Motions before the Sixth Union Council of 2013/14

This Union Should Have a Safe Space Policy

Proposer: Jack Salter (LGBT Officer 2013/14) 

Why Does this Union Need a Safe Space Policy?

·         Everyone should feel able to attend Union events and to participate freely in them.

·         The Students’ Union Bye-Laws on the conduct of members are necessarily reactive and generalised, but some students and student groups require the ability to pro-actively define ‘safe spaces’ in order to protect and/or educate.

How does Safe Space Work?

The Students’ Union:

· Will allow any student group to use this safe space policy at their events in order to foster a safe and healthy environment for students. Safe space events should be advertised as such before the event, and should display this policy at the entrance to & inside the event.
· Will support student groups in maintaining safe spaces where appropriate.
· Will remind students that conduct in contravention of Policy of the Union, including the Safe Space policy, is a Disciplinary Offence.

Behaviour in a Safe Space

Safe Space events should be a safe and comfortable environment free from behaviour including, but not limited to:

· Disrespectful behaviour
· Being careless as to one’s words or actions, particularly in relation to content that may trigger distressing memories or emotions in others
· Not respecting another’s right not to participate in discussions or to not answer questions/ask for no more questions to be directed at them
· Unfairly rejecting a person’s wish to educate themselves by asking respectful questions or making mistakes, subject to the above.
· Making assumptions about someone before they have the opportunity to identify themselves
· Intimidation, bullying or harassment

Protection of Anonymity


·         All students have the right to participate in Safe Space events anonymously and to not have their attendance shared without their permission in order to protect themselves.

·         Safe Space extends to photographs, social media and communication surrounding Safe Space events as well as face-to-face contact before, during and after the event.

Respecting Religion

Proposed by- Yasmin Talsi, BME Officer

Seconded by- Mike Dore, Equal Opportunities and Welfare Office

What is this policy about?

We believe that the Union should:

· Support and facilitate the education of people about religion and the role it plays in many people’s lives
· Campaign against any imposition of religious (including atheist) views on people
· Provide adequate religious facilities for the use of its members
· Ensure the safety of students where the visits of certain organisations to campus might be experienced as provocative
· Lobby the university so that exams and coursework deadlines do not clash with major religious observances
· Lobby the university to ensure that hall students who are fasting or have other religious dietary requirements are properly provided for

Why have you proposed this?

· We believe the union’s members have the right to practice either a religion or no religion during their stay at university
· We believe that the religious sensibilities of the unions’ members should be respected.
· In the past students have felt unsafe when certain groups with known anti-religious views have come and protested on campus
· Some events on campus have involved outside religious speakers with views which have caused offense to our students

 Care.Data Information Campaign 

Proposed By: Matt Styles

What is this idea about? 

·  For the Students’ Union to proactively inform students on the government’s Care.Data programme which involves the selling of patient records to private firms both in and outside the health sector
· To do this through all relevant means including email and social media
· To lobby Cripps Health Centre to send a letter to all of their patients informing them of Care.Data and providing an opt-out form
· To use JCR Presidents’ networks to inform students about the Care.Data programme to allow students to make an informed choice.

Why have you proposed it?

· Care.Data is a government scheme to combine patients’ GP data with other data previously unconnected
· Patients’ date of birth, full postcode, NHS Number and gender will be used to link their records in a central system which may be sold to private healthcare providers, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and those interested in selling services to the NHS
· All NHS patients, students included, should be provided with the relevant information to allow them to make an informed decision as to whether their data should be shared in this way
· In April 2014, a BBC survey found that less than 1 in 3 people were aware of Care.Data
· The uploading of data has been delayed twice, next until August 2014, due to criticism from Professional bodies such as the British Medical Association and the Royal College of General Practitioners
· Students are particularly prone to not receiving such government information due to their moving between accommodation.

Zero Tolerance to Discriminatory (Verbal & Physical) Harassment

Submitters: Krishna Shah, Nina Humphries, Yasmin Talsi, Jack Salter

What is the idea about? 

