Malia's Diary: Standing in solidarity with international students

Thursday 23-02-2017 - 10:45

I've been standing in solidarity with international students, liberating housing and access, as well as leading the way on the Bradford #YestoNUS campaign. Take a look at my highlights from this week...

Standing in solidarity with international students

International students have been top of my agenda this week. I’ve been supporting the national One Day Without Us event, discussing how we can write the history of racism and antiracism in Britain, as well as exploring the ethics around monitoring students.

One Day Without Us saw the nation take a stand against a growing anti-immigrant agenda and celebrate the impact of migrants. 

I facilitated a banner making session for FE students ahead of the event. Students joined us from Islington College, Lewisham and Southwark, Woodhouse and many more.

On the day I headed down to Goldsmiths, University of London, to speak at the One Day Without Us rally. Hundreds of people turned out in force to show their solidarity and to listen to speakers including Goldsmiths Union President Danny Nasr, Goldsmiths Union VP Welfare Tara Mariwany the NUS International Students Campaign, UCU Branch President and an EU academic. Shout out to Goldsmiths SU- thanks for inviting me! 

On the same day I led a march from Kings College London, along with students from London School of Economics, Birkbeck, Queen Mary's, City and Islington College, Woodhouse College, London Met, SOAS, Goldsmiths, Movement for Justice, TOEIC victims, NUS’ International Students Campaign, NUS’ Black Students Campaign and NUS’ Scotland Refugee and Asylum Seeker Officer to parliament. We held a student rally outside of parliament - where I spoke – organised by NUS and Movement for Justice, speakers included; TOEIC victims, #Save lord/NUS Scotland, Justice for Cleaners and FE students against Trump. 

On Tuesday I popped into University of East Anglia (UEA) to speak at a Prevent event, where a panel discussion has been organised amidst the rise of Islamophobia and hate crime in the UK after Brexit and the Trump’s recent immigrant ban. The academic discussion centred on: ‘Is it Ethical to Monitor Students?’ and addressed the PREVENT legislation that has been condemned for inciting racial profiling on campus.

Following on from this, I attended an event at the University of Bristol to discuss the recent racist attacks on Black students. The focus of the event was ‘How should we write the history of racism and antiracism in Britain?’ The main speaker was Professor Paul Gilroy of Kings College London – who has vast influence with in the fields of cultural studies, black studies and postcolonial studies.

Today I'll be attending the International Students’ Campaign Day at Canterbury Christ Church University, part of NUS’ Liber8 Education campaign. Students and officers from Colleges and Universities will be coming together from across the country to share ideas and support each other in issues related to International Students. We’ll be looking at how we can work together to build stronger and bigger international students’ campaigns - covering mental health, housing guarantors, religious and racial discrimination and HE and FE after Brexit.  

The Hate Crime Summit - Trump, Brexit and Beyond: Building Bridges Not Walls – is coming up soon. Register your attendance here.


Liberating housing and access

The Office For Fair Access (OFFA) have released guidance for universities to improve chances for disadvantaged students in this year's round of Access Agreements. Between now and April we’ll be supporting students’ unions to collaborate with their institutions to write a plan that best reflects the needs of current and potential learners. We've released resources to help you figure out what OFFA’s guidance means for your union. 

Save the date for the Liber8 Housing Summit! We’ll be discussing a range of housing issues, and ideas to solve them: from high rents and low standards, to guarantor schemes and co-ops. 


Leading the way on the Bradford #YestoNUS campaign

Next up stop Bradford! I spoke to students across campus about the NUS referendum - why they should remain affiliated, the benefits to them and our movement. I also met with those leading the #YestoNUS campaign, check out the footage below! 

In respect, peace and solidarity
Malia Bouattia
NUS National President



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