NUS Democracy Commission
This report explores the findings of an exciting one-year pilot project led by the VP of Union Development, Raechel Mattey, which aimed to help students’ unions design innovative, democratic decision-making processes based on the preferences and values of their members. The report explores trends and findings in the responses of 2,839 students to an online quantitative questionnaire and offers in-depth analysis of the commission’s findings.
"We are student-led” is often how students’ unions describe what is valuable and distinct about their organisations. The primary means via which students lead their students’ union is democracy. A democratic deficit in students’ unions therefore creates an absence of student leadership, and in turn – as inevitably that leadership and control is commanded from elsewhere – an absence of legitimacy.
Without legitimacy, the idea that students’ unions are “the voice of students” (another common maxim) is undermined, rendering students’ unions unable to fulfil their primary function and defacto redundant. All this considered (and indeed for a multitude of other reasons), it is important that students’ unions are democratic.
Download the report here: Democracy is dead! Long live democracies!