Liberation: the act or fact of gaining equal rights or full social or economic opportunities for a particular group.
In March 2019, a NUSU Student Council motion was passed to change the name of Part-time Officers (PTOs) to Liberation Officers and Chairs. Meaning that from 2019-20 PTOs will be formally known as Liberation Officers and NUSU Chairs.
But why bother?
There are some practical reasons for the change, with the main one being that different positions have different areas of responsibility. The following eight focus on representing marginalised/underrepresented groups of students:
- Disability Officer
- Commuting Students’ Officer
- International Students’ Officer
- LGBT+ Officer
- Marginalised Genders Officer
- Racial Equality Officer
- Students with Faith or Belief Officer
- Student Parents, Guardians and Carers Officer
Whilst the other two positions, Chair of Student Council and Chair of Scrutiny, focus on ensuring that NUSU’s democratic structures and processes are effective.
This made it harder for the elected officers to get the most out of their role. Training the separate groups will now be more tailored and therefore have more impact as well as making the support from NUSU staff more inclusive and proactive.
But more importantly, the Liberation Officers will be representing their student groups as well as focussing on campaigning, progress and creating positive change on campus and beyond. The NUSU Chairs will be focussed on the policies and procedure of NUSU and how to be most successful in chairing either NUSU Student Council or Scrutiny Committee. Whilst both important parts the NUSU democratic structure there are very different priorities within the two groups.
There was some resistance to the change but the Council members voted democratically to pass the motion. For those of us who are involved in liberation campaigning we recognise there is still work to be done to have the full understanding of some but still we persevere. Representation and a strong voice is important within Higher Education, we are shaped by our experiences and our perceptions. Our views are defined by what we see and hear, having liberation officers will give students in underrepresented groups a stronger voice and a platform for change. Liberation Officers and NUSU Chairs working independently is a positive step forward in the strive for equality and in all things liberation moving forward is key. Discrimination (treating a person unfairly because of who they are or because they possess certain characteristics) is sadly an everyday issue for many students, the Gender Pay Gap, attainment gap and everyday sexism and or racism are a few reasons why Liberation Officers are needed and valued by NUSU.
Who are our 2019/20 Libertaion Officers?
During Semester 2 you elected the following students into our Liberation Officer and NUSU Chair positions for next academic year:
- Amani Alrossies (Student Parents, Guardians & Carers Officer)
- Chinyere Emeka (International Students' Officer)
- Christopher Winter (Students with Faith or Belief Officer)
- Georgia Corbett (Disability Officer)
- Maria Marr (Marginalised Genders Officer)
- Tobias Lawrence (LGBT+ Officer)
- Rabeeyah Cheema (Racial Equality Officer)
- Sian Dickie (Commuting Students' Officer)
- Alice Fish (Chair of Scrutiny)
- Stephen Dawes (Chair of Council)
They will be working as a team with your Full-time NUSU Officers to improve your University experience next year.
For more information please get in touch with the Your Voice team or head to the NUSU Officer pages which will soon be updated with information about next year's officers.