Thursday 02-03-2017 - 00:00
I hope you have all had a great week! Here's an insight into my diary over the last few days, which has included mobilising against hate crime on campus and in our communities, supporting #WeAreAllImmigrants week with FE students, shaping the way NUS works and attending the NUS Scotland Liber8 Housing Summit.
Mobilising against hate crime on campus and in our communities
Last week I took a trip down to Canterbury Christchurch University in Kent, for an International Students Liber8 Day. The regional event saw students and officers from FE, Scotland, and London in attendance to discuss #OneDayWithoutUs next steps. We spoke about how Canterbury Christchurch Students’ Union will be using the Liber8 campaign to take action on migrant solidarity on campus, as well as developing practical toolkits to signpost international students towards their legal obligations and visa requirements, as policies rapidly change.
Back in NUS HQ we had a meeting with Movement for Black Lives. The organiser came all the way from America to discuss mobilising between The States and UK around Trump’s visit, and how US activists can help highlight the work of NUS – particularly in regards to the Trump, Brexit and Beyond hate crime summit; the full event programme has now been launched, please register here.
This week we’ve finished a series of nine hate crime roundtables that have helped us to establish a greater understanding of how hate crime is manifesting on campuses and within wider society and understand how this is affecting students and their communities. The roundtables brought together experts from the campaigning, legal, community and academic fields and their contributions will help us to shape an action plan to tackle hate crime. Thank you to everyone who attended your input is invaluable for our work moving forward.
We’ve also had an Anti-Racism Anti-Fascism (ARAF) policy meeting with Union of Jewish Students (UJS), Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS), NUS Women’s, International and Black Campaigns, to shape the future democratic role and makeup of ARAF Committee.
Supporting #WeAreAllImmigrants week with FE students
We Are All Immigrants week launched on Monday, and I was invited to speak at the #WeAreAllImmigrants at City and Islington College (CANDI).
At the start of my speech I asked everyone to raise their hand if they were a migrant; over three quarters of the audience put up their hand…
My speech focussed on the part FE students have played in the fight against xenophobia, migrant solidarity around the efforts in Calais, and CANDI’s involvement in mobilising for FE Students Against Trump at the #OneDayWithoutUs march. I emphasised the need to keep pressure on government against the cuts to Educational Services Overseas Limited (ESOL), the need to join the demonstration outside the detention centre, support the Test of English for International Communication (TOIEC) victims and unaccompanied minors in Dunkirk. You can play back my speech here.
I was also joined by University and College Union (UCU) General Secretary Sally Hunt, Labour Councillor Michelline Ngongo and Immigration historian Martin Spafford. CBAT Performing Arts Students showcased song and dances in-between speeches. The day culminated in a tour of campus exhibitions, created by students. Business students produced a ‘myth busting stats about immigrant’ exhibit, with a powerful photo and fine art exhibition from art student’s capturing migrant identity and expressions.
Shaping the way NUS works, supporting the NHS demo and the Scotland Liber8 Housing Summit
The National Executive Council (NEC) met this week to hold all officers to account. We live-streamed the meeting which you can watch back here. At the meeting council members discussed and agreed upon the motions that NEC will submit to National Conference.
The British Medical Association (BMA) are organising the ‘It's Our NHS National Demonstration’, you can follow the action via #March4NHS. I’m also proud to have been invited to speak at Saturday’s march!
On Saturday I travelled to Scotland with NUS Vice President (Welfare) Shelly Asquith for the Liber8 Housing Summit, hosted by Stirling Students’ Union President Dave Keenan. Scottish students and union officers came together to share their knowledge and experiences of campaigning for decent and affordable housing. We also heard from the Rent Strike Working Group, the Living Rent Campaign and the Edinburgh Housing Cooperative. The message from this group of students was clear: housing is a fundamental human right; housing issues affect all of us; bold and ambitious activism is happening across the UK in our student unions.
In respect, peace and solidarity
NUS National President