‘Serious failings’ shown by the NUS Racism Review
Are we really surprised at another NUS failure?
The NUS Racism report has shown there to be ‘serious failings’ in the way the NUS supports black staff.
These failings come after a difficult year for the national Union of Students, after allegations of anti-semitism against President Malia Bouattia led to the disaffiliation of several university Students Unions. A referendum held in May in Cambridge voted for CUSU to remain affiliated to the NUS, in spite of its failings towards Jewish students.
The report, conducted by a Race Equality Think Tank said in its report that it could not conclude that the NUS was institutionally racist ‘definitively’, but drew attention to significant racial failings, in particular that it had failed to support black “staff, officers and volunteers”.
Whilst Black Student’s Officer in the NUS, current President Bouattia argued that the NUS was institutionally racist. Key issues in the report included comments on the “inability [of white staff] during interviews to define or explain institutional racism”.
Plans to resolve some of these problems have already begun to be implemented, with a race equality expect planned to be appointed to the NUS executive. Yet this is far from the resolution everyone wants. Attention is still being drawn to the issues facing Jewish students at universities across the country, with Josh Nagli, President of the Union of Jewish Students arguing that there is “a lack of any in-depth examination of the challenges facing Jewish students”.
From within Cambridge itself there have been responses to the review. Nadine Batchelor-Hunt, President of the CUSU BME Campaign told Varisty that ‘further investigations into the issues the NUS has with racism’ were needed.
She also drew attention to the prevalence of the issues mentioned in the report within Cambridge itself: “in 2015 21.9 per cent of white undergraduates at the University of Cambridge achieved a First, whereas the figure drops to 9.9 per cent for Black or Black British African students, and 8.1 per cent for Mixed-White and Black Caribbean”.
It is clear that the problematic relationship with the NUS will not be resolved any time soon. The Tab has contacted CUSU President, Amatey Doku, for comment.