Non-Jewish Students Can Now Vote For Jewish NUS Representatives
At yesterday’s NUS National Executive Council (NEC) meeting members voted in favour of an amendment which affects the Anti-Racism, Anti-Fascism (ARAF) committee.
Amendment 2b ensures that the ARAF committee, which consists of 7 members, will reserve each of its places specifically for a Black Students’ Officer, member of the Black Students’ Committee, a Jewish member, Muslim member, LGBT+ member and a Migrant member. The final place will be left open for any member.
The amendment also means that each of these 7 positions will be voted for by members of the NEC. In the past, Jewish students decided the Jewish representative on the Anti-Racism, Anti-Fascism committee.
NEC voters were tied on the amendment, but recently elected NUS President Malia Bouattia was the deciding vote in favour.
Following the passing of the amendment, many took to Twitter to express their concerns for the representation of Jewish students.
They feel that Jewish students alone should elect the Jewish member of the committee to ensure they are properly represented.
Jewish students in the UK just got told that they don't have a say in who combats racism and fascism on their behalf. #NUSNEC
— Josh Nagli (@joshnagli) July 18, 2016
Oh how I don't miss you #NUSNEC. Solidarity to those who actually wanted to consult with Jewish students instead of alienate them again.
— Russell Langer (@R_Langer) July 18, 2016
Sad but not surprised to see the hard left, out of touch, clique who dominate #NUSNEC once again decided to ignore voice of Jewish students.
— Michael Rubin (@MichaelRubin92) July 18, 2016
ARAF co-convenor Izzy Lenga even suggested the amendment could lead to more universities disaffiliating from the NUS.
Lenga voted against the amendment, vocalising her anger on Twitter when it passed successfully. She suggested that Jewish students would be more likely to want their universities to disaffiliate from the NUS as a result of it.
This comes after multiple students’ unions have voted on their NUS membership following Malia Bouattia’s election as NUS President. Newcastle, Lincoln, Hull and Loughborough students have so far voted to disaffiliate.
And I can only now imagine the voices of hundreds of Jewish students calling for disaffiliation increasing, yet still ignored #NUSNEC
— Izzy Lenga (@izzyjengalenga) July 18, 2016
On the other hand, there were many who felt the amendment was positive, saying it shows the NUS is taking steps to guarantee representation for all groups affected by racist and fascist beliefs.
The amendment acknowledges that, in the past, there was no rule about who should be on the ARAF committee. So, in theory, it could be composed of members who do not define into any liberation group or any group affected by racism or fascism.
— Areeb Ullah (@are_eb) July 18, 2016
Voting for 2b as it's vital the ARAF campaign is democratic n grantees representation for all those effected inc. Jewish students #NUSNEC
— Sahaya James (@TheOtherSahaya) July 18, 2016
1/2 Amazing to see the #NUSNEC pass a motion to ensure there is democratic broad representation in NUS ARAF work (Anti Racism Anti Fascism)
— Yusuf Hassan (@YusufHassan20) July 18, 2016
And NEC member Deborah Hermanns pointed out that Jewish students were involved in writing the amendment.
What do you mean "not listening to Jewish students"?
I helped write the motion. Am I not Jewish enough? #NUSNEC
— Deborah Hermanns (@Deborah_Malina) July 18, 2016
It is clear that students and their elected representatives are divided on whether Amendment 2b is a good or bad thing. You can read it yourself, and all the other motions and amendments that were voted on yesterday, here.