Six NUS reps will represent Cambridge students at the NUS conferenceLouis Ashworth with permission for Varsity

Polls will close today in elections for Cambridge University’s new National Union of Students (NUS) representatives.

Twelve candidates are running for the six places this year. Successful candidates will represent Cambridge students at the NUS conference in April next year.

The NUS is a nationwide student body that aims to represent students on a national scale, lobby the government, and support individual student unions. Representatives would vote on behalf of the Cambridge SU on all motions, suggest motions for debate, and submit policy to the conference.

The NUS has come under fire in recent years due to multiple allegations of antisemitism within the organisation leading the government to suspend engagement with them.

These allegations were followed by a damning report which found there had been “numerous instances of antisemitism” within the organisation, with Jewish students not feeling “welcome or included in NUS spaces”.

Varsity spoke to candidates about their aims in the role and their stance on contemporary issues relevant to the students they would represent.

Kody Kristiansen, an MPhil candidate in Film and Screen Studies, told Varsity that he aims to represent students concerned with accommodation security, saying: “No student should ever have to turn down university or work two jobs during their studies just so they have a place to live.”

On the issue of the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza, Kristiansen said: “Innocent lives should be our only concern: peaceful bystanders, caught in the crossfire of conflicts they did not choose.”

“Preserving the sanctity of innocent human life, irrespective of circumstances, is a fundamental moral imperative that underpins a just and humane society,” he added.

Chang Liu, a 4th-year medicine student, stated in his manifesto the NUS’s need for “more transparency and accountability to ensure it represents all students’ voices and opinions”.

On the NUS antisemitism scandal, Liu said: “The NUS has had issues with antisemitism in the past, and they have recently got better at addressing these.”

“Ultimately, there is still lots more to be done, and with the backdrop of the current conflict, the NUS must focus on helping Jewish students affected by this,” he continued.

Cynthia Ugwu, a Criminological Research MPhil student, is standing on a platform of “inclusivity, advocacy, and student empowerment” aiming to ensure that “the voices and concerns of all students are represented regardless of background.”


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When asked how she would advocate for climate action in the role, Ugwu said: “Through collaborations with student union governments, and academic representatives, the decision makers will be made aware again of the importance of cutting off all collaborations with the fossil fuel industry.”

On the current conflict in Gaza and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding SU Welfare Officer Harvey Brown, after they liked a tweet supportive of Hamas, Ugwu said: “Unequivocally, I condemn any support of the Hamas attacks of October 7.”

“The priority of the SU should be to provide support to students and ensure the campus is a place where students can feel safe and included,” she continued.

The University’s response continues to attract controversy after both Jewish and Palestinian students submitted separate open letters criticising its stance.

The SU was also criticised last month, following a student-submitted motion which called for an ‘intifada’ in response to the conflict.