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24th April 2014

Category > External

Increasing Access to Bursaries

» 31 March 2014 » In University, Welfare » No Comments

Increasing Access to Bursaries – 27 March 2014, Union Council (Ref: 1314P9)

This Union Notes:

  1. Research from NUS[1] shows that some students are currently facing a cost-of-living gap of over £7,500 once their costs and possible government funding support are taken into account
  2. The SUSU Advice and Information Centre does fantastic work in helping students to deal with financial difficulties
  3. That the amount in bursaries that the University of Southampton offers students from lower income households has not increased with inflation in over 5 years
  4. That the baseline values for means testing students for bursaries have not increased with inflation in over 5 years
  5. That the baselines values for means testing students for student finance maintenance grants have not increased with inflation in over 5 years
  6. That in 2013, all University of Southampton students eligible for means tested financial support from the University were given a choice between fee-waivers and bursaries
  7. That up to 40% of graduates from UK universities will not pay back their entire tuition fee loan, and therefore not fully benefit from a fee-waiver

 

This Union Believes:

  1. That financial difficulties shouldn’t hold back students from getting an education
  2. That bursaries are always better than fee-waivers at helping students avoid financial difficulties at university
  3. That a lack of inflationary changes in the ways maintenance grants, at a national level, and bursaries, at a local level, is taking vital financial support away from the students who need it most

 

This Union Resolves:

  1. To lobby the University to ensure that access funding is prioritised towards bursaries, instead of fee-waivers
  2. To lobby the University to better educate students about bursaries that are open to them and the benefits of bursaries over fee-waivers
  3. To lobby the University to make inflationary adjustments to the ways it calculates its bursary provision to students
  4. To lobby nationally so that inflationary adjustments are made to the ways student finance England calculates maintenance grants

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SUSU Job Shop

» 31 March 2014 » In Welfare » No Comments

SUSU Job Shop – 27 March 2014, Union Council (Ref: 1314P8)

This Union Notes:

  1. Research from NUS[1] shows that some students are currently facing a cost-of-living gap of over £7,500 once their costs and possible government funding support are taken into account
  2. Research from WL Perna[2] showing that students who work up to 20 hours a week show increased cognitive development, critical thinking skills and reading comprehension
  3. The SUSU Advice Centre does  fantastic work in helping students to deal with financial difficulties
  4. Students with a cost-of-living gap of £7,500 would need to earn above the minimum wage (£6.50 in 2014) to close this gap
  5. In 2013, SUSU was able to recruit just fewer than 100 new student staff members, whilst almost 3 times this number applied for jobs
  6. The University of Southampton currently advertises job vacancies, however a small proportion of these are for current students seeking part-time jobs (under 35 jobs on 10th February 2014)

 

This Union Believes:

  1. That financial difficulties shouldn’t hold back students from getting an education
  2. That the University is better placed to focus on improving the employability prospects of graduating students by separating this from improving the financial welfare of our students through part-time jobs
  3. That SUSU should advertise job vacancies to students
  4. That SUSU should prioritise advertising jobs from companies who have ethical employment practices, as based on criteria set by the SUSU BEES project

 

This Union Resolves:

  1. To create a SUSU Job Shop to help increase part-time employment opportunities for students

 

This Union Mandates:

  1. The VP Welfare and Union President to create a business plan for a SUSU-run Job Shop

[2] ‘Improving educational opportunities for College Students Who Work’ – http://www.indiana.edu/~ipa

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Tackling Sexual Harassment

» 31 March 2014 » In Welfare » No Comments

Tackling Sexual Harassment – 27 March 2014, Union Council (Ref: 1314P7)

This Union Notes

1. According to Hidden Marks, a national report, 68% of students have been subject to verbal or physical sexual harassment, and nearly one in four have experienced unwanted sexual contact. This is especially applicable for women in nightclub environments. [1]

2. The current Union Valuing Diversity Policy, which states that SUSU must

  • “ensure that every student and staff member is treated fairly and have equality of opportunity within the union.
  • not tolerate any discrimination against students or staff on any grounds.
  • work alongside cohorts of individuals who may be subject to discrimination, prejudice and intimidation to provide a safe, welcoming and enjoyable environment.
  • actively encourage participation from groups that are not usually involved in SUSU activities.”[2]

