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Bell wants NUS to become radical again

Bellavia Ribeiro-Addy aims to become NUS President

The campaign by Bellavia Ribeiro-Addy to become the national student leader took off when a Facebook group attracted almost 500 members in less than a week.

Ribeiro-Addy, 24, currently the black students officer for the National Union of Students, said she wanted to make the NUS a radical organisation again.

She criticised the past leadership for supporting the ‘status quo’, for not being tough enough in opposing student fees, and for taking a soft line on racism in universities.

If successful, Ribeiro-Addy would become only the second black student president, after Trevor Phillips was elected in 1978.

Lambeth councillor Pav Akhtar came within a whisker of winning in 2006, but was pipped to the post in a particularly fraught contest.

However the chances of Brixton resident Ribeiro-Addy winning increased dramatically after her Facebook group Bell Ribeiro-Addy #1 for NUS President enjoyed a deluge of support.

She told OBV Blog: ‘The NUS has lost its democracy and activism. Students want to make a difference but don’t see the NUS doing that. It’s about time we changed that.

‘Some people have been moving with the status-quo, more interested in getting close to the government than representing students interests. We need to say clearly that we want free education and no to cuts.

‘It is economically illiterate to make cuts in an education system that will hinder us coming out of the economic crisis.’

Ribeiro-Addy said this was especially true for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, who were already deserting higher education in droves because they calculated the student fees were too large and the prospects for getting a job too small to pay off the debt.

She added: ‘I also believe that the NUS has too often taken a softer line on racism than I’d like. We also believe in a ‘no platform’ policy when it comes to the British National Party.’

Ribeiro-Addy, who is standing alongside a full slate of likeminded candidates for other positions on the NUS executive, is facing competition for the post of president from the current vice-presidents Aaron Porter, who is himself black, and Richard Budden.

By Lester Holloway

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9 Responses

  1. Clearly not everyone supports Bell for president and I think it’s quite revealing that the group against her candidacy currently has more members than the facebook group supporting her. Here is the link to the group against Bell becoming president:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=311090941312&ref=nf

  2. Bell has done a teriffic job defending Black students, challenging racism, and fighting fascism.

    The anti-Bell group numbers dont reveal anything – those who have joined that group are mainly from Durham, those who have joined her group are from across the country – no doubt from students who believe that she is doing a great job in NUS and will take NUS forwards. Go Bell!

  3. A leader who fights for the interest of her constituents relentlessly and respects and motivates her team is Bellavia.
    She will surely infuse NUS with freshness to meet the challenges confronting students today.
    A new leadership, for a new NUS!

  4. Bell is an total inspiration , she doesnt just talk the talk but she walks the walk and its a shame many at NUS jus have a lip and can deliever excellnt speeches or write perfect letters so wat. what NUS REALY NEEDS IS A PERSON LIKE BELL WHO ACTUALLY DELIEVER FOR STUDENTS and speaks out. Brappp BELL for Pres all the way

  5. I must say I agree with Yasmin. The anti-Bell group reveals nothing, as it’s not representative of the UK student body. It mainly consists of the students from Durham whereas Bell’s campaign group has students from all over the UK backing her candidacy and bid to become the next NUS President.

    Bell has the passion, commitment, and courage to lead our NUS. A campaigning and democratic NUS – an NUS that defends and extends the rights of ALL students. She is a leader who never abandons her constituents when the going gets tough. She is the only candidate to consistently uphold policies like Free Education, No Platform etc. NUS is crying out to be lead by a progressive leader and who better than a young Black progressive female Bellavia Ribeiro-Addy.

    Bell No 1 for NUS President!

  6. from a black perspective Aaron Porter looks Asian…. sometimes being black is more cultural than racial and being not white has nothing to do with it….. since we are talking about an election he is indeed politically black…..it’s similar politricks that have kept black folks down, whilst others climb on their backs,,,,,

  7. I find it worrying that a presidential candidate is trying to push students into active political campaigning and, seemingly, affiliate the NUS with certain political groups (eg. UAF – a violent, utterly self-defeating organisation).

    I can’t help but get the feeling that Miss Ribeiro-Addy is more interested in working towards fulfilling her own political agenda than representing UK students.

    Besides, I disagree with her on her selective ‘no platform’ policy and free education, so even if I didn’t doubt her credibility I still wouldn’t support her.

  8. “UAF – a violent, utterly self-defeating organisation” – I think you will find its Andrew Brons and the BNP who are violent – the bnp are regularly found with explosives, weapons and violently attack black people, lgbt people and others. Where they have a presence racist attacks go up which is why Bell is right to defend the no platform policy – which was voted for by students and is the democratic policy of the NUS. Allowing a fascist to come on campus and whip up hatred is akin to a turkey voting for christmas….

  9. Jamie, you seem to have missed the point. Andrew Brons does indeed have a shameful past and some BNP members are indeed documented to have been involved in violence – I do not dispute this.

    Read my post again. My point was that the NUS should not align itself with any political party or group. As Miss Ribeiro-Addy appears to want this to happen, I don’t think she is suitable for the position.

    Also, your retort does not negate my comment about UAF being “a violent, utterly self-defeating organisation”. All you do is gloss over it by bringing up the BNP. I think you’ll find that it’s mainly anti-fascist groups (notably UAF) who get violent outside planned debates with the BNP – look for some eyewitness accounts on the Oxford Union debate and Question Time with Nick Griffin, etc. By the way, do you have a link to any statistics related to the rise of racist attacks in towns/cities where the BNP have taken part in debates? I’m not saying you’re wrong, it’s just that I’ve noticed a lot of people have been making this claim without backing it up with any sources (almost as if they’ve read somebody else saying it and thought “yeah, that’s a good one, I’ll use that myself” without actually knowing what they’re talking about – again, I’m not saying you did this).

    As for the BNP “coming on campus and whipping up hatred”… do you honestly think that any members of DUS who would have gone to the multiculturalism debate (had it gone ahead) would actually have been influenced by the likes of Brons? I hope not.

    No Platform is indeed an NUS policy, but it is not a DUS or DSU policy – this is (partly) why DSU will probably vote to disaffiliate in the referendum next week. I don’t personally believe in this policy, therefore I won’t support its implementation, less so under the threat (accidental, implicit or otherwise) of violence. I guess I’ll have to agree to disagree with you on that though.

    If you like, have a read of the email (below) that I sent to Miss Ribeiro-Addy about 3 weeks ago regarding her presidential campaign. I’ve not had any answers to my questions yet (I received a blanket reply that was directed only towards those complaining about “that letter” – there was nothing in it that addressed my concerns). Suffice to say, had I emailed her to ask for my yearbook number so that I could nominate her, I’m sure she would have been more than happy to oblige (judging by her Facebook group).

    http://www.facebook.com/idontwantausernamebutthanksanyway?v=app_2347471856&ref=profile#!/note.php?note_id=298551958193

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