Aaron Ross Porter (born 11 January 1985) is the former President of the National Union of Students in the United Kingdom; he was elected with a 65% majority and took office in June 2010 for one year.
1 Background and positions held,
2 Presidency of the National Union of Students,
5 External links,
Background and positions held:
In 2010, Porter lived with his parents in Norbury, south London. His father is a policeman who grew up in London and his mother is a teacher from Trinidad.
Porter studied at Wilson's School in Wallington in south London, before reading English Literature at the University of Leicester, graduating with a BA in 2006. He took a leading role in the University of Leicester Students' Union, serving as the Union's Finance and Services Officer, and then as its Academic Affairs Officer, as well as being the editor of the student magazine, The Ripple.
Prior to becoming NUS President, Porter was twice elected as the NUS Vice-President (Higher Education), serving from July 2008 to June 2010. He was the first officer from the University of Leicester Students' Union to be elected to the National Union of Students' Executive Committee.
Presidency of the National Union of Students:
Porter stood for the Presidency of the NUS as the candidate of the Organised Independents faction, but is a member of the Labour Party. He was subsequently elected with a 65% majority and took office in June 2010, which he would hold for the period of one year. Taking control of the Union, Porter put forward his views that he was in favour of lowering the voting age to sixteen, and stated he would lead a national demonstration against the government's planned rise in tuition fees before any vote in Parliament on the issue. On taking up the NUS Presidency, Porter was profiled in The Observer where he re-stated his opposition to any increase in tuition fees as well as the need for a new approach to campaigning that includes both formal lobbying as well as active campaigning.
Backing a graduate tax as an alternative method of financing higher education, Porter stated that funding would need to be fair and progressive for students to support it. A keynote speech on the future of higher education warned of the implications of a funding crisis. He has also been vocal on the issue of graduate employment with significant national coverage. In November 2010, Porter appeared on the Daily Politics television show, arguing against the raising of students' tuition fees. After his appearance, presenter Andrew Neil said of Porter: "I think I was listening to a future MP there!"
In response to the review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance chaired by Lord Browne, the National Union of Students organised a National Demonstration in London jointly with the University and College Union. 50,000 protestors took part in the protest, at the end of which Porter addressed a rally outside Tate Britain. During the immediate aftermath of this demonstration on 10 November 2010, by over 50,000 people, Porter condemned the occupation of the Conservative Party's headquarters, referring to it as "violence by a tiny minority".
In January 2011 at an anti-cuts march and rally in Manchester, Porter was escorted away by police from a small section of the crowd of student protesters who were heckling and shouting "you're a Tory too" - a chant commonly used against Liberal Democrats during the student fees protests. There was also a Daily Mail report claiming their photographer had overheard anti-semitic abuse - a report later carried in other news outlets, despite Porter not being Jewish. Porter later confirmed to the Mule Newspaper in Manchester that he had not personally heard any anti-Semitic abuse. The barracking of Porter and calls for his resignation reflected a current split in the students' union with a section supporting more militant action.
In early 2011, Porter spoke openly about being gay and how this affected his role as NUS President. Porter was the fourth openly gay NUS president after Stephen Twigg, Andrew Pakes and Wes Streeting, all of whom have stood for the Labour Party subsequently.
In February 2011 Porter said he had decided not to seek re-election for Presidency of the NUS, stating he felt the Union would benefit from new leadership.
In September 2011 Porter contributed to the book What Next for Labour? Ideas for a new generation; his piece was entitled "Where Next for Labour's Higher Education Policy?"
Porter now acts as an Education Consultant for Aaron Ross Porter Consultancy Ltd. charging universities £125 an hour for his services, with 10 day courses costing £8500.