Former UMSU President Molly Willmott elected NUS President13 December 2019
On the third day of the National Conference (NatCon), former University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) President Molly Willmott was elected President of the National Union of Students (NUS). Following withdrawals, her election was unopposed. As a member of the National Labor Students (NLS), Willmott succeeded Desiree Cai, also from the University of Melbourne.
These results reaffirm the ‘sweetheart deal’ shared between NLS and Student Unity. In this deal, NLS is promised the presidency, while Student Unity gets the general secretariat position.
Involved in NUS since 2016, Willmott told Farrago of her role in bringing NUS campaigns, such as the safety on campus campaign, onto the Unimelb campus. She has attended NUS as a delegate and also ran Education Conference workshops. She further noted her part in strategising with National Office Bearers.
Willmott has also delineated her goals for next year as NUS President. She explained four main ones to Farrago.
First, she plans to achieve legislated student services and amenities fees (SSAF) minimums nation-wide, in accordance with the SSAF campaign. Willmott describes the need for a solid funding base in ensuring that NUS and its affiliates can work effectively. She comments on the inequity of funding between unions, saying that “student money [should be] in student hands”.
Second, Willmott plans to organise action around climate change. She calls it the “biggest moral and ethical dilemma in history” and cites the crucial role of students in the fight against climate change.
Third, Willott will continue the campaign previously spearheaded by Cai this year against corporate universities and the state of higher education. According to the new NUS President, NUS will collaborate with many organisations to fight against casualisation of jobs, decreases in Indigenous student funding, decreases in the HECS threshold, as well as the treatment of international students. She expressed her excitement about this coalition and will push for “a better higher education system”.
Lastly, Willmott aims to enhance how NUS operates. As communication and campaign strategies are essential, she plans to improve the communication between student unions. In addition, she wants to increase NUS’ media presence across platforms on issues that affect not only students, but also young people as a whole.
During her term as UMSU president, Willmott successfully fought against changes to special consideration. Other key achievements include passing a new constitution, approving plans to move into the new student precinct from Union House, and campaigning for fair and equitable free speech.
More to come.