Open letter demands NUS not to cut international student representation
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Earlier this month, the NUS announced in a document sent to candidates that they would be 'pausing all elections, with immediate effect' including full-time officer roles. The election and nomination process will remain suspended until a decision is made at the January board meeting. Nominations for positions that have already closed including the International Students' Officer and Trans Students' Officer will remain 'in suspense' until a ruling is made in January 'following the outcome of the Joint Boards' decision.' Franklin Jacob, the VP Societies and Citizenship at the University of West Scotland Students’ Association, said: "I'm an international student, and this news angers me. The suspension of these elections can only mean that the NUS is preparing to make cuts that might affect these campaigns. "I question the reasoning of the NUS if it decides to cut the International Students' Campaign at a time when xenophobic hatred is at a high." An open letter addressed to the NUS explains that students are concerned with rumours that the International Students' Officer position may be downgraded to a voluntary role. Robert Liow, the VP Welfare and Community of King’s College London Student Union said: "I wrote this open letter in my personal capacity, in protest at the frankly short-sighted decision of the NUS to make cuts to the International Students' Campaign. "Xenophobia, and violent xenophobia at that, is on the rise - just the other day, a South Korean student was attacked in Central London for being visibly foreign." Liow believes that if the Board decide to withdraw funding to these campaigns, it is likely the elections will not go ahead, or that the campaigns will no longer be led by a full-time elected officer. Riddi Viswanathan, the full-time International Students’ Officer at the University of Manchester, supported the letter as well, saying: “Any cuts would just mean that the voice of the marginalised international students would be lost and this will manifest not only with an increase in disengagement from international union officers but also disengagement from other sector organisations representing international students and the wider student movement. "I really hope NUS don’t make any significant cuts to this campaign whilst still being able to carry out its other functions.” More to follow Image Credit: Willowbarbican
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