From the Guardian. This is a clear victory for everyone in the student movement who have made a clear case since November that Porter’s position was no longer tenable.
Now the work begins to make the case that the next President of the NUS should not be the same, again, but a genuine champion of students.
The 26-year-old, who has led a high-profile campaign against higher fees and education cuts since he took the post in June, said the union needed a “fresh start”.
A source at the NUS said Porter was facing too much personal abuse from students angry that the union had not taken a harder stance against fees and cuts.
Porter was instrumental in organising Liberal Democrat MPs to sign a pledge that they would vote against an increase in tuition fees – a move that came to haunt the Lib Dems when legislation was passed allowing the rise.
Last month, Porter was due to speak at a rally in Manchester, but had to be escorted away when protesters hurled abuse at him. He said they had tried to intimidate him and shouted antisemitic comments. He is not Jewish.
Mary Robertson, a student activist, wrote in the Guardian last month that Porter seemed to have “admitted defeat before the battle over tuition fees had started”.
In December, he wrote to Simon Hughes, the government’s newly appointed advocate for access to education, saying the NUS was finding it hard to get the government to explain how it would ensure that fees of £9,000, rather than £6,000, would be the exception.
Robertson and other students said Porter’s response to the threat to higher education was to “politely request an explanation of how tuition fees will only be doubled rather than tripled in most cases”. He had “only belatedly” supported student occupations, she added.
Porter, who is a member of the Labour party, was elected as an independent candidate to the NUS presidency. He achieved a 65% majority and had been expected to stand for re-election. At the time, he said: “Students, families and the wider public overwhelmingly oppose higher fees and I will fight to ensure that politicians listen to them.”
Candidates for the next NUS presidency have several more weeks to put their names forward.