Published on February 3, 2014 | by Jessica Murray1
SUARTS president is elected first NUS London chair
After being elected as the first ever chair of NUS London, Shelly Asquith has said that the capital’s student unions need to be more inclusive.
Following a recent meeting where the working group for the new body was elected, SUARTS president Asquith won the leading position after delivering a speech outlining hopeful plans for the future of London students.
She said NUS London is “an opportunity to create a meaningful, democratic and campaigning citywide union,” and aims to be “truly representative of all students, not just those from the HE, Russell Group elite.”
A major goal for Asquith and her working group is to “help broaden discussion to those unions who have felt cut out so far,” as well as the ongoing campaign to save ULU.
“NUS London is our chance for a London union to finally be inclusive, and ULU offers us a physical space – an infrastructure – from which to base ourselves. There are some exciting options ahead,” she said.
However some attending the NUS London meeting urged caution about the financial model of the project, especially those who represented cash-strapped Student Unions.
Asquith countered: “Any route forward must be proportional. I believe there is a case for an NUS London where the richest unions contribute the most. I’m looking at you, UCLU.”
UCL student Marcus Jones disagreed and said it would not be fair for universities such as his to contribute more money.
He told Arts London News: “You have to bear in mind that UCL is a lot bigger than places like UAL and other London universities – we have 30,000 students. So, the amount of money we have for our SU is proportionate to the amount of students. Also, we already contribute heavily to London projects.”
Concerns were also expressed about issues such as housing and planning for campaigns that are rooted in every halls of residence in UAL so that no-one is left out.
Other major plans for NUS London include “travel subsidies, cuts threatening our members’ safety, an end to police violence and racism, and for greater inclusion and development of our FE members, who have all too often been left behind when it comes to representation in London and in NUS,” said Asquith.
“I believe there is a case for an NUS London where the richest unions contribute the most. I’m looking at you, UCLU.” Shelly Asquith
She plans to work towards “the creation of a funded, democratic and representative union.”
Future NUS London meetings will be open to any London SU officer or student interested.
The first meeting is scheduled for 10am on February 7 at SUARTS, 272 High Holborn, WC17EY.