At the National Union of Students (NUS) conference held in Brighton, Malia Bouattia was elected as the NUS president for the upcoming academic year, becoming the first female black Muslim to do so.
Ms Bouattia won with a total of 372 votes, 44 more than competitor and current president Megan Dunn. Adil Waraich accumulated nine votes while a further 22 voted for the re-opening of nominations.
In her election speech, Malia said: “When we talk about liberation, it’s not just about women, black, LGBT+, or disabled students. It’s about us all.”
During this academic year, Ms Bouattia assumed the role of the NUS Black Students’ Officer. Her campaign has had a focus on issues such as “equality in education, black representation, anti-racism and anti-facism and international peace and justice”, according to the NUS website.
When we talk about liberation, it’s not just about women, black, LGBT+, or disabled students. It’s about us all
Controversy surrounding Bouattia’s appointment has arisen due to anti-semitism allegations made last week.
It was reported that in an article co-authored by Ms Bouattia from five years ago, she referred to the University of Birmingham as “something of a Zionist outpost in British Higher education”.
In October 2014, Malia opposed a motion to condemn Isis, allegedly stating that the “condemnation of Isis appears to have become a justification for war and blatant Islamophobia”.
The NUS later stated that she was disputing the motion’s wording, not the principle and later backed a condemnation of the terror group.
Warwick delegates had varying opinions. Sophie Worall, Politics and International Relations student, voted for Malia commenting that she has done an “amazing job” so far and “will be able to create real change”.
We feel as Jewish students that our voices are not being heard
Warwick Jewish/Israeli society
Marissa Beatty, Law student, opted for RON, saying she “liked Malia’s policies but couldn’t ignore Zionism comments”.
Charlie Hindhaugh also voted for RON. In a statement he said: “I was contacted by concerned Warwick students and after weighing up the articles, open letters and replies before the conference, I came to the conclusion that regrettably Malia’s response did not sufficiently address the concerns that had been raised or offer any adequate or proactive steps to ensure Jewish students would not feel marginalised by the NUS.”
George Creasy, Societies Officer, voted for Megan saying she is the leader “the NUS needs” and can “represent all students and unite them”. He also added that the criticisms Malia received in the press “does not reflect” what was seen at the conference.
Warwick’s Jewis/Israeli society (JSOC) commented that they are “concerned that student representatives voted Malia” and “deeply sorrowed by the unresponsiveness of the student body to our complaints regarding such candidate”. JSOC also said “we feel as Jewish students that our voices are not being heard.”