Tom Harwood promises to make NUS “ever-so-slightly less terrible”


Newly-elected NUS delegate for Durham University, Tom Harwood, told BBC Daily Politics in an interview on Monday that he would attempt to reform the organisation.

The second-year Politics student at St Mary’s College aims to tackle all NUS “self-aggrandising” policies, and encourage it to focus on issues that are important to students.

“They’re in no way representing the issues that really matter to students,” he told the BBC.

He continued to express the view that “it’s run by a very narrow group of people who come from an even narrower spectrum of opinion,” and that the organisation is out-of-touch.

Tom said that the decision to ban certain newspapers on university campuses and to boycott Coca-Cola because it had factories in Israel made it seem unaware of current student issues.

“I think that the NUS is undermined on the legitimate issues, when it uses the NUS conference as a platform to call for the bringing down of the government,” Tom said.

Harwood included controversial policies in his election campaign. In the official video, re-shown on BBC Daily Politics, he pledged to build a 217ft high bronze statue of Malia Bouattia, current NUS president, and defeat ISIS using NUS boycotts.

However, he underlined these statements with a serious message: “I’ll vote against all irrelevant, grandstanding, self-aggrandising, self-defeating NUS policies that serve to discredit students as a whole.”

Tom also aims to push democratic reforms through the NUS, including the one-member, one-vote rule and making NUS presidential elections open to all students.

Through this, he expressed a desire to make the organisation “ever-so-slightly less terrible.”

Tom was elected alongside three other candidates to represent Durham Students’ Union this year, with a 10.7% voter turnout.

“Students generally just don’t care about this sort of stuff and that’s what I’m trying to highlight.”

Upon winning his bid to be elected to the NUS, he told The Independent: “Durham has chosen a new, pluralist direction that speaks out against the ridiculous NUS consensus.”

Photograph: BBC

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