Great Britain

Student unions ‘cost taxpayers £165m a year but don’t represent undergraduates’

'SERIOUS CONCERNS'

STUDENT unions are costing taxpayers £165million a year but are failing to represent undergraduates, a new report finds.

A damning study says the bodies are perceived as ineffective, lack legitimacy and undermine freedom of expression.

The organisations have worsened free speech across university campuses by banning speakers and blocking the sale of publications, the Adam Smith Institute says.

The government published free speech rules for universities last year saying speakers shouldn’t be banned just because they “offend, shock or disturb”.

Barely half of students, some 56 per cent, believe their union represents their academic interests - despite universities overall having 80 per cent satisfaction rates.

The student union bodies should be split up into different components dealing with sports and academic functions and any political wing should be optional and only funded by students who join, the think tank propose.

Ex-Chancellor and Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP said the proud tradition of bringing students into contact with new ideas is “under threat”.

He said: “British universities are meant to be places of open debate and intellectual freedom.

“An intolerant minority is seeking to silence those they disagree with under the banner of no-platforming and safe spaces.

“Their campaign of censorship is an assault on one of our most precious and fundamental rights – freedom of speech.

“Championing students by protecting legal free speech should be one of the higher education sector’s top priorities.”

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan last night said: “This report raises serious concerns about the funding and operation of student unions.

“For instance £160million could support a lot of bursaries. It is vital students have a voice but the report highlights there are also issues around the extent to which student unions represent student cohorts and their needs.”

What does ‘snowflake’ mean, who are ‘generation snowflake’ and what’s the origin of the term?

GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]

Football news:

Hans-Dieter flick: I Hope Alaba will sign a contract with Bayern. Our club is one of the best in the world
Diego Maradona: Messi gave Barca everything, brought them to the top. He was not treated the way he deserved
Federico Chiesa: I hope to leave my mark in Juve. We will achieve great results
The Coach Of Benfica: I don't want us to look like the current Barcelona, it has nothing
Guardiola on returning to Barca: I'm happy at Manchester City. I hope to stay here
Fabinho will not play with West ham due to injury
Ronald Koeman: Maradona was the best in his time. Now the best Messi