By Tania Chakraborti
Shakira Martin was re-elected NUS President for 2018 at today’s National Conference in Glasgow.
The three candidates running for President were Momin Saqib, Sahaya James and current NUS President Shakira Martin. Out of 690 votes, Ms Martin won 352 votes, Mr Saqib 168 and Ms James 104. A total of 66 votes were cast in favour of RON.
The incumbent NUS President secured over 51% of the vote, increasing the size of her majority from last year, which sat at 18.1%.
Shakira Martin, who campaigned with the tagline “Time to Get Real”, promoted three policies in her campaign. These were combatting student poverty, getting election ready by increasing engagement with MPs amongst the student community, and the establishment of a national student framework.
Martin, who was endorsed by Durham SU’s President-Elect, George Walker, has said of her election “From the classroom to the Cabinet, we are building a real movement.”
In her manifesto, Ms Martin stated: “I have been humbled and honoured to be your National President for the last 8 months. I have always been honest about my story, the journey that education took me on and the huge changes we need to see in our education system.”
“I was elected to listen, learn and lead; now it’s time to get real about what that means both for all forms of education, and what it means for NUS.
“It’s not been easy. We’ve had a hostile Government obsessed with all the wrong things, and I inherited a broken NUS, stuck in the past and doing thing the old ways, but I have done things differently.”
Ms Martin’s opponent Momin Saqib has attracted national attention today after The London Student accused him of tolerating anti-semitic beliefs by inviting Lord Nazir Ahmed to speak at King’s College London, an individual suspended from the Labour party due to anti-semitism in 2013.
Last year, Ms Martin was lauded the “underdog” of the election.
However, she came under fire in the national press in January when accused of bullying within the NUS organisation’s HQ. In response to these allegations, Ms Martin stated at the time “I believe the victimisation I’ve suffered is because I’m a black, working-class woman. For the past few weeks, I’ve been a victim of racism and classism.”
She added, “I’m a strong, outspoken, articulate black woman that likes piercings and tattoos and I’ve got swagger. I’m not going to change myself. I’m not going to be anything but Shakira – rough around the edges, straight talking, authentic, real Shakira.”
Ms Martin was elected President last year with a 18.1% majority, succeeding the Malia Bouattia. Martin held the position of NUS Vice President for Further Education between April 2015 and July 2017.