Exeposé News, Issue 628, Page 3 (13 October 2014) and Exeposé News online (14 October 2014)
Exeter’s 2014 NUS Liberation Campaign Reps were elected on Friday, but some students were unable to vote due to their demographic.
Campaigning for the rights of students from particular social groups, the elections saw Exeter candidates standing for the positions of Disabled Students’ Campaign Rep, LGBT Campaign Rep and Women’s Campaign Rep.
No candidates stood to be Exeter’s Black Students’ Campaign Rep.
Some students’ attempts to participate in the elections ended in confusion, as many found that their voting had been restricted.
It emerged that only female students were eligible to vote for the position of Women’s Campaign Rep, with similar restrictions placed on the other positions.
VP Welfare and Diversity Kate Hawkins explained: “The NUS Liberation Campaign Reps – Women, Black Students, Disabled Students and LGBT – are only open to students who identify with and are represented by those groups.
She added: “In the case of the Women’s Campaign, this means only women and those who identify as female are eligible to nominate themselves or vote in any cross-campus ballot.”
After Exeposé contacted NUS for further clarification on the decision to restrict voting, they explained: “The NUS Women’s Campaign is about women organising themselves as women and making their own decisions about their own lives. This is not to say that men cannot be involved in campaigning on issues of concern to women, but they must allow women to define their own priorities.
The NUS Women’s Campaign does hold open events to which men are invited. However, we want women students to make their own decisions about the campaign, so conferences, committee meetings and some campaign events are for women only.”
The NUS Press Office further stated: “our policy is not binding and members do not have to do the same things as NUS.
“Students’ unions and guilds are responsible for governing themselves and just because we do something one way here at NUS does not mean that members have to follow unless they choose to,” they added.
The four NUS Liberation Campaigns aim to protect the rights of those from particular social groups. Candidates are elected for the positions of Disabled Students’ Campaign Rep, Black Students’ Campaign Rep, LGBT Campaign Rep and Women’s Campaign Rep.