Counterfire supporter Clare Solomon has been elected President of the University of London Union (ULU). She now plans to use her victory as a springboard for a mass anti-cuts campaign.
In a straight two-way contest between her and Ghazi Aftab Rahman, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) student will now take office in a post that represents over 100,000 students.
Clare said of her victory “The united fight against cuts begins here. We have a lot to do: winning this elections proves that students are indeed engaged with the issues on campus and are prepared to fight back. We'd like to thank everyone across the whole University, including the Paris campus, for the tremendous amount of work that has been put in to make sure that the best team wins. Our challenge is to use this result as the springboard for a mass anti-cuts campaign”.
With eighteen university campuses coming under the banner of ULU, as big as University College London and as small as the Courtauld Institute, the workload for such a campaign seems daunting at best. Clare told us, however, that she had felt confident throughout the campaign: “Because I’ve been involved in campaigns across the University of London, from Stop the War to fighting cuts, I’m part of a whole network of people who want to engage in vibrant campaigns and struggle to change the world. ”
With fellow campaigner Ian Drummond elected as Vice President, Clare is confident that ULU will become a vibrant hub of campaigning and activity.
She promises “to transform ULU into a hub of activity. ULU is the perfect place from which to conduct our fight back. This will be done through a whole host of different campaigns, events, training sessions and much more. There will be cultural events like Zimbabwe dance bands, Korean Karaoke, theatre, poetry and we may even host one of our special Mutiny events here”.
This victory comes against a background of left wing Student Union officers being elected in London, with Michael Chessum at University College London, Ashok Kumar at London School of Economics, James Haywood at Goldsmiths, Louis Hartnoll at UAL - and more results are on their way. The new 'awkward squad' of student leaders in London point to a more combative student movement. With massive cuts looming over Higher Education, and the HEFCE cuts package being announced next week, Counterfire is glad to say: the resistance starts here.
Eleanor Badcock is women's officer in SOAS students' union and a member of Counterfire's editorial board.