The Norwich Radical was born in the student movement, and we continue to play an active role within it. We recognise that while official structures are not the sum total of the movement, they are undeniably important. After a momentous year for the National Union of Students, studying it is more important than ever for understanding the political consciousness of the student movement. As we move into election season for the new NUS President, Vice Presidents and National Executive Council, we contacted all candidates in those elections and offered them the space to write about their election campaigns, why they are standing and their vision for NUS.
Submissions are unedited, and are being published in the order we receive them. This candidate is standing for the NEC Block of 15.
What does the NUS need next?
Without wanting to sound too dramatic, I think the student movement is at a crossroads in its history.
We are facing attacks on more fronts than we ever have before, to the point where we struggle to see where we as a national student body have allies left.
To begin with, we have the HE Bill and the TEF. An attack on the very basis of our education, looking to fundamentally change the way we learn and the way we interact with those who teach us.
We also have the threat of a new increase in fees, paired with changes to maintenance, all of which adds up to a fundamental attack on our ability to take part in Higher Education.
We have an attack on the diverse nature of our student body, carried out through the Brexit process and this government’s cowardly decision to pursue international students in an attempt to fulfil a campaign promise.
Then finally we have an attack on our values; telling us that our commitment to progressive, inclusive politics makes us ‘snowflakes’ who have no appreciation for free speech, coming not just from an ‘alt-right’ that are opposed to our core principles, but also from the government of our country.
Do we continue fighting each other for minor differences and publicly denouncing one another? Or do we seek to change?
In the face of all of these attacks, we stand at a crossroads. We, as a movement, have a decision to make about where it is that we wish to go next.
Do we wish to continue this seemingly never-ending experiment in naval gazing? Do we continue fighting each other for minor differences and publicly denouncing one another?
Or do we seek to change – putting students first again and fighting for a better life for students, a better deal for students, a better higher education sector as a whole?
Collectively we can make a stand against those who seek to fundamentally destroy the way we are, the way we organise, the way we learn.
Together we can end the TEF, building on the good work done this year lobbying MPs and Lords to take out it’s teeth.
United we can stand against changes to funding, making the argument that we know best how higher education should be funded, and that we are best placed to understand the impacts of funding policy.
Collectively we can fight for our international sisters and brothers – standing shoulder to shoulder with those being used as a bargaining chip by our government and continue the fight to remove international students from immigration figures.
And finally, together we can stand against those who oppose our very being – making clear to them that we will not tolerate the racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia that was once considered common place, that we refuse to allow them to further attack and belittle students who already face so many barriers – and that if they insist on calling us snowflakes, they should be ready for an avalanche.
If we work together, as one National Union, there is so much we can achieve, and as your representative on the NUS NEC I would spend every day fighting to move this union forward to a place where we can be our most effective.
For a united union, moving forward once again, vote Joe Cox #1 for Block of 15.