British Student Leader Accused Of Anti-Semitism Defeated In Reelection Bid

FE champion elected NUS president

FE champion Shakira Martin [pictured above] has emerged victorious in the race to become the next president of the National Union of Students - and only the second to have attended an FE college.

Martin will have a hard task ahead of her if she intends to heal the rifts in the NUS; several student unions across the United Kingdom voted to disaffiliate from the union previous year, including the universities of Cambridge, Oxford, and York. "Students were fed up of hearing about change, and voted to see some impact for a change".

Malia Bouattia, the first black Muslim female president of the UK's National Union of Students (NUS) who has drawn fierce criticism for speaking out against Israel, was on Wednesday defeated in her bid for re-election. She is now an NUS Vice President.

The third-placed candidate told Palatinate: "I'm very proud to have pushed the conversation to address some of the deep structural failings of the NUS".

Satirical video campaigner Tom Harwood was also unsuccessful this year, despite his sharp rise to fame following claims he could "defeat Isis" and lower the cost of Freddos in his initial NUS delegate campaign.

Nevertheless, the president received a standing ovation from her supporters when she spoke at the conference, emphasising her background as the child of refuges from Algeria.

"We should be fighting credible battles, and offering constructive solutions".

Speaking to the conference floor past year, Ms Martin said: "FE stands for free education, further education, for everyone".

"Further Education made me who I am today and look forward to sharing stories of just how powerful all forms of education can be when we're all given access to it", she said following the announcement of her win.

The group said in a statement: "Shakira's election demonstrates a rejection of the divisive rhetoric used by the current President, Malia Bouattia, whose past antisemitic comments have remained problematic for Jewish students for over a year".

Bouattia's election a year ago was hailed by her supporters as a victory for grassroots activism but critics have repeatedly accused her of anti-Semitism, causing stark divisions within the NUS and complaints from university Jewish societies. Having been denied refugee status, her family of five shared one room when they arrived in the UK.

Related News: