The president of the National Union of Students, Shakira Martin, has issued a heartfelt apology to Jewish students and a promise to “fix it” after a questionnaire was sent from NUS asking students’ religion — and on which Judaism did not appear.
Ms Martin, who won the presidency last year in a landslide victory over Malia Bouattia, a self-confessed opponent of Zionism, took to video to make her apology because she said her Twitter feed had “blown up” after angry Jewish students complained about the list.
Ms Martin said she was particularly angry at having to apologise for the omission of Judaism on the list because it was the second time it had happened — and she had apologised previously.
She said she wanted to reassure Jewish students that she was making the eradication of antisemitism and racism a priority of her presidency, and could only imagine how upset the Jewish community had been at seeing Judaism excluded from the list.
She acknowledged that she did not know the history of “every piece of paper” issued by NUS, but also said that had she been able to withdraw the link herself, she would have done. “Actions speak louder than words”, she said repeatedly during her video apology, and said that neither she nor national politicians should be afraid to express regret when they had plainly got things wrong.
Izzy Lenga, who is NUS vice president for welfare, had said she would be complaining about the omission on Friday. She said she had been unable to sleep because she was so angry. But after Ms Martin’s video was released, Ms Lenga sent out a tweet applauding “My president”.
Ms Martin insisted that the omission would not happen again and told Jewish students that there was an important place for them within NUS.
You can watch her video apology here:
A message from me to all Jewish Students https://t.co/oDob2AQ7Y5
— Shakira Martin (@ShakiraSweet1) January 5, 2018