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Live Report NUS Conference Day 2

This year the National Union of Students (NUS) is holding its National Conference in Brighton, and the Badger has sent Dan Green and me to report. Dan is live tweeting at @TheBadgerNews.

This is the second day of Conference.

One of the first motions this morning was of special interest to us: Motion 314, “Media and SU Officer Elections”, which proposed allowing student media to report on elections during the process itself, and additionally proposed the NUS providing guidance on how to carry out that coverage.

Motion 4o1, NUS for the NHS, passes with a clear majority following an impassioned speech by Shelley Asquith. There was loud applause and the motion passed

Motion 402 was proposed by a delegate who gave a rousing speech in favour of supporting local communities and taking action to protect libraries and other community facilities. The cuts, he said, are part of a “class war” and it is predominantly the underprivileged who suffer. The motion passed.

Motion 403, #GrantsNotDebts, was somewhat controversial although it passed with the vast majority. One delegate and along against criticised

Motion 404, anti-Semitism on campus. The one of the delegates proposing it, from Oxford university, says that “it is vital that we tackle anti-Semitism head on”. The motion would ” recognise the issues the NUS itself has and resolve those”, accept an internationally established definition of anti-Semitism and “support individual student unions to better handle incidents”.

Ammendanent a) proposes commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day. The speaker proposing this is from Leeds University: because ” living memory of the Holocaust is passing “, he urges Conference to bring Holocaust victims into every campus. The speaker against is ” not against the Holocaust” but says she is against “commemorating just one mass genocide.” She says that in her time in education she has never been taught about the genocides of Tibet or Zanzibar, and that this makes it seem like “some lives are more important than others”.

The sunation says “this motion recognises the Jewish people, the disabled people, the LGBT people and the people of Roma deacent. Why do we have a problem commemorating the death of six million Jews?”

A proposal is made to remove one of the parts of the motion. A Jewish student stands up to criticise the definition of anti-Semitism given in the motion. “It conflates anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism and makes it impossible to criticise the state of Israel.”

The student who opposes the amendment argues that Israel is focussed on specifically when political criticisms are made and “that is anti-Semitic”.

Delegates voted on whether or not to remove the parts. A lot abstained, but the parts were kept.

A speaker from NEC delivered a speech in favour of the entire motion saying that “NUS has a problem with Jewish students” and that this motion is a solution.

The motion passed.

Motion 405: “mental health must be addressed across the UK”, said the delegate from York who proposed the motion. 30% of students have suicidal thoughts during the course of their degree, he said. The NUS needs to campaign to prioritise mental health, he said.

405 a) proposes placing suicide prevention centre-stage. No one spoke against the amendment and the amendment  passed unanimously.

The motion, including the amendment,passed.

406: Preventing Prevent. The speaker from Bournemouth who proposes the motion says that Prevent makes black and minority ethnic Islamic students are not granted the basic right to feel safe in speaking up, which is a right every student deserves.

She says that NUS needs to acknowledge that universities are bound to Prevent, and that NUS must support students’ unions with whatever measures they see best and to campaign against the Government’s Prevent Agenda.

Amendment 406 a) asks for the NUS to obtain legal advice on what constitutes “radicalisation” and for SUs to publicly and openly oppose Prevent. No-one speaks against the amendment and it passed.

Amendment 406 b) “Preventing Prevent and FE”. The speaker says that Prevent is an issue not only in HE but in FE and “all across the student movement”. The speaker against says that FE students do not have the same legal autonomy as HE, and so the method proposed here would not necessarily work in her view.

Amendment 406 b) passed.

The main motion, as amended, passed.

Motion 407: ” let’s commit to making sure our campuses are open to all, not just those who can afford extortionate housing rates or put themselves on the line to pay them”. The motion passes.

 

 

 

 

 

Elections for President.

Candidates:

Malia Bouattia. She talks of how, at 7, she has to flee from her war-torn country and how both she and her father suffered attacks in education – “it was the fear for the future of our education that drove my parents to leave”. She says: “they taught us that education gives you the power to improve things”.

“This Conference has to be about society” and we must talk about liberation for parents, LGBTQ+ people, migrants, workers… Not just a students.

She designed the programme to tackle the black student attainment gap and she has also designed campaigns against Prevent. “We have stood outside Parliament time and time again to demand a liberated, free education”.

She says that we will have read in the media that ” I am a terrorist, that my politics are born form hate. How wrong that is…  I have seen terroriam and suffered from it… I know too well the harns done by racism and persecution. I suffered it ever day.”

She asks Conference to make history and make her NUS’s first black woman president.

 

Megan Dunn – asks Conference to make her NUS President for one more year. “The same ideology which is attacking the poor and trades unions and dismantling education is getting up to attack our student movement”, she says. We need to be ready, she says.  She says that the NUS must work to strengthen the movement. ” Sometimes we need to get down off our soap boxes and do the work”: joining together with trades unions, making petitions, campaigning – “that is how you actually change students lives”.

