NUS picks next national president

The National Union of Students has chosen the current president of City, University of London students’ union as its national leader

The National Union of Students has picked Shaima Dallali as its next president, who will replace out-going incumbent Larissa Kennedy in July.

The current president of the students’ union at City, University of London, triumphed in the national vote held between 16 and 28 March, open to 636 delegates from around the country. The result was revealed at the NUS national conference held this week in Liverpool. Turnout was 84.5%.

Commenting on the result, Dallali said she was “immensely proud and humbled” by her election.

“Access to education is a right that should be available to everyone, regardless of who they are and where they’re from,” she said. “Fighting to challenge injustices is central to our vision as students, and with the support of grassroots organisations, we have the opportunity to challenge institutional frameworks that seek to limit the accessibility and experience of students and staff in education.”

Her manifesto spoke of her desire to help student unions decolonise their institutions and address the cost of rent.

Her candidacy drew detraction from some members of the National Union of Jewish Students (UJS). The UJS tweeted that some of its members had expressed concerns over her past tweets. The Jewish News reported that Dallali had apologised last week for a 10-year-old tweet that referenced the Battle of Khaybar, where many Jews were killed in conflict with Muslims.

In a statement released last week, she said: “During Israel’s assault on Gaza, I referenced the battle of Khaybar in which Jewish and Muslim armies fought. I was wrong to see the Palestine conflict as one between Muslims and Jews. “The reference made as a teenager was unacceptable, and I sincerely and unreservedly apologise.”

Following her election, the UJS tweeted: “There have been many bridges broken between NUS and Jewish students over the past weeks. We call on Shaima and her team to join us in rebuilding those bridges to ensure that NUS becomes a space Jewish students once more feel welcomed into, rather than sidelined and excluded.”

Dallali tweeted that her “hands are outstretched to all students and staff that work in our movement, including Jewish students, and would love to arrange a meeting once I’m in office”. She said was “ready to listen to the concerns of all students on how we can make our movement inclusive and open to all”.

 The deputy president of the Liverpool Guild of Students, Chloe Field, was elected the NUS vice-president for higher education. Bernie Savage, the student president at the City of Glasgow College Students’ Association was elected vice-president for further education.

In her manifesto, Field said she had helped reform the sexual misconduct complaints process at her university, pledging that if elected to work on a national level to make “survivor-focused disciplinary policies” more widespread. Savage’s manifesto pledged to ensure FE students are no longer “overlooked and forgotten when tackling the big issues students face today”.

Picture credit: National Union of Students. 

Read more: Students fear stagnant careers and cost of living crisis, says NUS

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