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Malia's Diary: Building Bridges with Liber8

Thursday 16-03-2017 - 00:00

It has been a great week so far as we’ve been building bridges with the Trump, Brexit and Beyond hate crime summit. I’ve been defending EU students’ right to remain and study in the UK, tackling violence against women, mental health provision and apprentice rights.

Building Bridges with Liber8

I was proud to launch the inaugural hate crime summit held at SOAS, University of London on Saturday.

Trump, Brexit and Beyond: Build Bridges not Walls saw almost 200 people in attendance to discuss the current political global situation in wake of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.

Diverse workshops ran throughout the day, ranging from confronting anti-Semitism, the islamophobic Prevent agenda, sexual harassment and migrant rights. The speakers included Gary Younge, Guardian Editor-at-large who reminded us that it is not migrants that are closing our libraries and destroying our education system! He was also joined by Sally Hunt of UCU as well as Black Lives Matter.

Tackling hate crime has been a priority for the student movement. Now more than ever, with hate crime rising on campuses and in our communities, it is important that our movement stands united to challenge all forms of discrimination and ensure that all students feel safe.

There’ll be a full report published by the end of the week, and the plenaries will be uploaded onto Connect for anyone who missed the event.

Following the summit, our three international guests - Cazembe Jackson, Prentice Hemphill (Black Lives Matter organisers) and Yasser Louati (human rights activist with a focus on anti-Islamophobia work) - have been touring with NUS around universities and colleges. They’ve been meeting the community and justice organisations to share experiences on how best to develop solidarity and anti-racist movements in the current climate.

 

Defending EU students

Earlier this week I spoke at the emergency protest, in Parliament Square, defending EU Citizens' Right to Remain. 

There should be no borders to education and we will fight for the rights of students to stay and studying in the UK because we believe that everyone should be able to access education.

Today I’ll be attending the Access All Areas Conference at Manchester University Students’ Union.

The event will focus on making universities accessible to all: Building and maintaining effective University – Union Partnerships; Student-led programmes from across the country; Effective student leadership; Experiences of Access All Areas and Living off Campus Project at the University of Manchester Students’ Union.

Ilyas Nagdee, Diversity Officer at the University of Manchester Students’ Union, has written a blog about his union’s upcoming conference. Read it here.

 

Tackling violence against women, mental health provision and 

It Stops here Liber8 Day took place at Manchester’s Students Union on Tuesday.

Following the UUK Taskforce Report examining violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students many have asked what next for the campaign, so we held a one day event to discuss what’s next.

We talked about why tackling sexual harassment is part of the Liber8 priority campaign. There was a particular focus on staff-student misconduct in HE which NUS National Women's Officer Hareem and the Women’s Campaign will be heading up and developing a strategy. I looking forward to working with you all on it!

This week I attended the UUK Mental Health and Wellbeing national conference. It was great to be able to speak and put forward a clear case for investment in mental health services - especially counselling.

I also went to The Future of Apprenticeships Closing the Skills Gap event. I highlighted a range of important questions for apprentices, including quality, the gender pay gap, rights as students and as workers, and apprentice representation.  I was joined by Simon Hawthorn from NSoA who gave an inspiring speech on the importance of apprentice voices in the sectors and ongoing work in this area. This is all very pertinent given the recent distressing news about first4skills.

 

In respect, peace and solidarity

Malia Bouattia
NUS National President

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