She says that mental health bstructirws need to be strengthened in every university band college so that “no one ever stops out of education again”.

She says “this movement needs to stop being a battleground and become the first line”. She says she said the same thing last year, but since then bullying and division has persisted. She urges Conference to get the bullies out for good.

Adil Waratch – He starts by saying that he, like every other student in the NUS, is an investor in people. He says he wants to go beyond the ” cycle of dependable” which students are caught in.

“I say that I am an investor in people because I want to bring out the best in people”

“I am not interested in launching into a career of being a politician who lies between his teeth” he says.

He says NUS has a duty to teach the government and those who cause division within the Union and beyond about justice. He wants an “open and honest national Union” which addresses “the so-called student concerns that make up a big deal”.

He says that everyone should be able to speak freely and not be in fear of working in danger.

Election winner:  Malia Bouattia with 372 votes of 730 valid votes.

Conference erupted into cheers and shouts, with people running to form a crowd around Malia and congratulate her. The person announcing the results had to call for order before being able to resume the announcement, and reminded conference of the difficulties which some disabled delegates face with such noise levels.

 

Elections for Vice President Further Education.

Shakira Martin runs for re-election unopposed.

Starting off nervous and with a someqhat shaky voice, Shakira quickly gains momentum. “I’m a fighter, an FE fighter”, she says. She tells Conference they need to fight because “the Tories are out go get us.”

“I’m black, I’m a woman and I’m angry – and what?” She says to great applause.

She says she can provide a parallel leadership to Jeremy Corbyn’s push to hold the Tories accountable. She says it is her number one priority to work alongside trades unions and other campaigns go strengthen resistance.

“Next year let’s take it to another level” she says, proposing peaceful direct action, protests and weeks of action and activist training.

She says she will campaign for campaign to support BME students, women students and disabled students, who are “at the sharp end of education cuts”.

She finishes by asking the Conference: ” what does FE stand for?”

They chant right back at her: “Free Education, Further Education, For Everyone!”

Winner:

 

Vice President Higher Education:

Candidates:

Priscilla Mensa: Starts saying “inequality dictates that I should not be here”, and talks about the challenges of being at Cambridge as a black woman student. ” what good is an HE sector which shuts some people out, whether because they are LGBTQ, female, black, disabled? An HE sector which leaves some students out means no-one wins.”

“The NUS is so stuck”, she says, that she was told not to run ” because the NUS is institutionally racist”. She says she must critique the NUS because it can be better if she is elected, and that the the learning environment must be more inclusive.

“I pull the rug from under tradition. That is what I do.” She said. She says that she will “make the national conversation on attainment local”, and she will right to cut the ties between ” great teaching and fees”.

Sorana Vieru: she starts by saying that she ran last year to reject the idea that there is a dichotomy between countering national issues and tackling local issues.

She tells Conference about the campaigns she has led this year which she wants to continue “to build a liberated education that works for all and not just the privileged few”.

“It’s not about changing a few policies, it’s about changing who has power” she says. Power cannot stay in the hands of “old, white, posh men”.

She says ” we must go behind some tavky idea if consumer rights and democratise education”. The key fights to be won are against the Green Paper, Prevent and student deportations, she says.

Winner:

 

Vice President Welfare:

Candidates:

Shelly Asquith:

“I’m asking you to elect me as an officer who will never accept he status quo… Which has locked me out” She emphasises the need to protect mental health support over and above marketing, to get people to demonstrations and to protect benefits and financial support.

“Through perseverance we convinced the Government’s own terrorism reviewer to agree with usbthat Prevent should be repealed”. She says that of course the media and government don’t like NUs, and reminds Conference that “when David Cameron was campaigning against Nelson Mandela, NUS was leading the campaign against apartheid”.

” Re-elect me and I will ring fence at least 10% of the welfare budget for liberation”, she says. She also talks of her committment to a full-time Trans officer, both this year and last – and to making sure that if it is voted for, it is implemented. 

 

Manya Mudarikiri: “I do not opt in or out of liberation, I am the person who liberation protects”. He talks about how he grew up with people who have now either died or are in prison, and how education saved him. But, he says, it is getting harder for students to be saved in that way, as education comes under more and more attacks.

In his Student’s Union at Surrey, he has campaigned against Prevent and givernment policies which in fact cauae radicalisation. Manya wants to make sure people can be free of racism and oppression in education.

He says he has not seen enough campaigning this year on housing. He wants to prioritise this issue along with mental health. 

