Statement on NUS President Megan Dunn’s announcement on CAGE and the Students not Suspects tour

students-not-suspects-tourThis is a cross-posted statement, which originally appeared here.

This statement is not an NCAFC statement, and its publication here does not necessarily reflect the views of NCAFC as an organisation (or vice versa).

We the undersigned express our grave concerns over NUS President Megan Dunn’s decisions with regards to the NUS’s campaign opposing the Counter-terrorism and Security Act, and the implications this has for student campaigning against the PREVENT agenda in future.

On the morning of Friday 2nd October Megan took to media to announce that she, acting on behalf of NUS, had ruled out working with the civil rights group CAGE in campaigning against PREVENT, whilst resources and organisational support has been withdrawn for the ‘Students not Suspects tour’ co-hosted by NUS.

This announcement comes with the timid assurance that NUS was still ‘strongly committed to opposing the Counter-terrorism and Security Act’ and crucially the PREVENT agenda.

But when the NUS President single-handedly takes a decision that massively undermines what has been NUS’s key work around the campaign to oppose PREVENT-the Students Suspects tour, which many NUS officers, Student Union officers and activists have invested heavily in for months-a mere 12 days before its launch, words along come as little comfort.

This isn’t helped by the fact that recent statements from the President around PREVENT, namely in response to David Cameron and Jo Johnson’s condemnations of NUS’ campaign against it, and its relationship with CAGE, have taken a decidedly apologetic and defensive tone instead of standing strong against bullying from the state.

This comes at a critical point in the campaign — the PREVENT duty took effect for universities a fortnight ago, and already we’ve witnessed a string of stories emerge including those of a Muslim student who withdrew from his course after being interrogated for reading a text on terrorism for his thesis in his university library.

With all eyes currently on NUS to set the lead on what has become a national campaign against the CTS Act, with SU officers up and down the country contacting NUS officers for advice in combatting the initiative, and students across NUS’ membership desperately relying on their national union to come to their defence, the decision by the NUS President to bow down to government pressure to save face is not just poorly-timed, it is a betrayal of its members — many of which have much, much more to lose in the face of these attacks than just reputation.

The autocratic manner in which this decision was imposed also sets a very unsettling precedent for an officer abusing their powers within an organisation and marginalizing those most sharply affected by the issues at hand — the complete sidelining of Black and Muslim members of NUS from this decision, especially one made on grounds of ‘anti-racism’ and ‘anti-fascism’, is astounding.

The campaign against CAGE led by the government is only one high profile example of the sustained attacks Muslim-led organisations across the spectrum have been subjected to under PREVENT and counter-terrorism legislation.

While cutting ties with CAGE denies NUS a wealth of experience and information in tackling PREVENT, NUS’ insistence on reiterating baseless, Islamophobic smears against the organisation has much wider ramifications — adopting the narrative and language of the government when dealing with Muslim groups directly reinforces the framework of PREVENT: that politically active Muslim organisations are beyond the pale to engage with, and that Muslims should be left to fight alone.

If you would like to sign the statement then email your name and position to [email protected]