3. We do not currently have any definition for sexual harassment.

This Union Believes

  1. SUSU should raise awareness of sexual harassment/ violence and other kinds of harassment or bullying.
  2. That we should create a more specific policy to taking a stand against Sexual Harassment and address the challenges it creates.
  3. SUSU should  create an environment where all students can enjoy time in their Union without being harassed.
  4. In alignment with NUS definitions  SUSU understand sexual harassment as describing unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature, including; someone making comments with a sexual overtone that made you feel uncomfortable; wolf whistling, catcalling or making noises with sexual overtones; being asked questions about your sex or romantic life when it is clearly irrelevant or none of the other person’s business; being asked questions about your sexuality when it is clearly irrelevant or none of the other person’s business; someone exposing their sexual organs to you when you did not agree to see them; someone groping, pinching or touching your body in a sexual manner when you did not agree to them doing so; and someone exposing any part of your body without you agreeing.[3]

This Union Resolves:

  1. To take action by understanding, educating, training and reviewing.
  2. To begin the process of challenging unacceptable behaviour by first understanding what students currently believe the term “sexual harassment” to mean, and gauge their perceptions of its occurrence.
  3. To educate those who engage in acts of sexual harassment:
    1. by running a drip-fed campaign throughout the year with various forms of media provoking debate around sexual harassment – especially focussed on End of Term, Freshers and New Year.
    2. by creating an action plan to work with at least five local night time venues in the academic year 2014/2015 to embed best practice.
    3. To ensure that we have a clear, transparent and simple procedure for affected students to report and address specific incidents of sexual harassmenet within SUSU.
    4. To ensure that those who witness or are victims of sexual harassment know the correct steps to take, by creating a programme of training for elected officers and relevant staff to help them understand what sexual harassment is and how to deal with it (to include Union Councillors, Student Leaders, Sabbatical officers, club captains/ Social sec and members of JCRs[4]). This will occur within the first 2 months of starting their roles.
    5. To support those who experience sexual harassment by regularly reviewing the support, processes and procedures that currently surround sexual harassment in SUSU every 12 months, and making changes where appropriate.

This Union Mandates

  1. The Equality & Diversity Committee, along with the Student Life Zone, to have ownership over any work done to tackle sexual harassment.
  2. VP Welfare and Equality and Diversity Officer to lead all work.

[1] http://www.nus.org.uk/Global/NUS_hidden_marks_report_2nd_edition_web.pdf p.3 (Dec 13)

[2] http://www.susu.org/about/equality-and-diversity.html (Dec 13)

[3] http://www.nus.org.uk/Global/NUS_hidden_marks_report_2nd_edition_web.pdf  (p3 &35)

[4] These are elected representatives for the year 2013/14, we hope this scope will increase with the next steps of the project.

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Creation of a new Intra-Mural Officer Student Leader Position

» 11 December 2013 » In Constitution Changes, Officers, Rule, Sport » No Comments

Creation of a new Intra-Mural Officer Student Leader Position – 2 December 2013, Union Council (Ref: 1314P2)

Union Notes

  1. The Standing Committee Review which led to the development of Zones, which came into effect in July 2013.
  2. The zone is split into 5 areas, as laid out in the zone strategy (TASS, Bursary, Athletic Union, Intra-mural and Recreational/Participation). The first two areas are controlled and managed by the University, leaving the later three to be managed by SUSU.
  3. At the moment the Sports Participation Officer is spread across the three areas – they look after the smaller Athletic Union Clubs, they are the lead representative on Intra-mural issues (and co-chair of the committee) and they are tasked with looking at ways to increase participation for all students at every level.

Union Believes

  1. Of the three areas referred to in Notes 2, each has very distinct needs, meaning that it is not easy to join any two together.
  2. The Sports Participation Officer is not able to give as much attention as needed to the intra-mural leagues.
  3. The workload of the Sports Participation Officer means that neither strand of their work is able to be given the time it deserves, meaning we never break down the barriers that stop people from participating in sport, and the profile and efficiency of the intra-mural leagues is lowered.
  4. Making the Intra-Mural Officer a student leader would be a huge benefit to the Sports Zone and for sport at Southampton. It would also: raise the profile of IM sport and give it the attention that is needed; remove the number of tasks required of the Participation Officer, allowing them to focus on improving participation and the sporting experience we offer to recreational players.
  5.  In addition, the longer term vision is to have intra-mural sports solely under the control of the Sports Zone, with the relationship becoming a similar to the one that the AU and S&W have. Therefore, the level of work for this area would increase, meaning that a student leader would become absolutely necessary.

