By Elisabeth Mahase
Student President Ali Milani released a statement yesterday along with 32 other NUS members announcing the boycott of the annual NUS Awards 2015, which is due to take place tonight in Bolton.
In the statement the members outline the key reason behind their protest: the part sponsorship from Coca Cola Enterprises Ltd. which they believe to be a 'direct violation' of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Campaign policy.
The National Executive Council past the BDS in August 2014, later reaffirming in June 2015. In the statement released, questions were raised over the ethics of such a decision, stating, 'We are seriously concerned at the message this sends out.'
Those behind this boycott include the Student Presidents from DMU, Middlesex and Sheffield Hallam, along with representatives from the Officer team and National Executive Council.
This is not the first time Ali Milani has been vocal against Coca Cola. In February of this year he helped to organise the #notinmyfridge protest of Coca Cola's presence on campus during Green Week.
Aside from the alleged violation of the BDS policy, the members also questioned NUS's apparent loyalty to a company they deemed to have a 'poor ethical and environmental record' arguing that this was double standard, saying they are 'willing to accept money from such a company whilst simultaneously...claiming to champion fighting for equality and liberation.'
However, NUS have responded with an official statement in which they argue that 'effective BDS campaigns are based on accurate research, and that companies, such as Coca Cola, are not priorities.' In their response, they reference the BDS movement and other research that they have based their decision on. They later went on to say that they pride themselves 'on developing amicable and constructive working relationships.'
Yet according to the statement signed by Mr Milani, the NUS President had previously accepted their demands but pulled out the night before and releasing the statement 'without permission' from the full time officers.
Le Nurb have contacted the NUS press office and are awaiting a response to this allegation.
The full NUS statement regarding the commercial sponsorship of the awards can be found here
The full statement from the members of the NUS Officer team who are boycotting the event can be read here