Last year, I was elected to transform our national union of students into a strong, fighting union that wins for students, and in this last year, we have faced some of our biggest challenges yet. The future for students does not look welcoming: Brexit brings an increasingly insular world, the HE Bill and FE Area Reviews indicate further privatisation of education, and international political instability is normalising hate and hostility. But even in this toxic global political context, we have also seen our movement grow in size and strength, and transform into a movement that works for the grassroots, and wins for all of us. Today, I am excited to announce that I am re-running to be your NUS President, so that we can build on the work that we have started, and together build a movement which fights for the rights of all students.
I have spent the past year building strong, broad alliances with trade unions and progressive organisations across the country to make sure NUS supports students from every walk of life, in every aspect of their education. Liberation is all too often used as just another buzzword, but I am proud to have a record of putting liberation at the heart of everything I do – from fighting for the rights of migrants and international students, to opposing racism and hate crime in all its forms, to building an intersectional women’s movement on campuses. I want to continue this work this year: to transform NUS, to transform education, and to transform society.
I campaigned at NUS referendums up and down the country, and I heard students loud and clear: they want an NUS that will fight and win effectively for them, and this is exactly what I plan to keep doing. This year, I have not only travelled across the UK speaking to students on their campuses, but in the face of an increasingly isolated student movement in the wake of Brexit, I have worked to build alliances with our sister organisations in France, Canada and across the world. After Brexit, we need to make sure – now more than ever before – we act as a global union, and stand firmly in solidarity with our sister organisations to defend the rights of international students.
Students have also demanded better communication and representation within the NUS. As promised, I created and plan to develop regional networks to empower students across the country to become activists and to connect with fellow officers, to enable us to unite and lobby, and to use our collective voice to create change.
The links I have reinvigorated with trade unions and community groups are key in keeping our student influence alive. And in the current political climate – where those in power practice a strategy of divide and rule – we need an NUS that doesn’t sit on the fringes, but helps to establish broad coalitions with all those across society who can help us build a strong and effective opposition to the politics of hate.
I am proud of the work we have achieved together this year, and I am re-running to continue the work that we have started. I firmly believe NUS can and must be a fighting union which defends and advances the rights of students. Re-elect me to ensure NUS remains a strong and transformative union.