GLASGOW, SCOTLAND — Amatey Doku was re-elected to serve a second term as vice president for higher education of the National Union of Students (NUS) at the organization’s annual conference on Wednesday.


According to the election results, the incumbent candidate received 373 votes from student delegates, a considerable majority over the 157 votes main opponent Ana Oppenheim received. Twenty-four delegates voted to re-open nominations, otherwise known as RON.

During his candidate speech yesterday, Doku called for nationwide student-led mobilization to demand a ‘people’s vote’ on the final Brexit deal.

He described the UK’s decision to leave the EU, ‘an issue that threatens the very fabric of higher education and the UK as a whole’, and went on to emphasize the urgent need for direct action by students.

‘There is too much at stake for us to stand up and do nothing’, he said.

Over the course of his first term, Doku focused on reforming Brexit policies by working alongside government officials, stressing cooperative efforts and diplomatic engagement.

But after he and union President Shakira Martin, who was also re-elected on Wednesday’s conference, were both refused board positions on the government’s newly-organized Office for Students, his tactics received criticism of being inadequate.

Despite winning 68 per cent of the total vote, Doku still received criticism, most notably from the student union delegates representing his home institution, Cambridge University. Of the school’s six representatives, the former president of Cambridge University’s Student Union (CUSU) only received one vote from Carine Valarché. Three of the CUSU delegates instead cast their support for Oppenheim, the other two voting RON.

In an interview with Varsity, CUSU delegate Connor MacDonald, who voted RON, criticized Doku’s candidate speech, accusing the recent Cambridge graduate of diminishing Brexit to ‘an election gimmick’.

Doku’s comments didn’t receive all negative reactions, however. Considering 75 per cent of people younger than 25 voted in favour of remain during the 2016 referendum, it came as no surprise that his call for action garnered support from other Remainers and youth groups.

For Our Future’s Sake (FFS), an anti-Brexit network spanning over 30 UK student unions and youth organizations, noted Doku’s comments as a significant turning point in NUS policy, expressing hope that they will incite students to push for change within government and stop Brexit.

‘We are thrilled and delighted that more and more students and young people everyday are coming to the same conclusion that we are … that there should be a people’s vote on the Brexit Deal and that Brexit doesn’t have to be inevitable’, FFS spokesman Richard Brooks commented.