The president of the National Union of Students (NUS) has apologised after the organisation missed out Judaism as an option in a survey question on students’ religions – six months after the same omission was made on an earlier questionnaire.
In both instances, a question about students’ religions gave the following options - “Buddhist”, “Christian”, “Hindu”, “Muslim”, “Sikh”, “Spiritual”, “Agnostic”, “Atheist”, “Any other religion or belief”, “Other”, and “Prefer not to say”.
After the first omission in July, Shakira Martin, NUS president, said the situation would be dealt with.
Yesterday a Jewish student alerted the NUS to the repeated omission on its latest survey, tweeting that the organisation was “forgetting Jewish students. Again”.
In a video posted on social media this morning, Ms Martin apologised to Jewish students, saying she was “so angry”.
“The first time it happened, I could tweet and say sorry,” she said.
“But the second time… it’s unacceptable, and I just want to reassure the whole Jewish community that I will be dealing with this.
A message from me to all Jewish Students https://t.co/oDob2AQ7Y5— Shakira Martin (@ShakiraSweet1) January 5, 2018
“I’m pi**ed. I’m so frickin pi**ed, I’m not going to lie. And I’m not scared to say sorry. People know that I’m a person that if I do something wrong, I’ll be the first one to say sorry, and I’m hoping that people out there will know that I’m being genuine.
“I’m so angry. Being president and being accountable sometimes can be really difficult. Because I’m running an organisation that is massive, and the truth of the matter is, I don’t know every single thing that’s going on in that organisation, in terms of – obviously I know what’s going on in terms of policy and stuff, but paper and who fills out forms and who designs forms and that kind of stuff.”
However, she assured students that she was “not making excuses for this, because I’m bang to rights as president to be [held] accountable. And of course Jewish students should be flipping pi**ed! Because it happened before and I said sorry [then]. So I’m bang to rights and I’m not afraid to say that.
“I sincerely apologise. I think that’s what’s wrong with politicians and student politicians – people are scared to say sorry.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry if anyone felt like they weren’t welcomed or that they were pushed out – genuinely that is not my intention, across the whole organisation. I appreciate every single one of you. NUS is your NUS and you are welcome to be there.”
Ms Martin emphasised her determination to “rebuild relationships and trust among all our membership, but Jewish students in particular…
“I totally understand after the years – but especially last year, before my presidency, that Jewish students had – that this type of thing is not acceptable,” she said.
“You will not not see Judaism on an NUS form again. I will be making sure that we will be reviewing all our forms, and that this is on everyone’s form, and that this [situation] will not happen again.”