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Madness and Hypocrisy – Some Highlights From the Annual NUS Conference

Student politicos have been on good form this year. Wisdom gifted to us in their declarations include the revelation that clapping is traumatizing; that men wearing dresses is transphobic; complimenting a woman’s handwriting is sexist; and that male gay culture is racist because it appropriates female black culture.

Last week the NUS met for its annual conference in Liverpool. You must be itching to find out what they came up with this time, so here are some highlights.

Censoring UKIP

At this year’s event political parties were invited to submit videos to be broadcast to the audience.

NUS President Toni Pearce declared before conference the institution’s commitment to impartiality; “In the interest of fairness, all parties were invited to contribute,” she said.

A press release later clarified: “Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg, Labour’s Ed Miliband, SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon, Plaid Cymru Leanne Woods, Minister for Universities, Science and Cities, Greg Clark, put forward by the Conservatives, relayed their parties youth message.

“UKIP’s Nigel Farage was not asked to participate as last year NUS conference passed clear policy influencing this, and the Greens failed to submit a video.”

Of course last year’s conference voted decisively to “formally condemn” and oppose UKIP, and the NUS ranted in its blog posts about the party’s “racist,” “islamophobic” and “xenophobic” agenda that they are “urging [students not] to support.”

Working with Terrorists

The same organization taking an apparently moral stand against UKIP went on to confirm plans to work with Jihadi John-sympathising organization CAGE.

Asim Qureshi of CAGE described Jihadi John as a “beautiful person” and later replied, “Look, I’m not a theologian,” when Andrew Neil asked if he agreed with the statement; “Female genital mutilation is not only acceptable but obligatory… Non-Muslim prisoners can be taken as slaves.”

Motion 517 was tabled to “oppose the Counter Terrorism and Security Act,” and “condemn” the government’s counter-terrorism and extremism strategy, PREVENT. They argue the strategy “turns issues of welfare and social depravation into ones of national security,” and therefore targets Muslim organisations indiscriminately, and destroys social harmony.

They plan to do this by “working alongside civil liberties groups like CAGE.”

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Trans Officer

In a repeat of last year, a motion was considered calling for a dedicated “trans officer.” Motion 705 failed, however.

The NUS currently has two paid full time “LGBT+ officers.” One position is reserved for a “self-defining woman” and the other role is described as “open,” to be filled by a person of any or whatever gender.

For the second time it received a majority of support, but missed the two thirds necessary to pass. It was argued the organization couldn’t afford the extra £60,000 a year to fund position.

Rowan Davis, the Trans rep for the “OULGBTQ Society” of Wadhamite college Oxford, told Oxford Cherwell, “I am utterly appalled that, couched in the language of liberation, this year’s NUS National Conference completely failed to uphold trans autonomy and instead prioritised the voices of cisgender LGB people.  

“The actions of cis delegates, including filibustering and blocking, made a mockery of the democratic procedures of the NUS and I would ask people that voted against the motion or abstained just to sit and think about how many more trans students will face the oppressive structures of transphobia because of their actions – they should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.”

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