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A strong, united voice for students: an open letter from NUS’ Officer team
We, as the current and incoming Full Time Officer team, co-sign this letter together, to students and their unions.
We each come from very different institutions and have different backgrounds; from both further and higher education. We each got involved in being a student representative in different ways; from joining sports teams to running political campaigns. We often agree and sometimes disagree on issues, as all elected representatives do, and we recognise that democratic debate is what moves our union forward.
One thing we do all agree on is that a strong, national student voice is imperative to ensuring we defend and extend the rights of students. We know the impact of being able to effectively organise has had a huge impact across all four nations.
We are proud to be part of a 94 year-old organisation that has a long and proud history of improving both students’ lives and wider society. Saving students thousands of pounds, exempting them from council tax, raising the national apprentice minimum wage, protecting education budgets, campaigning against apartheid and defending our unions – we can see that NUS has had a massive positive impact on past, present and future students across the UK.
We can also see that there are a number of legitimate concerns about NUS. Indeed for many of us, we got involved in student representation to help fix those problems. Not enough of our membership understands the work we do, or is engaged in our union as much as we desire. We are committed to addressing those concerns over the coming year and being the national voice that you deserve and need.
This has never been more important. This Westminster government does not understand nor care about the issues of students. Their actions on maintenance grants cuts, FE area reviews, the Prevent strategy, NHS bursaries and the HE Bill shows this all too clearly. The student movement in Northern Ireland continues to champion a vision of society based on equality and community cohesion the Welsh assembly is negotiating who will lead with UKIP holding the balance of power, while in Scotland we are still fighting for a fair and equitable deal for FE students.
The only way we can lobby and campaign effectively on behalf of students is if we do so together, as we have done so successfully in the past.
So this is our promise;
We as a team will work together to find and create joint priorities over the coming months for the benefit of members, students’ unions, and through them, students.
We will spend our year openly and honestly addressing the concerns that students have put to us, explaining what we do, learning what you want from your national union and exploring how we can best achieve that.
At National conference 2017, we will bring a new proposal for NUS’ democracy to be more transparent and representative, as well as a new model of affiliation fees for students’ unions – to ensure the very best deal for students’ unions.
Megan Dunn, National President 2015/16
Malia Bouattia, National President-elect 2016/17
Shakira Martin, Vice President (Further Education) 2015/2017
Sorana Vieru, Vice President (Higher Education) 2015/2017
Piers Telemacque, Vice President (Society & Citizenship) 2014/2016
Robbiie Young, VP (Society & Citizenship)-elect 2016/2017
Richard Brooks, Vice President (Union Development) 2015/2017
Shelly Asquith, Vice President (Welfare) 2015/2017
Vonnie Sandlan, NUS Scotland President 2015/2017
Rob Henthorn, NUS Scotland Vice President (Education) 2015/2017
Emily Beever, NUS Scotland Women’s Officer 2015/2016
Angela Alexander, NUS Scotland Women’s Officer-elect 2016/2017
Beth Button, NUS Wales President 2014/2016
Fllur Elin, NUS Wales President-elect 2016/2017
Ebbi Ferguson, NUS Wales Deputy President 2014/2016
Carmen Smith, NUS Wales Deputy President-elect 2016/2017
Rosie Inman, NUS Wales Women’s Officer 2014/2016
Ellen Jones, NUS Wales Women’s Officer-elect 2016/2017
Fergal McFerran, NUS-USI President 2015-2017
Maddy Kirkman, Disabled Students’ Officer 2014-2016
James Elliot, Disabled Students’ Officer-elect 2016-2017
Mostafa Rajaai, International Students’ Officer 2015-2017
Fran Cowling, LGBT+ Officer (Women's Place) 2016-2017
Melantha Chittenden, LGBT+ Officer (Women's Place)-elect 2016-2017
Noorulann Shahid, LGBT+ (Open Place)-elect 2016-2017
Susuana Amoah, Women’s Officer 2014-2016
Hareem Ghani, Women’s Officer-elect 2016-2017