NUS response to Ekklesia's report 'United We Stand'

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Commenting on Christian think tank Ekklesia's report on the future of Christian Union /Student Union relations, entitled 'United we Stand: A report on current conflicts between Christian Unions and Students' Unions', released today (29.11.06) Nationl Unions of Students (NUS) President Gemma Tumelty said:

"NUS welcomes Ekklesia's report as a timely analysis of what has become a very inflamed dialogue between UCCF and Students' Unions (SUs). This report very clearly set out the context of the current dispute explaining that only a handful of Christian Unions (CU's) and not the entire corpus of hundreds of other Christian groups, societies and Christian Unions, have been challenged by their parent SU and only when they have actively contradicted the SUs constitution and/or equal opportunities policy. It also set out the broader agenda of the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF) and it gives excellent suggestions for finding a solution that is mutually acceptable to CUs and SUs.

"NUS is absolutely committed to helping SUs and CUs to work together to resolve this issue and to continue to promote inter faith dialogue on campus- an area in which the relationship between most CUs and SUs is harmonious and in which they excel together.

"If implemented, Ekklesia's suggestion of internal mediation (via university chaplaincies for instance) is sure to be a productive way of reconciling some CUs fears that their right to operate, rather than the way they operate in line with equal opps and the need to run their CUs in an open and democratic way, is being challenged.

"NUS fully empathises with Ekklesia's fear that recourse to a 'legal' solution will only intensify divisions that neither benefit students unions (who fully support and encourage Christians to self organise on campus) or CUs (who want to be able to operate on campus and with a positive relationship with alternative Christian and other faith groups.)"