Malia Bouattia, former NUS Black Students’ Officer, has been elected as the new NUS President for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Malia is the first black female President in NUS’s 94 year history, replacing the current President Megan Dunn as representative of seven million students across the country.

In her presidential campaign video, Malia stated that one of her biggest concerns was “seeing issues facing Black, LGBT+, Women, and disabled students not as side questions”.

She also expressed her desire to create a “strong, confident and united national union” because “education as we know it is under threat”.

“The University of Oxford’s Students’ Union has retracted its support for Malia after ‘anti-Semitism’ allegations were made”

However, the University of Oxford’s Students’ Union has retracted its support for Malia after ‘anti-Semitism’ allegations were made by 300 heads of student Jewish societies and protestors in an open letter which posed the question: “Why do you see a large Jewish society as a problem?”

The letter in question referred to a comment made by the candidate in an article from 2011, in which the former University of Birmingham student labelled the University a “Zionist outpost”.

In response to the letter, Malia said: “I do not now, nor did I five years ago when I contributed to the article cited in your letter, see a large Jewish society on campus as a problem”.

“The sabbatical team did not believe that Malia’s response to the concerns raised was “adequate””

In a statement issued on Monday – the first day of the NUS National Conference in Brighton – the Union stated: “As a sabbatical team, we have decided that Becky Howe (as OUSU president, the leader of our delegation to NUS National Conference) will not vote for Malia Bouattia”.

The OUSU justified its decision on the basis that the sabbatical team did not believe that Malia’s response to the concerns raised was “adequate”.

Despite the controversy sparked by Malia’s win, evident in comments made by many University students on social media, she won the election by a total of 44 votes, obtaining 372 compared with current President Megan Dunn’s 328.

Tamsin Parnell

Image: Justin Grimes via Flickr

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