One of the National Union of Students’ (NUS) LGBT officers visited UEA’s Labour Students to discuss working with university communities and liberation groups. Melantha Chittenden, the Women’s Place LGBT+ Officer, led a workshop working with marginalised groups on campus on February 8.
Speaking to Concrete, she praised the government’s decision to provide PrEP, a treatment for HIV sufferers, on the NHS, and said the NUS is now “focusing on hate crime reporting centres, sex and relationship education, and making sure LGBT societies are open and inclusive to people of colour.”
The SRE campaign involves sending Valentine’s cards to MPs to advocate inclusion of LGBT+ sex education on the curriculum. Chittenden said that she thinks there may be SRE inclusive education “within a few months.”
Chittenden spoke of the NUS campaign to get universities to register as third party reporting units for hate crimes.
Third party reporting centres work with the local police and can make a report on a victim’s behalf, in cases where those affected do not feel comfortable making one themselves. UEA is not currently a registered third party reporter, but according to UEA SU officers is in the process of becoming one.
In response to criticisms that student unions have started catering to a minority, she said: “I would disagree, SUs have become places that are more open for everyone now, and everyone can participate in discussion and events, no matter their background or what group they’re from. I think that’s a good thing.”
“Standing up for those who are the most marginalised is something we should be doing and we should be proud of it. It’s not just the left who use identity politics, I think if you look at Donald Trump he uses identity politics but it wasn’t marginalised identities, he used the identity that he was a white man.You can see through his speeches, he speaks about that as if it’s a good thing and that’s identity politics.”