Taking a stand against verbal and physical harassment based on social characteristics of an individual. This can be defined as unwanted physical and/or verbal conduct that may be sexual, violent, intimidating, degrading, offensive or humiliating in line with the SU Equal Opportunities Policy. This may be on the basis of gender, sexual or romantic orientation, social background, ability, ethnicity, religion or age.

What is it intended to achieve?

· For the Students’ Union to have a simple, well publicised guidance document in place for students to turn to, so that discrimination or harassment is recognised as damaging and unacceptable and dealt with appropriately.
· For the Students’ Union to work with associated groups (e.g. halls, clubs, societies) in order to change cultures and attitudes that might perpetuate or accept this type of behaviour.
· For the Students’ Union to work with external bodies, including the Police, Local Authorities and parts of the night-time economy (e.g. night clubs), to change cultures and attitudes that might perpetuate or accept this type of behaviour, and to protect students from harassment.

Why have you proposed it?  

· To mandate the Democratic Procedures Committee to produce a Guidance Document that makes the Students’ Union Bye-laws and procedures covering harassment clearer and easier to use.
· Because Students’ Union policy expires after three years but harassment is a perennial problem for students, and we should be working towards changing cultures and attitudes to ensure that the problem decreases.

Evidence-base 

Gender: NUS Hidden Marks Report, UoN Women’s Network Lad Culture Survey, UoN Women’s Network Zero Tolerance research and the NottsSexism twitter page all demonstrate that women experience physical and verbal sexual harassment and that cultures that are prevalent in the university sphere normalise this. Women have reported that they do not feel safe accessing university environments as a result.

BME: 18% of Black students responding to an NUS survey on hate crime have been the victim of at least one racial hate incident during their current studies according to a report of the survey’s findings. The most common types of hate incident were verbal abuse, threats of violence and threatening behaviour. 48% of Asian and Asian British students to the NUS survey reported fear about being subject to racial prejudice. 42% of reported incidents took place in and around educational institutions. More than half (54%) of the victims of race hate incidents surveyed had considered leaving their courses as a result.

LGBT:  Homophobia in Halls survey, LGBT Network year-end surveys, NUS-UoNSU joint project on retention & disclosure, research into night-time security, NUS – Education beyond the straight and narrow – all of these demonstrate instances of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia and harassment. There are also repercussions from the presence of lad culture, as drawn out by the Lad Culture Survey. This does mean that some members feel unsafe being out.

Environment – Sustainable Energy 

Proposed By: Scotty Jennings

What is this idea about? 

Lobbying the University to install across all buildings integrated multi-source heat pump solutions:

· Ground source heating
· Air source heating
·  Thermal heat collectors (solar panels)

Lobbying the University to install hybrid solar solutions:

· Thermal Heat collectors (solar panels)
· Photovoltaic panels (solar cells)
– Support the University’s attempts to build wind turbines in open spaces.

Why have you proposed it? 

The above combination of green energy solutions would provide sustainable, cost-saving, CO2-reducing solutions for both heating and electricity

· Save the University Money in the long term
· Reduce CO2 emissions to become carbon neutral and self-sustainable
· Further the University’s Green image
· Improve the University’s ranking in university league tables.

Boycott G4S  

Proposed By: Scotty Jennings

What is this idea about? 

· The Students’ Union not to renew and enter into contracts with G4S or its subsidiaries
· Lobby the University not to renew and enter into contracts with G4S or its subsidiaries

Why have you proposed it? 