  • Nadine Almanasfi, President, King’s College London Students’ Union
  • Rachel Williams, Vice President of Welfare and Community, King’s College London Students’ Union
  • Joe Simpson, Vice President for Activities and Development, King’s College London Students’ Union
  • Hareem Ghani, Women’s Officer, King’s College London Students’ Union
  • Robiu Salisu, Education Officer, Swansea University Students’ Union/NUS Wales NEC
  • Dimontee Churchill, International Students’ Officer, Swansea University Students’ Union
  • Malia Bouattia, NUS Black Students’ Officer
  • Sanjay Lago, NUS Scotland Black Students’ Officer
  • Akosua Darko, NUS Wales Black Students’ Officer
  • Shabina Raja, NUS NEC Black Students’ Rep
  • Zarah Sultana, NUS Black Students’ Campaign Committee
  • Abdullah Geelah, NUS Black Students’ Campaign Committee
  • Sahara Musa, NUS Black Students’ Campaign Committee
  • Noha Abou El Magd, NUS Black Students Campaign Committee
  • Aaron Lowman, College of Health & Life Sciences Officer, Union of Brunel Students
  • Adam Elmi, Home Students’ Officer, Birmingham Guild of Students
  • Adil Waraich, President, De Montfort University Students’ Union
  • Adrihani Abd Rashid, President, Goldsmiths University Students’ Union
  • Aftarr Ali, Welfare Officer, Wolverhampton Students’ Union
  • Alasdair Clark, Vice President Education, Fife College Students’ Association
  • Alex Etches, Campaigns and Activities Officer, Goldsmiths University Students’ Union
  • Ali Milani, President, Union of Brunel Students
  • Amina Lunat, Black & Minority Ethnic Students’ Officer, University College London Union
  • Anastazja Oppenheim, Campaigns Officer, University of the Arts London Students’ Union
  • Annie Gainsborough, Activities Officer, Sheffield University Students’ Union
  • Aysha Fekaiki, Community and Welfare officer, The London School of Economics and Political Science Students’ Union
  • Bahar Mustafa, Goldsmiths SU Welfare and Diversity Officer
  • Ben Hunt, Vice President Arts and Sciences, King’s College London Students’ Union
  • Chris Jarvis Campaigns and Democracy Officer, University of East Anglia Students’ Union
  • Christy Mc Morrow, President, Sheffield University Students’ Union
  • Daniel Nikolla, President of Higher Education, City and Islington College Students’ Union
  • Danny Nasr, Education Officer, Goldsmiths University Students’ Union
  • Davide Bertelli, VP International & Outreach, University of Plymouth Students’ Union
  • Dr Stephanie Harris, Sport and Student Development Officer, Bristol University Students’ Union
  • Gabi Binnie, Welfare Officer, Sheffield University Students’ Union
  • Hannah Slydel, Co-President Welfare & Campaigns, School of African and Oriental Studies Students’ Union
  • Hazmin Ahamed, Academic Affairs Officer, University of Bradford Students’ Union
  • Imran Hussain, Vice President Education, Queen Mary Students’ Union
  • Jamie Cross, Equality, Liberation and access officer, Bristol University Students’ Union
  • Jessica Small, Vice President Welfare, University of Plymouth Students’ Union
  • Jo Swo, Welfare, Community & Diversity Officer, University of East Anglia Students’ Union
  • Laura Ho, Postgraduate Education Officer, Bristol University Students’ Union
  • Liam McCafferty, Postgraduate Education Officer, University of East Anglia Students’ Union
  • Michael Darlow, Vice President Student Activities, Union of Brunel Students
  • Michael Spence, Education Officer, Manchester University Students’ Union
  • Minesh Parekh, Education Officer, Sheffield University Students’ Union
  • Mohamed-Zain Dada, Co-President Activies & Events, School of African and Oriental Studies Students’ Union
  • Mohammad Ali, Sustainability, Engagement and Operations Officer, University College London Students’ Union
  • Mohammed Bashir, BME Officer, University of Bradford Students’ Union
  • Natalie James, Women’s Officer, University College London Union
  • Peggy Lim, International Students’ Officer, Sheffield University Students’ Union
  • Rimsha Ahmed, Vice President, University of the Arts London Islamic Society
  • Rob Hartley, Sports Officer, Bradford University Students’ Union
  • Saba Shiraz, Black Students Officer, Birkbeck Students’ Union
  • Sayed Alkadiri, Vice President, Middlesex Students’ Union
  • Sharmin Jahan, Women’s Officer, Sheffield University Students’ Union
  • Tasmia Salim, Education Officer, University of Central Lancashire Students’ Union
  • Thomas Phipps, Union Affairs Officer, Bristol University Students’ Union
  • Tom King, Co-President Democracy & Education, School of African and Oriental Studies Students’ Union
  • Tom Robinson, Welfare & International Officer, University College London Union
  • Wahida Samie, Education and Campaigns Officer, University College London Union
  • Yinbo Yu, Activities and Opportunities Officer, University of East Anglia Students’ Union
  • Yousef Mohammed, College of Business, Art and Social Sciences Officer, Union of Brunel Students
  • Piers Telemacque, NUS Vice President Society and Citizenship
  • Shelly Asquith, NUS Vice President Welfare
  • Mostafa Rajaai, NUS International Students’ Officer
  • Shakira Martin, NUS Vice President Further Education
  • Maddy Kirkman, NUS Disabled Students’ Officer
  • Susuana Amoah, NUS Women’s Officer
  • Fran Cowling, NUS LGBT officer (Women’s place)
  • Sorana Vieru, NUS Vice President Higher Education
  • Sai Englert, NUS NEC Postgraduate Research Place
  • Mahamid Ahmed, NUS NEC Postgraduate Taught Place
  • Samayya Afzal, NUS NEC Society & Citizenship Zone Rep
  • James Elliot, NUS NEC Disabled Students’ Rep
  • Bianca Coseru, NUS NEC International Students’ Rep
  • Sabrin Adam, NUS NEC Block of 15
  • Areeb Ullah, NUS NEC Block of 15
  • Michael Segalov, NUS NEC Block of 15
  • Barnaby Raine, NUS NEC Block of 15
  • Sahaya James, NUS NEC Block of 15
  • Haaris Ahmed, NUS NEC Block of 15
  • Beth Redmond, NUS NEC Block of 15
  • Ryan Davies, NUS NEC
  • Hassun El-Zaffar, Education Officer — Sheffield Hallam University’s Students’ Unions and NUS Black Students Committee (Disabled Rep)
  • Aleem Bashir, Union Affairs Officer at Bradford Students’ Union
  • Hamza Yousaf, Activities officer at Bradford Students’ Union
  • Subira Ismail, Community and Welfare at Bradford Students’ Union
  • Scarlett Langdon, Welfare Officer, University of The Arts Students’ Union (SUARTS)
  • Summer Oxley, Activities Officer, University of The Arts Students’ Union (SUARTS)
  • Anastazja Oppenheim, Campaigns Officer, University of The Arts Students’ Union (SUARTS)
  • Bee Tajudeen, Education Officer, University of The Arts Students’ Union (SUARTS)
  • Raj Jeyaraj, VP Diversity at Strathclyde Students’ Association
  • Zain Qureshi , NUS Scotland Black Student’s Committee Member

 

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