Black Students’ Caucus – Discussion Topics

We will run a conference via Skype for each of the five campaign caucuses. There will be a debate on campaign priorities, run like a formal conference debate and chaired by the Steering Committee. This will take place on 27 May.

Below are summaries  of the topics that have been proposed by students and students’ unions for discussion at the caucus.  

Each caucus has time to discuss three topic areas. This caucus has received three submissions, therefore each of these will be taken forward as discussion points in the session. Click here for a full description of each of the topics to be debated or find summaries below.

Boycott, divestment and sanction

This proposal argues that through its actions the Israeli government systematically denies the right to education of Palestinian students. This has included violent attacks on Palestinian universities. Palestinian students are often at the forefront of popular resistance to the Israeli government.

Boycott, divestment and sanctions is one of the key ways in which students across the world are building effective solidarity with Palestinian students. In the UK, student campaigns have successfully pressured universities in London, Leeds, and Southampton to end contracts with companies targeted by the BDS movement such as G4S and Veolia.

The proposal states that the student movement should be international in our solidarity and active in campaigns which concern human rights. The BDS movement is capable of persuading both private and public bodies to reduce their complicity in the Israeli government’s violations of international law and ultimately achieve justice for Palestine.

Liberation training

Students belonging to an ethnic minority are underrepresented at many institutions. As such, students belonging to ethnic minorities starting university are apprehensive about being in the racial minority. Many students experience a series of racial macro- and microaggressions when studying at university.

Educating students at the beginning of their course can shed light onto issues such as White Privilege and Institutional Racism that many students come into university unaware of and allow students to be conscious of the impact of their conduct on others.

Liberation training for all students beginning university should be introduced and touch upon issues pertaining to those who belong in the following groups: Black, LGBT+, Transgender, Disabled, Women’s, and working class students. Student unions' can work with students and university staff in order to develop training materials.

Resisting increased police powers during and after COVID-19

Increased police powers against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic raise concerning issues for marginalised communities - especially for Black people.

As of 26 March, the police now have powers to order dispersals of persons and, if necessary, use force to ensure compliance with these regulations, however the guidance on this is extremely sparse. We also see the police and immigration services working together to target these vulnerable communities and it's important for NUS to resist and challenge these increased powers which result in increasingly racialised policing.

It's up to NUS and other organising bodies to hold the government to account on these increased and wide ranging powers, especially in a post-COVID-19 world. This looks like challenging the very need for increased police powers, demanding rent freezes, and acknowledging the racialised reality of housing, healthcare and just who can afford to not work and who cannot in a country without a liveable universal basic income.