NUS finance error discovered as referendum campaigning reaches climax

The benefits that the University of York Students’ Union (YUSU) stated that it received from the National Union of Students (NUS) for 2014-2015 were treble the correct figure, YUSU has announced.

In a blog post yesterday, the student union disclosed that the NUS benefits statement, detailing the financial benefits York receives from the NUS, was mistaken. Following financial reviews prompted by the ‘York says: No2NUS’ campaign, it emerged that YUSU’s profits had been exaggerated. YUSU wrote:

During the course of this process it has emerged that the incorrect information was provided by the NUS as part of the original benefits statement.  The figures were provided in a period when the NUS’s website was down, and electronic reporting systems were not running.  Unfortunately, due to human error, the incorrect information was given.

According to the benefits statement, YUSU received £68,602 in rebates and savings from its NUS affiliation in the last financial year and £18,551 net profit from affiliation, combined with £36,599 of “unseen benefit” savings. However, the review revealed that YUSU received £51,864 in rebates and savings and £6,452 net profit from affiliation.

The leaders of the campaigns for YUSU to remain affiliated with the NUS and to separate from the NUS have been informed of this mistake.

One student, remaining anonymous, told The Yorker that he had voted for YUSU to remain in the NUS on the first day of voting. However, “after what has all come out this week and yesterday, I regret it a lot.”

‘York says: Yes to NUS’, the official campaign for YUSU to remain affiliated, previously used the £18,551 figure in its online campaigning. At the time of writing, this figure still exists on social media. Their rival campaigners are yet to make a statement. Ciaran Morrissey, the outgoing Comment Editor for the campus publication Nouse and a support of the ‘Yexit’ side, wrote on Facebook,

How can you trust an organisation that overstates its net benefits by 300%? Farcical. The NUS is either incompetent, corrupt, or just not fussed about lying to its members.

He continued for The Yorker:

This isn’t a simple mistake or a negligible amount of money. The NUS has grossly miscalculated its benefit towards us, by 300%. If it’s able to do this, it has either a complete lack of information safeguarding or a complete lack of respect for honesty. Students should be permitted to make an informed decision and the NUS is actively undermining their ability to do so.

The President of the student union has been contacted for a comment. His answer will be published upon receipt.

Voting on the motion, ‘Should YUSU remain affiliated with the NUS?’ ends tomorrow at 5pm.

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Jack Harvey

Alumni & Public Relations Officer at The Yorker
Comment and Politics Editor 2015/2016, Editor 2016/2017, Alumni & Public Relations Officer 2017/2018 and acting, 2018/2019. Waiting to graduate with MA in Philosophy at University of York in 2019.