participate in any NUS function.

Speaking to The Cambridge Student (TCS), Guy Miscampbell, Director of Debating for the Society, said “It’s a great shame that the debate had to be cancelled; myself and many others were looking forward to having the opportunity to scrutinise and defeat the views of the BNP in public debate.”

The issue has received national attention. Grayden Webb, former Churchill JCR President said, “Irrespective of your opinion on whether Durham Students’ Union should have protested or not, the NUS should have respected the decision by DSU. The NUS… is working against the very people who are funding its existence.”

Nathan Webb- News Reporter