By Bellavia Ribeiro-Addy, NUS Black Students’ Officer and Co-Convenor of the Free Education Campaign
Students of African, Arab, Asian and Caribbean heritage met at the NUS Black Students’ Conference last weekend to decide our policy and priorities and to elect a new leadership.
Kanja Sesay of Bradford University received a convincing mandate, winning the election for Black Students’ Officer with 72% of the vote.
Standing on a clear promise to lead campaigns against cuts to education, the threat of even higher fees and to demand investment in free education, Kanja has the job of representing 1 million students in what could prove a decisive year for the student movement.
Speaking to the Free Education Campaign Kanja said:
“It is likely that by this time next year the debate on whether to increase tuition fees will be done and dusted. The main parties, Vice Chancellors and big business are all preparing for even higher fees.
This is a critical time for the student movement – we need to be gearing up for the fight of a generation. Unfortunately the NUS leadership is campaigning for a graduate tax that would leave students paying higher tax rates for 20 years. It is unbelievable that the National Union of Students is calling for a tax on students!
I’ve just won my election on the promise that I will defend students. At a moment when we are graduating with record debt which take us decades to pay back – and even longer if you are Black because of pay discrimination - students need a leader who will build the biggest opposition to proposals that students should pay more.
Under my leadership the NUS Black Students’ Campaign will actively campaign for an end to student debt and for free education.”
Kanja, alongside his committee and Joshi Sachdeo (Black Students’ NUS NEC), will take up office from July.