The national Union of Students (NUS) is yet to meet the university minister but it will be a great event when the two finally meet. Jo Johnson and Shakira Martin may come from different contrasting backgrounds. Martin went to UWA and Johnson went to Eton and UNSW in Sydney. Most of the time Martin is concerned with students affairs such as school fees, students’ mental health and debts. She has a nice way of articulating the needs of students.

Martin is a single mother of two who left home at 16 years and finished school with GCSE in religious studies. After several setbacks she decided to go back to school and got involved in serious school politics. She now represents the working class community that she established herself. She is the first African-Caribbean woman to become NUS president. She is also the second president that has not gone through the university. She likes to quote Canadian rapper Drake when she is addressing problems facing poor students and how they can overcome their problems. She finds it disrespectful on how the government deals with the disadvantaged students at the university.

She is concerned with the number of students staying at the university and wonders whether they will get quality jobs. She has advised the students in the two biggest universities in the UK that recently were ranked best by Higher Education World University ranking. Oxbridge university has a proper strategy that gives special attention to black and minority students. She feels it is a good plan although not enough yet. She wishes she could make it to such universities.

Martin admits there has been violence against women and sexual harassment in the higher institutions of learning. However, she commends the good work that her NUS colleagues have done. Her concern extends to the community beyond university life. She speaks with victims of sexual harassment although many do not identify it as such. She refers to a case of a young university student who has been abandoned by her mother and is forced to stay with a friend who is after sexual pleasures. She says it hurts her that she has to be sexually assaulted to find a roof over her head. She believes in equality among all people men or women. Martin says she will stand for women’s rights everyday if she has to. She suggests that women discrimination is only in middle class as other parts of the world like London women are well respected.


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