Last year, the National Union of Students' Black Students' Officer called for a full institutional racism review (IRR) into the organisation, amid growing concerns amongst students of colour and black and minority ethnic (BME) staff members about the unacceptable culture of racism within the movement.
As members of the NUS, we alongside millions of students believe in liberation, inclusion, and anti-racism as foundational to our work. We stand in solidarity with NUS Black Students’ Campaign, NUS Full time Officers, NEC and staff that identify into the campaign.
Just last week, student members of colour from the NUS' National Executive Council (NEC) withdrew their labour from the meeting to mark a year since the review was demanded, as well as to draw attention to the severe conditions that students of colour, officers and volunteers continue to experience throughout the movement.
The National Executive Council is the main scrutiny and accountability meeting for NUS' Officers, ensuring they are undertaking their roles in the interests of students nationally and in specific groups, as well as having the mandate to discuss and pass motions into policy.
On Monday, the IRR was finally released (internally within the NUS), identifying a hostile environment within NUS for people of colour and failings in the organisation to address and support people of colour. There have been 27 recommendations put forward in light of the report. We as an officer team believe these should be put forward and implemented with immediate effect.
The NUS Black Students' Campaign has released a statement on the IRR, stating: "Racism plays out within NUS' political field in a multitude of ways. From tokenisation, co-option of liberation for factional gain, rampant double standards facing elected officers, and a perverse situation where those most affected by racism have seemingly come to burden the responsibility for it."
It continues that there are many "stories of elected officers and volunteers being driven out of their institutions, undertaking self sacrifice often to the detriment of their mental health and wellbeing, and bearing insufferable burdens are all too common."
‘‘We should be working towards a movement that is truly inclusive, liberated and accessible to all’’.
Bristol Students’ Union Sabbatical Team