Liam Burns, the current President for NUS Scotland, has been elected as the 55th President of the National Union of Students.
Burns was contested by three other candidates. Thomas Byrne, a Fresher from York University, was eliminated after the first round of voting, along with RON (re-open nominations). Mark Bergfeld, a student activist, was eliminated in the second round. Finally, Liam Burns beat Shane Chowen (current NUS Vice President Further Education) to be elected as NUS President for 2011/2012.
Speaking to NUS immediately after the election announcement, Burns commented: “I am honoured and delighted to have been elected NUS National President for the year to come.”
“It’s going to be a hugely challenging year for both further and higher education. I am looking forward to working tirelessly to defend, extend, and promote the rights of students,” he added.
LUSU President Robbie Pickles supported Burns’ campaign during the election. He said: “This election marks a phenomenal shift in the leadership of the NUS which sees pragmatism married with protest. Liam
Burns is the aspiration of values needed to finally carry the NUS into the 21st century.”
George Gardiner, LUSU President Elect was in attendance at the conference for the election. After the result, he said: “Liam has an excellent track record, proved by his unanimous support from Scottish unions. It’s an important appointment and one that should stand the NUS in good stead for the year ahead.”
LUSU’s other elected delegates were all in agreement that Burns was the right candidate. Mark Lord suggested “Burns offers a happy middle ground between the far left and the same old NUS.” Ste Smith commented: “Conference has made the right decision to elect a moderate candidate with cross-union appeal, who has the right passion, respect and experience to reinstate the NUS as a credible organisation in the national political arena.”
LUSU Vice President (Equality, Welfare and Diversity) Pete Macmillan referenced Burns’ background and explained it was “nice to see a NUS President from a non-traditional background”.
For a live report from the NUS Conference, visit SCAN’s Storify report.