Section 5: A Voice for Change
and studentsí unions have an important role to play in the wider community. As
a progressive section of society, we have a moral obligation to work with other
voluntary and non- governmental organisations to challenge inequality and human
rights abuses. We must retain our proud tradition of being an internationalist
movement, speak out for our values - a fair and democratic society. We must also
be at forefront of the campaign to shape the future of the UK. We must re-energise
our efforts to encourage students and young people to play an active role as
citizens of their local communities.
must also speak out for thousands of students in the work place with little
protection and representation. We must continue to work with the trade union
movement and ensure every student at work knows their rights and that they are
adequately protected from unscrupulous employers.
The vast majority of students are now in paid
employment and for many it is in the service industry with rigid rules and
little representation. Many students are forced to miss vital lectures and
tutorial support because their employers refuse to give them time off. Whether
it is students on placement or paid jobs, they too need a voice and the
protection from unscrupulous employers. I will continue to support the ongoing
work with the TUC to provide representation for students at work. I will also
work with studentsí unions to ensure the jobs advertised meet the expectations
of our movement. However, we must also continue to lobby government for more
student support so students can work fewer hours and spend more time securing
decent qualifications and developing themselves through extra curricular
Leading on equality
Students and NUS have
always been at the forefront of campaigns to promote equality and challenge
discrimination and bigotry on and off campuses. Throughout my time in the
student movement, I have been actively campaigning against the BNP and defending
the no-platform policy. During the last General Election, I was leafleting
against the BNP and the Far Right in many constituencies
The fight for equality is
not just the fight of liberation campaigns, we all have a responsibility, and as
President, I will work with them and with community groups to challenge
discriminatory laws like Section-28.
I will work with the
Voluntary Sector to identify funding for studentsí unions to comply with the
Disabilities Discrimination Act on access. The Human Rights Act has for the
first time provided protection and new rights for citizens. But it has also
provided opportunities for certain groups to exploit it under the guise of free
speech, and we all have a responsibility to challenge those who abuse the laws
and threaten the safety of our students. As President, I will defend the
no-platform policy and actively encourage unions to adopt it. I will provide
unions with briefings on the practical implementation of the no-platform policy
and how best it can complement existing equal opportunities polices.
Making the student vote count
The potential of over three
million students to express their view in the ballot box remains our ultimate
strength, but the current trend among students and young people should be a
worry for all of us. NUS must be at the heart of the campaign to encourage young
people and students to register to vote.
As President, I will work
with the Electoral commission and local government associations to develop a
simpler system of registration for students and to bring polling stations to
every campus. I will also work with all the political parties to set up MP
surgeries on campuses.
Internationalism & Europe
dictatorships and poverty continue to blight million of lives.
Student leaders continue to be jailed in many parts of the world for
standing up for the same values that founded our movement. We all have a moral
obligation to speak out and defend those values we take for granted.
This century has seen the
establishment of new relationships for the UK, especially in Europe, and the
Single Currency is going to be an issue not just for the government but also for
studentsí unions and NUSSL. It is therefore vital that students are well
informed and play a central role on the Euro debate. I will work with NUSSL and
AMSU to provide unions with information on its impact of on trading and
As we get closer to Europe,
it is important we work closely with our counterparts on the continent. I will
establish a specific area of responsibility on Europe on the NEC teams to work
closely with ESIB and the European Parliament.
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