The National Union of Students’ (NUS) has gone through an Institutional Racism Review IRR as demanded by its then Black Students’ Officer; Malia Bouattia. The review was called for as a result of the racism faced by people of colour within the NUS and the wider student movement. Following the announcement of the findings from the IRR we would like stand in solidarity with the NUS Black Students’ Campaign along with the full-time officers and National Executive Council (NEC) Members who define into the campaign.
In December NEC members of colour withdrew their labour from the NUS NEC meeting to mark a year since the review was called and to highlight the unacceptable conditions that students of colour, officers and volunteers continue to endure despite their invaluable contributions to the student movement.
The IRR findings demonstrate severe institutional failings of the NUS towards its staff, elected officers and volunteers. It is important to understand that racism and institutional racism is not unique to the NUS but is present in institutions, organisations and unions across the country. The NUS has made this first step towards addressing the issue and improving the environments across the movement. The IRR outlines recommendations to the national union of which the organisation and president have pledged to implement immediately and we have a responsibility to help and make these changes here at RUSU.
When the number of people of colour as students and elected student representatives has increased there has been a lack of support for them within the movement. There have been failures to protect the mental and physical wellbeing of those on the NEC and the full-time officer team, including the president; Malia Bouattia.
The student movement needs to take a step forward to now improve and accept the situation. Every union has a part to play to ensure that the student movement is strong. We have a responsibility to work towards combating the issues highlighted within this review and from the Black Students’ Campaign. We must now work together to move forwards and create a movement that is truly inclusive, liberated and accessible for all.
More information about the review, its findings and recommendations can be found here: http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/shape-our-work/irr