G4S have been involved in a number of significant controversies, including:

· Defrauding the taxpayer:
· Claiming security tagging for people who are deceased or not living in the country
· Failing to security tag individuals despite claiming the expenses for such
· Using unacceptable and non-approved violence and force in UK Border Agency detentions centres, including a case of tipping a disabled pregnant woman’s wheelchair up
· Allegations of torture in South African prisons
· Failing to provide for the London 2012 Olympics by:
· Forcing unpaid staff to sleep underneath London bridges without food or toilet facilities
· Underproviding the required level of staffing required for the event forcing the British Army to make up numbers
· Failing to provide adequate training for female teenage security staff
· In 2013 being one of the nominees for the 2013 Public Eye Award, a counter-event created by NGOs, which awards the worst company of the year
· Our Students’ Union and University, as financially-capable and ethical organisations, should have no dealings with such companies.

Lobbying for Change / Environment: Waste and Recycling 

Proposed By: Duncan Davis

 

What is this idea about?

 · For the Students’ Union to lobby the University to provide better access to recycling facilities in halls of accommodation
· For the Students’ Union to lobby the local authorities (e.g. Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire County Council) to ensure adequate recycling facilities for shared accommodation.

Why have you proposed it?

· The reduction, reuse and recycling of products and materials reduces environmentally harmful levels of consumption
· Many halls of accommodation, particularly on-campus, have a single recycling point for all of their residents; making recycling inaccessible
· There are numerous cases of students living off-campus where no recycling facilities have been provided and access to recycling information is not as accessible as it needs to be for new residents.

Motions before the Fifth Union Council of 2013/14:

STUDENT-COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Proposed by: Ben Haddock (Project Leader, SU Community Reps)
Seconded by: Mike Olatokun (SU Environment & Social Justice Officer, SU Community Officer-elect)

What is the idea about?

For the Students’ Union to:
Provide information and encourage students to build positive relationships with their student and non-student neighbours.
Encourage wider student participation and turnout with local community groups, events, businesses and facilities.
Encourage students to make their voices heard outside of election periods and engage with their local representatives through community meetings and representatives’ surgeries.
Work to better promote and share the culture & positive achievements of students with the rest of Nottingham.
Work with and support other partners and agencies (University of Nottingham, Nottingham City Council, SU Community Reps etc) to facilitate the above points, where appropriate.
Monitor, evaluate and publish the impact made from the above points on a yearly basis.

Why have you proposed it?

In a survey carried out by students in Lenton last year:
– 66.2% of students and non-students saw themselves as having no relationship with each other.
– 75% of non-students reported problems with anti-social behaviour and noise.

More information about the survey results can be found at: http://www.communityreps.co.uk.

The last ten years have a seen a significant increase in the student population in Nottingham, particularly in places like Lenton.

Students are a phenomenal asset to Nottingham, however our arrival has been to some extent a mixed blessing for some permanent residents, who have seen their area change and have reported an increase in rubbish and late night noise.

This motion passed 16-0



Gender Neutral Toilets

Proposed by – LGBT Officer (Jack Salter)

What is the idea about?

For the Students’ Union to;
Continue to lobby the university for formal agreement to provide and maintain at least one gender neutral toilet in all main buildings on all campuses
To review the current list of gender neutral toilets to ensure that they exist
To work with the Staff LGBTQ Staff Network to further this campaign
To continue to enforce the agreement with the University’s Estates department that Gender Neutral Toilets will be created in all new University Buildings.

Why have you proposed it?

This has been Union Policy for the past 3 years.

The LGBTQ Staff Network has indicated its support in this campaign.

Gender neutral toilets are a form of accessible toilets for:
– Trans people
– People who don’t want assumptions made about their gender
– Parents with a child of a different gender

These toilets are also extra toilets in a building to be used during busy times of the day.

Gender neutral toilets are already in existence in all public buildings in the form of disabled toilets. However, these toilets are specifically for disabled people and should be reserved for this purpose, rather than being repurposed for more general use. A single gender neutral toilet does not take up much space and is an easy addition to new and old buildings

This motion passed 14-2



ThNo support for marking boycotts

What is the idea about?

For the Students’ Union not to support marking boycotts due to the detrimental effect these can have on students’ academic experience and to publicise this position in a manner appropriate to the scale and specific context of any such boycott.

