National Union of Students tells officers to work from home while bullying allegations are probed

The charity has asked its 13 full-time national officers to work from home while it investigates the allegations made against president Shakira Martin, who rejects the claims

The National Union of Students has asked its full-time student officers to work from home this week as it conducts an investigation of bullying allegations made against its president.

The investigation comes after complaints were made by other full-time officers, including numerous statements posted on social media, about Shakira Martin’s leadership.

Martin rejected the bullying claims and said in a video message on Facebook that "a lot of lies" had been said about her.

There are 13 full-time national NUS officers. The NUS has asked them to work from home until Monday while the investigation is carried out.

A spokeswoman for the NUS said: "As chair of the NUSUK board, Shakira Martin has called for the complaints on social media to be investigated.

"These complaints and those about other full-time officers are now under investigation and, as an interim measure to protect all parties, all officers will be working from home this week. All officers are still able to carry out the duties within their roles while the allegations are being reviewed."

The statement said that any breaches of the charity’s codes of conduct will be "dealt with appropriately".

Hareem Ghani, women’s officer at the NUS, said on Twitter on 27 January that she would be submitting a complaint against Martin because "she has threatened and bullied officers over the course of the last six months".

Ghani said she would not be going into the NUS headquarters "until the complaint is concluded".

Another statement posted on Twitter by Jess Bradley, trans students officer at the NUS, contained some allegations about Martin’s behaviour. Bradley said: "I think they show just how difficult it is to talk to her directly, privately or through proper channels, even about relatively minor concerns".

Bradley said her working relationship with Martin was untenable and had "created a situation where NUS culture is pretty broken".

In a statement posted on her Facebook page, Martin said: "Unfortunately, within the movement and the walls of NUS the values we hold so dear and even cover our walls with are not upheld. I made it clear when I was elected that I would kick the bullies out, that there was no space for those who wished to silence people.

"These six months I have experienced some of the worst harassment and provocation, but I have stayed quiet up until this point for the sake of needing to ‘get on with the job’. Not only this but I have been baited and provoked on purpose and recorded in my own workplace by those who claim to support working class black women like myself but would happily push me to the limit and watch me break.

"I am asking you to let me finish the job I was elected to do and continue to build on the vision for a better NUS."

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