No confidence in Aaron Porter!

The campaign to remove NUS President Aaron Porter from office.

Facebook page here.

We the undersigned believe that Aaron Porter should be removed as NUS National President as he is unable to lead the student movement. His failure to call or even back another National Demonstration, his refusal to back up his promises of support for occupations, his weak stance on police brutality and his collusion with the Government in identifying cuts means that he has lost the confidence of the movement.

We call on activists to bring motions to their SUs calling for his removal and an Extraordinary Conference to do so.

Signed in a personal capacity:

Sean Rillo Raczka, NUS NEC and Chair of Birkbeck SU
Clare Solomon, ULU President
Fiona Edwards, Student Broad Left
Joshi Sachdeo, NUS NEC
Ashok Kumar, LSE Education Officer
Mary Robertston, Free Education Campaign & SOAS Occupier
Javed Anjum Sheikh, NUS NEC
Poggy Murray, NUS Black Students Committee & Liverpool Guild of Students LGBT Officer

To add your name email: [email protected]

Motion of no confidence:


1. That on the 9/12/10 over 30,000 students marched from the University of London Union (ULU) to Parliament in a protest against fees and cuts on the day of the vote to raise tuition fees.

2. That the National Union of Students organised a candlelight vigil and rally in Victoria Embankment with under 1,000 attending.

3. That the NUS NEC, in a proposal made by NUS President Aaron Porter, voted NOT to back the march from ULU.

4. That Aaron Porter stated he was ‘not at all proud’ of the ULU protest.

5. That the co-ordinators of the NUS Rally at Victoria Embankment urged those in attendance to return home immediately afterwards and not to join the protest in Parliament Square.

6. That violent police tactics including kettling, horse charges and the use of batons were deployed by the Met, leaving over 43 protestors injured or hospitalised, including one life threatening injury.

7. That the NUS has not put out an official statement condemning the police violence towards students on the 9th of December, standing up for their right to protest and not be illegally kettled or charged by horses.

8. That Aaron Porter recently visited the UCL Occupation where he stated that the NUS would provide support for those in occupation, as well as calling a National Demonstration on the day of the fees vote.

9. That at the UCL Occupation meeting Aaron Porter admitted that the NUS had been ‘spineless’ and ‘dithering’ in response the student occupations.

10. That Aaron Porter has reneged on both promises mentioned above (8).


1. That emails leaked to the Daily Telegraph show that the NUS had put models of alternative cuts to Ministers, outlining where cuts could be made to the Higher Education budget without raising tuition fees. These plans included cutting grants to the poorest students, and immediately charging a higher commercial rate on interest on student loans.

2. That the NUS response to this leak is to admit that they had ‘met with ministers and officials to discuss and model various potential impacts of cuts to Higher Education’


1. That the National Union of Students should not be in the business of modelling cuts for the ConDem Government or discussing possible ways of cutting grants from the poorest of students.

2. That the NUS National President should keep his promises.

3. That the NUS should organise another National Demo, and officially supporting and coordinating other demonstrations and protest.

4. That the NUS should give practical support to occupations and students affected by police violence.

5. That Aaron Porter, given his failure to assist students & occupation, and to coordinate or support further National Demonstrations against the cuts, and because of his helpful emails to the government, is incapable of leading the student movement.


1. That we have no confidence in Aaron Porter as NUS President.

2. To call for an Extraordinary Conference to hear this vote of no confidence.

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  1. We need to get rid of him in time for the march at the end of January!
    I’d be more than happy never to see Aaron’s face again.

  2. Unlucky chap. Usually being a timid yes-man NUS President makes you a shoe in as an MP. How was he to know that students would ‘wake up’ on his watch and work out what is going on? Of course he must go.

  3. marianundertheduvet says:

    They way in which Aaron Porter has undermined actions brings shame on all of the NEC. If anyone doubts his political ambitions they have only to review his recent performances in the media. He must go.

  4. Greetings from France! As a militant and trade-unionist in my country, I fully support your initiative to bring down the bureaucracy in your union. It is not just a matter of persons, but a social and political reality everywhere in Europe: while the only answer of all our governments in France, England, Ireland, Greece, Italy to the crisis is to make cuts, privatise, destroy public services… our well paid trade union leaders coordonate their “effort” to collaborate with thiese governments in the name of “social dialogue”. Sad but true: workers and students have to fight against them and to replace them if they want to build real unions at their service, and to defend real revendications.

    Be sure your fight will have repercussions inside the workers movement, and that I’ll follow this campaign with great interest.

  5. Yes completely agreed. But one concern:

    The focus of the above is how Porter has betrayed the movement fighting back against cuts and fees. These reasons carry a lot of weight with the left, but what about the centre and right who (it’s my impression) dominate the NUS?

    It occurs to me that Porter is presiding over the continuation of a certain trajectory in the NUS: towards depoliticisation, towards increasingly anti-democratic NUS structures, towards increasingly becoming instrumental in the implementation of the vision of govt and big business vis universities. The better informed can no-doubt flesh this out in far greater detail.

    The net result is that on campuses SUs are not effectively resisting anything, but actually operating as little businesses, administering the “social” side of the “student experience”, as well as colluding in many cases Universities vis accomodation, surveying student satisfaction, etc. The corollary is that SUs up and down the country are shrivelling, as students justly grow apathetic about the SU.

    I think a lot of the centrists (e.g. typical sabb and non-sabb material) feel very uncomfortable about this pattern. If we can knock this out more concretely than I’m able, and put it into the motion, perhaps we can split the centre from the right. E.g. Under Porter the NUS has become increasingly undemocratic; Under Porter’s type student support has been traded in for political connections; We’re not happy with the tendency toward commercialisation of the NUS exemplified by this and that decision; The NUS is itself in crisis, because student support is deeply compromised by this trend toward depoliticisation as manifest locally (e.g. failing of students on campuses vis rents and courses and services) as well as nationally.

    In short: as well as having betrayed us, Porter is incompetent, and his leadership is directing us toward NUS’s self destruction.

    A follow up is that we need to use Porter as a way of critiquing the general trajectory of the NUS and its current function; of making it clear that Porter is only an epiphenomenon: a symptom of a far deeper malaise. That deposing Porter is a way of saying: we do not want a Union that is failing students.

    What do you think? Hopefully it makes some sense. I’m only sensing this as a structure of feeling on my campus – those more involved in NUS might have better examples to substantiate this.

    Best wishes,

  6. This is tabled to be proposed at a General Meeting at Lancaster University. I’ll report on how it goes. Which universities have managed to pass this? Does anyone have a list? I know Bristol did, but that’s just via google.


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