Why have you proposed it?

Marking boycotts can inflict damage to students’ academic experience. This is of particular concern to:
– Postgraduate taught students progressing to the next stage of study
– Finalists and their ability to graduate on time
– Students taking up internships and placements where they are required to provide proof of marks

Student feedback indicates that marking boycotts can cause a level of unacceptable disruption and they should not be supported.

The Students’ Union acknowledges that Postgraduates who Teach among its membership may choose to participate in marking boycotts for a variety of reasons and respects their right to participate in this type of action according to the dictates of their own conscience.

This motion neither fell nor passed with a vote of 8-8 – it will therefore be going to referendum



Motions before the Fourth Union Council of 2013/14:

Rejecting Torture and the Death Penalty.

Proposer, Dave Cordell

What is your Idea? 

This idea calls for Nottingham Student’s Union to publicly reject the use of the Death Penalty and Torture around the world and to call for its abolition.

Why have you proposed this idea? 

We believe the Nottingham Student’s Union should support the “United Nations Declaration of Human Rights” and the belief that individual rights irrespective of political or religious creed, race, age, gender or sex should be protected.

Torture is still used in many countries today and we believe that Nottingham Students Union should speak out against this practice.

This motion was withdrawn from Council

Donation not Discrimination

Proposed by Jack Salter LGBT Officer.

What is your Idea 

Our Idea is that the Students’ Union supports the NUS LGBT Donation not Discrimination campaign, which calls for gay and bisexual men to be treated the same as heterosexual people when they are giving blood.

This idea also calls for the LGBT Officer and LGBT network to education Students about the unfair treatment of students who engage in same-sex sexual activity and to generally continue with the Donation not Discrimination campaign on campus.

This idea also calls for the Students’ Union to support blood donations organised by the National Blood Service on campus.

Why have you proposed this idea? 

The National Blood Service currently bans men who have ever had oral or anal sex with another man in the 12 months before giving blood.

This is unfair as it policy implies that all same-sex sexual activity is inherently high-risk and perpetuates the myth the AIDS is a ‘gay disease’.

We believe that it is important students are made aware of the current ban and encouraged to give blood.

This motion was withdrawn from council and will instead be submitted to the LGBT Network Committee as autonomous policy

Gender Neutral Toilets

Proposed by Jack Salter, LGBT Officer

What is the idea about?

For the Students’ Union to;
• Continue to lobby the university for a formal agreement to provide at least one gender neutral toilet in all main buildings on campus
• To review the current list of gender neutral toilets to ensure that they exist
• To work with the Staff LGBTQ Staff Network to further this campaign
• To continue to enforce the agreement with the University’s Estates department that Gender Neutral Toilets will be created in all new University Buildings.

Why have you proposed it?

• This has been Union Policy for the past 3 years.
• The LGBTQ Staff Network has indicated its support in this campaign.
• Gender neutral toilets are a form of accessible toilets for:
– Trans people
– People who don’t want assumptions made about their gender
– Parents with a child of a different gender

• These toilets are also extra toilets in a building to be used during busy times of the day.
• gender neutral toilets are already in existence in all public buildings in the form of disabled toilets. However, these toilets are specifically for disabled people and should be reserved for this purpose, rather than being repurposed for more general use. A single gender neutral toilet does not take up much space and is an easy addition to new and old buildings”

This motion was posted by mistake and will be submitted at a later date

Update on Motions before the Third Union Council of 2013/14:

Campaigning Around Local, General and European Elections

What is the idea about? 

For the Students’ Union to;

·         coordinate a campaign encouraging voter registration and turnout of students at the university.

·         encourage informed voting by holding hustings and debates.

·         inform students of the option of deliberately spoiling their ballot papers if they don’t like any of the candidates/parties.

·         lobby local parties and candidates to adopt policies in line with policies of the Students’ Union and opinions of students (as determined by consultation).

Why have you proposed it?

·         Turnout at elections in the UK has steadily decreased over the past few decades.

