The following post is the reaction from Liberal Youth Chair Tom Wood regarding the issue of certain chants being advertised by an NUS Vice President.
Earlier today NUS Vice President (Union Development) Vikki Baars emailed Students’ Unions Leaders across the country, encouraging the use of an offensive chant calling for Lib Dems to be burnt.
As somebody who has marched with the NUS and while doing so been made to feel very unsafe when protesters surrounded me chanting, I am disappointed that an NUS Vice President felt it was appropriate to promote this kind of political hate. There are thousands of Liberal Youth members in Students Unions, they have the right to march, if they so wish, and to feel safe while doing so. Comments like this don’t help the students, they don’t help the NUS and they don’t help the campaign to end tuition fees.
I’m am pleased that Vikki has apologised for her comments and accepted they were wrong and that NUS President Liam Burns acted so quickly to assert that she was not speaking for NUS when the email was sent. Liam has done a great job in making NUS into an inclusive student movement, rather than its past as a wing of the Labour party. However, if this progress is to continue, I feel that NUS must take steps through its democratic procedures to show that this kind of behviour is not tolerated. I will be writing to Liam asking that the NUS National Executive issue a censure against Vikki Baars for this unacceptable conduct. The actions of one officer should not be allowed to reflect on the whole NUS.
Tom Wood is Chair of Liberal Youth, responsible for coordinating the party’s activities, taking managerial responsibility of the Executive and providing strategic direction for the organisation. He is Chief Spokesperson of Liberal Youth.
You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter.