LONDON – In a week when British Premier David Cameron has singled out the National Union of Students for some of its policies failing to contribute to tackling extremism, further evidence of the union’s leftward drift emerged when its national executive committee censured its president for accepting a sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola when the NUS policy is to boycott the company’s products.
Megan Dunn who was elected NUS president in April, and her vice president, Richard Brooks, decided to ignore the NUS boycott of Coca-Cola by accepting its financial backing for an NUS awards ceremony.
Dunn, who confessed on her Twitter account to being a “drinker of Diet Coke,” found herself dragged into a controversy when hard-line colleagues on her executive pushed through their censure motion by 20 votes in favor to 14 against, with two abstentions, last week.
While some constituent students unions refuse to have anything to do with the Coca-Cola because of a decision of the NUS’s Ethical Investments Committee to boycott the company over other unrelated issues – the NUS itself having endorsed the original reasoning in August 2014 – its executive agreed to boycott companies with links to Israel following its endorsement of BDS policy, also in August 2014 and reconfirmed in June.
Under the terms of the BDS policy, the NUS is committed to ensuring that, as far as is practical, “NUS does not employ or work with companies identified as facilitating Israel’s military capacity, human rights abuses or illegal settlement activity, and to actively work to cut ties with those that do.”