A UK Independence Party activist and a prominent anti-cuts campaigner are to challenge current National Union of Students president Toni Pearce for the organisation’s leadership.
Jack Duffin, secretary of Ukip’s youth wing Young Independence and a prospective parliamentary candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, is one of four candidates on the ballot for president at this year’s national elections.
Mr Duffin, says he is contesting the NUS leadership because “education in this country is sub standard at best and declining”.
Another candidate is the University of London Union vice-president Daniel Lemberger-Cooper, a former student union president at Royal Holloway, University of London, who has been a high-profile campaigner against privatisation, cuts and the closure of ULU’s student union.
Mr Lemberger-Cooper hit the headlines last year when he was arrested after complaining about police searches of students attending a freshers’ week event at Royal Holloway’s Egham campus in September.
Aaron Kiely, NUS’s black students’ officer, is also running for the NUS leadership, though Toni Pearce is the overwhelming favourite to retain the presidency when votes are cast at the NUS national conference in Liverpool in April.
More pertinent to universities could be the race to succeed Rachel Wenstone whose two-year term as vice-president (higher education) has come to an end.
Ms Wenstone has tended to represent the NUS on higher education matters, with Ms Pearce having a greater focus on further education.
That contest will involve a choice between the president of Aberdeen University Students’ Association, Megan Dunn, and Tom Flynn, vice-president (education) at the University of Bristol Union.