‘I will detox­ify stu­dent union’

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY DANIEL SUGARMAN

A JEWISH stu­dent who is bid­ding to be­come a vice-pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Union of Stu­dents, says she wants to “end the toxic at­mos­phere” in the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Last year, Izzy Lenga, who stud­ies the­ol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Birm­ing­ham, ac­cused the NUS of a “shame­less at­tempt to push Jewish stu­dents out” of an anti-racism cam­paign. The 22-year-old also said that the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil was not a “safe space” for Jews. How­ever, she is now stand­ing for the po­si­tion of vice-pres­i­dent for wel­fare, a role fo­cus­ing on is­sues in­clud­ing stu­dent hous­ing, health, and faith.

“It hasn’t al­ways been easy be­ing a Jewish woman in the stu­dent move­ment,” Ms Lenga said.

“I’ve been sub­ject to vile an­tisemitic and sex­ist on­line abuse and have of­ten felt as though the move­ment isn’t for me sim­ply be­cause of the fact I’m Jewish.”

Izzy Lenga Although Ms Lenga had “been ex­tremely for­tu­nate to work with stu­dents and stu­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tives who con­sis­tently stand up for Jewish stu­dents”, she said that oth­ers within NUS had be­haved dif­fer­ently.

“What we’ve tended to see over the last year is a dou­ble stan­dard when it comes to tack­ling an­ti­semitism in the stu­dent move­ment,” she ex­plained. “We hold a much stronger hand when we are in the room rather than out­side.

“In an en­vi­ron­ment where an­ti­semitism has of­ten fallen on deaf ears, we must en­sure we have a place at the ta­ble and make tack­ling an­ti­semitism a pri­or­ity in the stu­dent move­ment.

“It has of­ten been my Ju­daism that has driven my pas­sion to­wards build­ing a united move­ment that works for ev­ery­one.” The NUS pres­i­den­tial and vice-pres­i­den­tial elec­tions take place at the union’s an­nual con­fer­ence in Brighton next month. It is be­lieved that con­tro­ver­sial cur­rent pres­i­dent Malia Bouat­tia will stand for a sec­ond term.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.