The NUS Doesn’t Care About Black People25 February 2016
The dead of night, Mannix College. Sleepy eyes trace words across bound books and luminescent screens. Coloured shirts have been pulled over heaving chests and the infamous National Conference (NatCon) has reached chapter seven in the policy book; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy.
For the second year, running policy concerning my family, my friends and myself has been relegated to the early hours of an exhausting day. Discussion has been insincere; people are simply going through the motions and it is anticipated things will continue on in the same fashion. Some speak, but for what purpose I don’t know, as the outcomes are premeditated, rehearsed and nothing more than tokenism.
I suppose we should have expected as much – the National Union of Students has made it abundantly clear that Indigenous students and policy for us is an afterthought at best, a waste of time if honest.
I am awake too, speaking with a good friend of mine who is sitting on the conference floor. I am reading and rereading the seventh policy chapter trying to extract substance. I let my friend know that I am in support of 7.16 as it would make some steps towards delivering a mandate for me at a local level and leverage against NUS to make good on their commitment to Indigenous students.
Alas, it was proposed by a Liberal student and was cast aside without a second thought.
The rest of the policies are the lowhanging fruit of the least ambitious, concerning topics such as flags, healthcare outside of their mandate and complaints about school curriculums and Close the Gap policy to the relevant ministers and shadow ministers.
The list of things that will not get done includes the creation of a meaningful Reconciliation Action Plan for the NUS, real student support of a partnership with Recognise, national comprehensive student representation or the reparation of the relationship between NUS and the Indigenous student body.
I do not blame the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Officers. I blame the people that put them up to it, knowing they are under qualified and unprepared for the task at hand. I blame the NUS for fostering a culture of mediocrity and monotony. I blame myself for letting it slide.
Who gives a fuck about flags when students are homeless, indebted to the government and more likely to go to jail than finish their degree. Like Kanye said, “The NUS doesn’t care about black people”.
Ultimately the NUS is failing to live up to what it could be and is pissing away whatever mandate it has left. It is only a matter of time before mediocrity turns into toxicity, I just pray my family are out of the way when it does.