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Ayo Falana

I am the current Union Affairs at the University of Wolverhampton SU. Previously, I was the Vice President at University of East London SU. Through my past and present experience, I have developed a good understanding of students in cosmopolitan society like London and a quiet environment like Wolverhampton. I have help to initiate campaigns and programs that are beneficial and meet student needs. Out of issues affecting students in the UK, I have always been tackling issues around fees, BAME attainment gap &welfare which are dare to my heart and I will like to tackle at National level.

 

Nominated by: Ifeoluwa Osakuade, Queen's University Belfast Students' Union; Calvin Sarah-Wilson, University of Westminster Students' Union; Motunrayo Omotade, Bournemouth University Students' Union; Hano Jibril Lawal, Cranfield University Students' Association; OA Adesua, University of Birmingham Guild of Students; Oluwatobi Falana, University of Wolverhampton Students' Union; Aminu Lawal, University of Bristol Students' Union; Ibukunoluwa Oyinka, University of Liverpool

 

Social media:

https://www.facebook.com/falana.ayo

https://twitter.com/ayofalana

https://www.instagram.com/ayfalana/?hl=en

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ayofalana/

 

Manifesto:

Restoration of Hope

It has been a great privilege to be the Union Affairs officer at the University of Wolverhampton Students’ Union whilst studying for a PhD in Biomedical Science. Having been a former Vice President at the University of East London Students’ Union, I can say that Higher Education is faced with so much unpredictability currently. With uncertainty such as Brexit and various issues facing students such as FEES, BAME attainment gap, declining international reputation, recruiting the right people, providing value for money, gender inequality and host of other issues affecting the higher and further education sector. I believe the need for the right leadership is needed and more important than ever before.

Through my past and present experience, I have developed a good understanding of students in a cosmopolitan society like London and a quiet environment like Wolverhampton. I have helped to initiate campaigns and programmes that are beneficial and meet student needs. Regarding issues which affect students in the UK, I have campaigned and won victories in relation to fees, BAME attainment gap and welfare which are dear to my heart and I would like to tackle at National level.

1. Free Education

The 2017 UK general election spoke volumes when students came out to vote for free education and the strength of their voice earned a response from the government. The government responded by setting up an independent review into fees and funding in post-18 education and universities are nervously awaiting its verdict. I believe now is the time to act to ensure free education for all which is the hope I am giving all students.

What have I done in the past?

I actively participated in the NOV19 2016 National Demo United for Education protest against fees in the UK

I signed a letter to voice my disquiet against TEF as an unreliable test for University teaching. The letter appeared in The Guardian in 2016.

As your National President, I will have a massive protest on the streets in the United Kingdom with the focal point of protests to be held in central London and an all UK students strike until fees are abolished. (2020 United Kingdom Student protest)

I will ensure that tuition fees are not linked labour market and inflation.

2. BAME Attainment Gap

When elected as the Union Affairs officer at my Students’ Union, I promised to help tackle the BAME attainment gap which currently sits at 26% nationally. I cannot be more than happy to know that the University and the sector as a whole are doing something around the BAME attainment gap.

What have I done?

I launched a campaign called the BBA campaign “Belong, Believe and Achieve”. This campaign focuses around celebrating BAME students’ success, by highlighting profiles of BAME students and alumni. BAME students’ stories were presented in a variety of ways, with the aim of gaining greater insight into BAME students’ perceptions and how these are linked to a sense of belonging at the University. https://www.wlv.ac.uk/current-students/news/october-2019/believe-belong-achieve-listening-to-bame-students-educational-experiences.php

I have presented at workshops and been invited to speak on 2 panels to speak on the BAME attainment gap

As your National President I will create a Central Hub for Universities to share and adapt examples of good practice

I will run a nationwide campaign of BBA “Belong, Believe and Achieve” in all higher and further education sector.

I will work with Universities to incorporate the elimination of gaps in success (attainment and continuation) in their APP targets, and in doing so to raise skills levels and meet local needs.

3. International Students/ Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

It is no news that the UK culture is no longer welcoming to international students because of high tuition fees, egregious IHS surcharge fee (£400/yr.), and unwelcoming culture after finish of study. They are often classed as immigrants and sometimes as criminals, with most even faced with threats of deportation, despite the fact that international students generate about £20b for the UK economy on an annual basis. Some of our Universities even have policy that prohibits the University from refunding the deposit fee if a student’s visa is refused.

What have I done?

I successfully lobbied my current University to change their policy around the tuition fee deposit for international students. Hence, the international tuition fee deposit is now refundable.

I have lobbied my University to start paying the NHS IHS surcharge for international students without any impact on their fees.

I have ensured that international students have access to the hardship fund at my university.

As your National President, I will launch a national campaign to change the policy of tuition fee deposit refund if visas are refused.

I will launch a nationwide campaign that will make the university responsible for payment of the Immigration Health surcharge without increasing tuition or to scrap the IHS.

I will ensure that international students have access to a hardship fund in their various universities for those who need them.

4. Restore Democracy and Liberation groups

NUS would be nothing without outward facing campaigns and liberation officers representing black, LGBTQ+, Trans, disabled, women and international students. If we are going to be making cuts within NUS, I think we should not be making cuts to our liberation and democracy. I have never been so shocked in my life than not seeing any liberation full-time positions on the nomination list.

As your National President, getting rid of liberation officers is very dangerous and I will campaign to ensure that they are all restored.

5. A Parliamentary NUS

It is not uncommon that a typical officer at a typical students’ union does not know what goes on within the NUS other than Newsletter. Most often don’t know how to get involved or how policies and motions are passed.

As your National President, I will ensure every students’ union is duly represented by at least 1 or 2 officer/student from every students’ union/college to scrutinize and hold the NUS executive officers to account for a more sustainable and accountable NUS.