·         Students and young people have particularly poor turnout.

·         Politicians have little incentive to serve the interests of people who don’t vote.

·         Voter registration is transitioning to individual voter registration so it will take more effort to get people registered.

·         Some people feel that none of the candidates represent them. Not voting is registered as apathy, not disillusionment. Deliberately spoiling ballot papers is a better way to show discontent.

This motion passed by 16 votes to 1

Living Grants

What is the idea about? 

For the Students’ Union to submit policy to NUS National Conference 2015 including the following text:

[for the NUS] “

· To reinstate its position supporting universal living grants

· To call for this to be funded through progressive taxation such as an increase in corporation tax

·To campaign for a grant of at least £150 a week.

Why have you proposed it?

· For many years, NUS had a policy of supporting universal living grants.

· Even leaving aside fees, the student grant goes nowhere covering living costs.

· Since means testing was introduced, students who are estranged from their parents have suffered unneeded stress and financial hardship as many have had to prove estrangement from their parents. This disproportionately affects already marginalised students, in particular LGBT students and others who suffer from high levels of estrangement.

· It is better that some students who do not need grants receive them than for thousands of students to excluded from education for fear of poverty, debt and persecution.

· Money is available to reinstate universal grants – it’s about what society values. We should fight for society to value accessible education.

This motion fell by 15 votes to 2

Support for Industrial Action

What is the idea about? 

For the Students’ Union to publicly support industrial action by UCU, including strikes and the marking boycott.

For the Students’ Union to make a press release stating the following positions:

· We unreservedly support the unions in the current pay dispute.

· While we recognise that the marking boycott and strikes may be disruptive for students, we also recognise that industrial action is disruptive for a reason.

· We believe the best way to stop the disruption is for the demands of the unions to be met.

For the Students’ Union to contact the branch of UCU at our university to inform them of this position.

Why have you proposed it? 

This quote from the #fairpayinhe website sums it up nicely:

“UK higher education has a great international reputation and student surveys consistently show that staff are providing a high quality service. Yet the very people who make our universities great have seen their pay cut by 13% over the last four years. The National Union of Students (NUS) supports the joint staff unions in believing that university staff should be properly supported and remunerated. Together we believe that fair pay is an issue of fairness in itself, but also note that there are very clear benefits to students that pay is at a level which attracts excellent staff, and helps to support the maintenance of a happy and motivated workforce.

However, our staff are being asked to work harder and take home less and less money to their families year after year.

UCU, UNISON and Unite have joined together to ask for a modest pay rise to tackle the problems of falling pay levels and to ensure that all universities pay a living wage to their lowest paid workers.”

This motion fell by 16 votes to 1

No More Page 3: Removing ‘The Sun’ and the ‘Daily Star’ from SU-affiliated retail outlets until Page 3 is revoked 

 What is the idea about? 

For SU-affiliated retail outlets to:

– Stop stocking ‘Page 3’ publications, namely The Sun and the Daily Star.

– Enforce this boycott to be until such time as the Editors of said publications remove Page 3 (the displaying of topless female models).

This motion is part of a wider national No More Page 3 campaign.

Why have you proposed it? 

Page 3 endorses a culture of sexual objectification of women, as well as projecting rigid body image ideals which are harmful to all members of our university.

In a place of learning, it is invaluable that every student is treated as an equal; by trading the Sun and Daily Star, our SU-affiliated retail outlets promote a culture where women are viewed first and foremost as objects of male gratification.

Boobs are not newsworthy; UoN is an inappropriate place for the sale of publications which limit and misrepresent over half the population of the university.

The Company Board that controls trading in SU-affiliated retail outlets has provisionally agreed to the motion from a financial perspective, pending student approval.

As of 05/03/2014 28 university Student’s Unions and 6 Oxford University Colleges have enacted a boycott of Page 3 publications.

UoN Feminists promoted the NMP3 campaign by interacting personally with students at our Refresher’s Fayre demo, where we collected over 200 signatures for a petition in just one day.

