Wednesday 30-11-2016 - 14:43
Today, we’re launching a helpline for students’ union officers and activists who are negatively impacted by the government’s Prevent strategy.
The helpline will be launched following a public meeting tonight, where students and activists will discuss the next steps in the fight to defeat racist counter-terrorism policies, and how to support the communities affected by them.
Speakers will include Diane Abbott MP, Shadow Home Secretary, Malia Bouattia, NUS President and Kevin Courtney, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers.
The introduction of Prevent has led to an increase in suspicion and racial profiling during students’ day-to-day lives. Almost 4,000 people have been referred to Prevent in a year and most of them were students and a third were Muslim.
The helpline, which will be serviced by NUS, will offer advice to activists and union officers on how to manage situations where Prevent is used to stop events from taking place, when universities are making changes to Prevent-related policy and other related issues.
Shelly Asquith, NUS Vice President (Welfare), said: “The implementation of Prevent relies on racial profiling, making Muslim students in particular a common suspect. It is stifling students’ ability to organise politically, or practise their faith, for fear of referral. NUS is now taking an extra step to make sure students and students' unions have somewhere to turn for immediate help if they are unfairly targeted and we will continue to call on the government to scrap this racist, ineffective strategy.”
NUS has repeatedly spoken out against the Prevent agenda and produced guidance for students and students’ unions.
We believe an urgent review of the programme is long overdue and it should ultimately be scrapped from educational institutions.