Shakira Martin defeats Malia Bouattia to win NUS presidency

‘Centrist’ candidate wins majority in first round of ballot

April 26, 2017
Shakira Martin

Shakira Martin has been elected the next president of the UK’s National Union of Students, deposing incumbent Malia Bouattia with more than half the total votes cast.

Ms Martin, 28, is the NUS’ current vice-president (further education) and describes herself as a black single mother from a working-class family.

At the union’s national conference in Brighton, Ms Martin secured 402 votes, compared with 272 for Ms Bouattia and 35 for Tom Harwood, a politics student at Durham University who backed the campaign for the UK to leave the European Union.

The result comes a year after Ms Bouattia herself defeated Megan Dunn, who was then the serving president, to become the NUS’ first black female leader. Ms Bouattia’s presidency was marked by ongoing political division within the NUS and she faced continued criticism for making comments that were allegedly anti-Semitic – something that she denied.

Ms Martin positioned herself as a centrist and said that she wanted to lead a union that focused on its members, not its leader. Having taken a leadership and management course at Lewisham College, she is the NUS’ second president to come from the further education sector, following in the footsteps of Toni Pearce, who led the union from 2013 to 2015.

Ms Martin said that she was “honoured and humbled” to become NUS president.

“I take this as a vote of trust that our members believe I can lead our national movement to be the fighting and campaigning organisation we need it to be, representing the breadth of our diverse membership,” she said. “Further education made me who I am today and I look forward to sharing stories of just how powerful all forms of education can be when we’re all given access to it.”

Also at the conference, Amatey Doku, president of Cambridge University Students' Union, was elected NUS vice-president (higher education). Izzy Lenga, a theology student at the University of Birmingham, was elected vice-president (welfare).

The successful candidates will start their new roles in the summer.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Daniel Mitchell illustration (29 June 2017)

Academics who think they can do the work of professional staff better than professional staff themselves are not showing the kind of respect they expect from others

celebrate, cheer, tef results

Emilie Murphy calls on those who challenged the teaching excellence framework methodology in the past to stop sharing their university ratings with pride

A podium constructed out of wood

There are good reasons why some big names are missing from our roster

Senior academics at Teesside University put at risk of redundancy as summer break gets under way

Thorns and butterflies

Conditions that undermine the notion of scholarly vocation – relentless work, ubiquitous bureaucracy – can cause academics acute distress and spur them to quit, says Ruth Barcan