The No More Page 3 Nottingham campaign’s online petition currently has over 200 signatures.

This motion passed by 14 votes to 3

Update on the Motions before the Second Union Council of 2013/14:

Supporting the Equal Access to Higher Education Campaign:

Submitters: STAR (Student Action for Refugees) 

What is the idea about?

This idea calls for the Student’s Union to support the Equal Access to Higher Education campaign.

It calls for the Union to lobby the University to remove the financial barriers to higher education that are faced by those seeking refugee protections. This would include:

–          Enabling those seeking refugee protection to be able to study as home students

–          Recognising that, as vulnerable groups, students seeking refugee protection should have access to additional support. This may include the provision of fee waivers, bursaries, scholarships and grants

This will require the Executive Team to request a meeting between the Vice Chancellor and representatives from STAR. It would also require the Executive Team to sign a letter to the Vice Chancellor, explaining the benefits of providing equal access to higher education to this university.  This letter should be written with the help of STAR.

Additionally the Union should support national Equal Access campaigns.

Why have you proposed it? 

Currently, the University of Nottingham charges those seeking refugee protection international student fees. As these individuals are denied access to student loans or grants and asylum seekers are not allowed to work, this effectively excludes them from accessing higher education.

We believe that education is a human right and that everyone should have access to higher education based on merit.

This is important not only for moral reasons, but also because these students have the potential to greatly enrich the intellectual and social life of the University.

A number of reputable UK Universities have adopted these proposals.

Over 400 students from the University of Nottingham have signed the Equal Access petition.

Update on the Motions before the First Union Council of 2013/14:

1. To make the Environment & Social Justice Officer role full-time.

The motion states that environmental and social justice issues are at the heart of student values; that student campaigns are effective at making change and that more collaboration could help in delivering greater change. The proposer believes that a full-time Environment & Social Justice Officer could help to foster this collaboration and to provide the full support that student campaigns need. It also states that this role would become more accessible to students as they would not have to balance their course and the demands of the role at once.

THIS MOTION FELL BY 17 VOTES TO 1

2. “Buy Right”

This motion seeks to get the University to sign up to the Workers’ Rights Consortium, to get student representation on the University’s procurement committees and to lobby the University to purchase more ethical and sustainable garments. The reason for this is that there is currently a trade-off between the working conditions of the manufacturer or the production being environmentally friendly, which the proposer believes should not be the case. They state that many other Universities are signed up to the Workers’ Rights Consortium, and that the more that do so, the more pressure can be put on to improve workers’ rights.

THIS MOTION FELL BY 18 VOTES TO 0 – THE PANELISTS AGREED IN PRINCIPLE, BUT ASKED THE OFFICERS TO UNDERTAKE RESEARCH AND BRING THE MOTION BACK TO THE NEXT COUNCIL

3. Postgraduates who teach

This motion relates to the Union’s research into postgraduates who teach, and seeks to empower students to campaign on issues raised in the research, to ensure that postgraduates who teach are given adequate training and to work with UCU where appropriate. The proposer states that postgraduates who teach are being let down in terms of training, recruitment practices and working conditions, and that it is the Union’s job to represent them. The proposer also states that helping postgraduates who teach will have a benefit to undergraduates who are taught by them.

What do you think about this policy? Please tell me if you agree or disagree with this motion in the box below.

THIS MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY – 18 VOTES TO 0

4. Student Loan Book Sell-Off

The motion calls on the Union to oppose the sell-off of further parts of the Student Loan Book, to ensure that students’ rights are protected in the event of any further sell-off, and to work with NUS to ensure the terms & conditions of the loans are protected. The proposers state that the terms & conditions of student loans are currently flexible and can be changed at any time, including interest rates and repayments, and that this could be seriously detrimental to our students, by effectively raising tuition fees or causing financial hardship.

THIS MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY – 18 VOTES TO 0

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