The new president of the National Union of Students has been rebuked for accepting sponsorship from Coca-Cola, a company targeted by those boycotting Israel.
Megan Dunn, together with Vice-President Richard Brooks were “censured” by NUS’ National Executive Committee for “a lack of integrity” and for failing to apologise.
The soft drinks manufacturer has subsidiaries in the West Bank, and has been targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which the NUS voted to support.
By 20 votes to 14, executive members voted to “formally censure” Dunn and Brooks and to “mandate that [they] publish a formal apology,” stating that it was a mistake to accept Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the NUS Awards.
The company’s sponsorship of the Awards had been agreed in January 2015, with Dunn expressing her “pride” in the relationship, however NUS voted to support the BDS campaign in August 2014.
Separately, there was another motion to “properly implement” the boycott of Coca-Cola, as part of the organisation’s commitment to boycott Israel, and the NUS is to undertake a thorough audit of all suppliers, and of its tendering process.
Before Monday’s vote, 150 students from across the UK signed a letter criticising the latter motion and the “lack of consultation” with student unions across the country. Russell Langer, campaigns director for the Union of Jewish Students (UJS), said: “We hope that NEC will listen to these voices.”