Kathryn Jane Fletcher (born 20 December 1979) was president of the UK National Union of Students between 2004 and 2006, the first to be elected from a political slate clearly to the left of Labour Students, who had held the position for most of the previous twenty years.
Born in Sheffield, Fletcher was formerly the General Secretary of Sheffield College's students' union, where she joined the Campaign for Free Education (CFE) and the Alliance for Workers' Liberty, a small Trotskyist group. She later attended the University of Leeds where she studied Social Policy and Education. After studying for two years, she was elected as the NUS National Women's Officer, and subsequently to the NUS Block of Twelve part-time officers. She then returned to Leeds, graduating in 2004.
She was elected president in 2004 in an extremely close contest, which she won by only two votes after six rounds of transfers, having lost the 2003 election by only three votes to the incumbent candidate. Although a long standing member of the Labour paty, she ran on a leftist platform as a member of the Campaign for Free Education (CFE) criticising the NUS proximity to Tony Blair's Labour government, particularly on the issue of tuition fees. After being elected she pushed through a process of NUS reform which she claimed was necessary to save the organisation from a looming financial crisis.
There is some confusion about her political affiliations as president. She left the AWL long before being elected; during her first year in office, she disbanded CFE, as a result of reinstating free education policy. It was at this point that the AWL and other left-wing activists such as the CFE's successor organisation Education Not for Sale came into sharp opposition to her.
In 2005 she stood for re-election without any description, winning by the largest margin in NUS history. Other candidates standing included: Conservative Future's candidate Michael Champion and the Socialist Workers' Student Society candidate Suzie Wylie.
After her presidency she worked for two years (2006–08) at the Centre for Excellence in Leadership, a government quango in the Further Education sector.
Between 2008 and January 2010 she worked as Director of Policy and Development for the 157 Group.
In 2010 she started volunteering for Ed Miliband's Labour Leadership Campaign, being subsequently appointed as head of volunteers for the duration of the campaign.
In the same year she was sworn in as one of the first female Freemen of Beverley as a result of a gender equality campaign of which her aunt was a key member; this act had to be passed by Parliament.
- Gruner, Peter (15 February 2013). "Ex-mayor among candidates facing voters in Junction and St George's ward by-elections sparked by Town Hall resignations". Islington Tribune. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
|President of the
National Union of Students