Black students of the NUS’s National Executive Committee (NEC) today boycotted a key council meeting pending the results of the independent institutional racism review, which is due to be released.
The review, called for over a year ago, is likely to outline the racist attacks and backlash faced by students of black and ethnic minorities both within the NUS and across the student movement.
Led by the Black Students Officer Aadam Muuse, the action was taken to stand against the “insufferable” violence faced by students in the institution. “After almost a century of institutionally racist practices, exclusionary cultures and structural violence we have reached breaking point.”
NUS President Malia Bouattia who made history last year as the organisation’s first muslim leader has faced attacks by those within the movement and the media, receiving death threats and abuse on social media after being labelled anti-semitic, an accusation many see as unfounded.
One NEC member who took part in the action said, “We recognise and applaud the work that the current President Malia Bouattia has done to tackle both the implicit and explicit racism that we have had to face.”
“She has gone further than any other President in the history of the organisation to support racialised students of colour in our struggle and we have full confidence that she will carry out the recommendations of the review, which she demanded be conducted independently by the Runnymede trust last year.”
NUS Women’s Officer Hareem Ghani also withdrew from the meeting stating that “Women of colour face the brunt of explicit and structural violence that is both racialised and gendered.”
“We sacrifice our mental and physical health while our work in the movement continues to be co-opted, ignored or undervalued. We’ve been forced to take action against an organisation that should be our home, but has ended up damaging our lives.”