Winner:

 

 

 

 

You can follow our live tweets of the event here: https://twitter.com/TheBadgerNews

The most useful document to help you follow along from home is the comprehensive list of all motions: http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/nusdigital/document/documents/23606/CD10_final_proposals_v8.5

Freya Marshall Payne

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Oliver’s Brighton: Two years on

Becca Bashford - October 10, 2019

  “There were shops selling robes, shops selling telescopes and strange silver instruments […], windows stacked with barrels of bat spleens and eels’ eyes, tottering piles of…

Two new student-led campaigns join the SU
News
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News
122 views

Two new student-led campaigns join the SU

Becca Bashford - October 10, 2019

  In the lead-up to the Change Sussex Forum taking place in the Research Centre on October 22, The Badger provides the low down on the Students’…

Vegan Activists Disrupt Brighton
News
148 views
News
148 views

Vegan Activists Disrupt Brighton

Becca Bashford - October 10, 2019

  By Becca Bashford, News Editor. Vegan activists have been targeting supermarkets and corporations that profit from the sale of animal products, using a radical yet entirely…

Free Wednesdays Volunteer Scheme
News
58 views
News
58 views

Free Wednesdays Volunteer Scheme

Jessica Hubbard - October 10, 2019

Free Wednesdays, a student volunteer scheme which offers free sanitary and sexual health products to Sussex students, need your help. Launched in 2015 by Rianna Gargulio, Sussex…

Brighton buses become the first in the UK to run in zero emission mode
News
71 views
News
71 views

Brighton buses become the first in the UK to run in zero emission mode

Becca Bashford - October 10, 2019

  By Alana Harris, Staff Writer This October, the UK’s first zero emission buses - The Enviro400Er’s - will debut in Brighton & Hove. Brighton and Hove…

Sussex graduate wins UK Dyson Award
News
72 views
News
72 views

Sussex graduate wins UK Dyson Award

Becca Bashford - October 10, 2019

  By Alana Harris, Staff Writer. Lucy Hughes, a University of Sussex product design graduate, won this year’s prestigious James Dyson Award for her innovative plastic alternative.…

Meet the local feminist collective fighting against sexual assault at gigs
News
92 views
News
92 views

Meet the local feminist collective fighting against sexual assault at gigs

Becca Bashford - October 10, 2019

Becca Bashford, The Badger's News Editor, chats with Girls Against founder Bea Bennister about the problem of sexual assault and harassment that is plaguing the music industry.  Run by…

Should we still listen to Michael Jackson’s music?
Comment
123 views
Comment
123 views

Should we still listen to Michael Jackson’s music?

Rebecca Spencer - October 9, 2019

YES Alice Gledhill Sometimes, bad people create great things. This does not redeem them, but nor does it reduce the quality of their art. Michael Jackson, who…

Brighton: If you haven’t got the means,  is it the ends?
Brighton Festival
226 views
Brighton Festival
226 views

Brighton: If you haven’t got the means, is it the ends?

Rebecca Spencer - October 9, 2019

In this article Comment Editor Rebecca Spencer and Comment Sub-Editor Louis Johnson discuss their perspectives of living in Brighton. Rebecca having moved here in 2017 and Louis,…

Could Brexit become the start of a left-wing national revolution?
Comment
182 views
Comment
182 views

Could Brexit become the start of a left-wing national revolution?

Remel Crichlow - October 9, 2019

YES Luke Schofield The short answer is, yes. However this is an answer in two parts; what has already happened in party politics in the wake of…

Is the UK ready to legalise cannabis?
Comment
71 views
Comment
71 views

Is the UK ready to legalise cannabis?

Rebecca Spencer - October 9, 2019

YES Max Morris-Edwards The idea that cannabis should be legalised for recreational use is rapidly growing in popularity across the UK. Cannabis is indeed the most used…

Books
55 views

A note on graphic novels: A guide to some of the best graphic novels on the market now

imeldaloakes - October 9, 2019

The term ‘graphic novel’ has, for a long time, been used loosely around the fringes of the literary society. While in the world of comics certain graphic…

Is music journalism a total minefield?
Brighton Festival
170 views
Brighton Festival
170 views

Is music journalism a total minefield?

Rebecca Spencer - October 9, 2019

By Stella Cooper My friends are still sharing videos, no matter how messy, of pure summer festival carnage. Whether that’s in the shape of music, or campsite…

Is America ready for a progressive candidate?
Comment
57 views
Comment
57 views

Is America ready for a progressive candidate?

rgs24 - October 9, 2019

By Maritsa Tsioupra-Lewis On September 12th in Houston, Texas, the third Democratic debate commenced. With too-many-to-count candidates originally running in the Democratic primary, the group was dwindled…

The Un-United Kingdom: Scotland’s Brexit woes
Comment
59 views
Comment
59 views

The Un-United Kingdom: Scotland’s Brexit woes

rgs24 - October 9, 2019

By Louis Johnson The Brexit deadline is looming and as Britain prepares to leave the EU, ‘deal or no deal’, it looks as though our Union is…

Should you refuse the zoos?
Comment
70 views
Comment
70 views

Should you refuse the zoos?

rgs24 - October 9, 2019

By Leo Hodges Conservation is an immensely complex process and more often than not zoos and animal-loving customers are the problem. Zoo’s exploit conservation, education and research…

Books
51 views

‘The Goldfinch’: are some novels best left untouched?

imeldaloakes - October 9, 2019

First published in 2013, Donna Tartt’s epic coming-of-age novel has attracted a large literary following. The Goldfinch was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2014 and…