Young Academic‘s UCLAN correspondent Tom Chandler brings us some vital student news today regarding the leadership of the NUS. Following one of the most arduous academic year’s in history following riots and tuition fee battles, Aaron Porter has made a dramatic decision…
The President of the NUS, Aaron Porter, has revealed that he will not stand for re-election. Porter was expected to seek re-election, but has confirmed that he will stand down next month.
The news comes after an increase of attacks on Porter’s handling of the student protests last November.
Porter, was elected president of the NUS in June 2010, and has been one of the most highly profiled candidates to date.
However, last year’s debate over the government’s decision to raise tuition fees has led to criticism of Porter’s handling of the situation.
Praise was directed at Porter after he condemned a minority of protestors at November’s London protests, after they attempted to occupy the Conservative Party headquarters in Millbank.
But after Parliament decided to pass the bill which would see a raise in tuition fees, Porter was heavily criticized, and public attacks were directed at Porter.
Some have interpreted these reasons as contributing factors to Porter’s decision.
Porter released a statement saying “After considerable soul searching, I believe there needs to be a new President to lead the student movement into that next phase. As a result, I’ve resolved not to seek re-election at National Conference this year”
And went on to say, “We should continue to be proud of what we have achieved, and it has been an honour to be President at this time. If I have one criticism of this year, it would be that we have not been quick enough to talk about our achievements – and I hope we can pause for a moment to remedy this.”
On the role of a new President, Porter said : “The challenge for a new National President will be great. They’ll need to support students’ unions and student officers to get the best deal for students, whilst running a major national campaign to defeat damaging marketization in education. They’ll need to build activism and radicalism on the ground whilst defending legitimate, democratic students’ unions from attack from our enemies. Above all, they’ll need a fresh outlook- because if we are to reach out, and engage with, the full diversity of our membership, we need to move beyond the tired rhetoric and redundant tactics of some factional groups.”