Union Resolves

  1. To create a new position of Intra-Mural Officer, to be a student leader.
  2. Accordingly, to amend the Rules as follows:
    • a) in rule 6 (Student Leaders), after section 13, insert a new section 14, as follows:
      • 14. Intra-Mural Officer
      • 14.1 to promote the Intra-Mural league system.
      • 14.2 to represent students in the organisation of Intra-Mural events throughout the year.
      • 14.3 Chair the Intra-Mural Committee”

    and amend the numbering of the following sections (and any reference to them in any other Rule or By-law) accordingly.

    • b) in Rule 4 (Zones), in the list in section 9.3, add an entry for the Intra-Mural Officer, and re-number the remaining entries accordingly.
    • c) in rule 2 (Decision Making), in section 4.2(f), increase the number of Open Place Union Councillors by one.
  3. In order to allow an election for the new Intra-Mural Officer to occur in the current academic year, the amendments made by this motion shall come into effect:
    • a) for the purpose of the promotion and operation of the 2014 spring elections, on the day this motion is passed, and
    • b) for all other purposes, on 1 July 2014.

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SUSU and Payday Lenders

» 11 December 2013 » In Citizenship, Finance, SUSU Governance » No Comments

SUSU and Payday Lenders – 2 December 2013, Union Council (Ref: 1314P1)

Union Notes:

1.    Many students are beginning to turn to payday loans as a source of money

2.    Payday Lenders charge a huge amount of interest and late payment fees which can be in excess of 1000% APR

3.    More websites are being created and targeted directly at students and vulnerable groups of people. (www.smart-pig.com)

4.    Unions across the country have banned advertising from pay day loans companies on campus (Walsall College, Northampton, Northumbria, Swansea, UEL, Leeds Met, Sheffield and Keele)

 

Union Believes

1.    Payday lenders are targeting vulnerable groups of people and taking advantage of them

2.    Payday lenders are against our values as a Students’ Union.

3.    As a charity we should not, in any way, endorse or promote pay day lenders

4.    The recent targeting of students by payday lenders constitutes a reason for SUSU to take a stance on this issue.

 

Union Resolves

1.    To ban all advertising of payday lenders in physical and online spaces

2.    To not allow any sponsorship of SUSU products and events by payday lenders

3.    To lobby the University to disallow any advertising/sponsorship of payday lenders cross campus.

4.    To advertise alternative methods of money for those who need the support

5.    To carry out research on the attitudes of students at the University of Southampton to pay day lenders and determine how many of our students may have used payday lenders as a source of money.

 

Union Mandates

1.    Student Life Zone to develop a strategy to advertise alternative sources of money for the students who need it

2.    Student Life Zone to develop a plan to research student attitudes to pay day lenders.

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Referendum on NUS Affiliation

» 02 May 2012 » In Affiliations, External, Lapsed Policy, NUS, SUSU Governance » No Comments

Referendum on NUS Affiliation – 2 May, AGM (Ref: 1112P14)

This Union Notes

  1. SUSU left the National Union of Students (NUS) in 2002. This decision was made at the Annual General Meeting on 14 May 2002
  2. In the autumn term 2010 a referendum was held on whether or not the Union should be a member of the NUS. This was the first referendum on the subject since 1999
  3. The NUS has gone through a period of change, and has set out a new strategy for improvement over the coming years
  4. The wide variety of student groups who are engaged in campaigning and activism who would benefit from linking up with national campaigns
  5. The radical changes to the higher education sector over the past two years, and the strong mandate from Union Council and AGM to campaign nationally on these issues.

Useful Links:

The 2002 AGM NUS disaffiliation motion

The 2010 policy calling for a referendum

2010 referendum information website

NUS Strategic Plan

This Union Believes

  1. Over the last two years the landscape of higher education, the structure of SUSU, and the structure of the NUS have to varying degrees changed
  2. Over the last two years a large portion of our student population in Southampton has changed
  3. It is fair and democratic to ask the question to all students whether or not under these new conditions SUSU should be affiliated to the NUS
  4. A referendum should be held towards the end of autumn term of the 2012-13 academic year. The process should not be rushed, and both sides of the debate allowed time to develop.
  5. Facts and figures linked to affiliation should be compiled and verified by a body independent of both SUSU and the NUS
  6. The financial implications of affiliation should be considered by the Trustee Board, which would also provide a steer on the impact it would have on the Union as an organisation.

This Union Resolves

  1. To hold the referendum towards the end of the Autumn term of the academic year 2012/13
  2. If SUSU does affiliate then the question should be put to the student body again within three years

This Union Mandates:

  1. Elections Committee to conduct the referendum which would ask the question “Should the University of Southampton Students’ Union (SUSU) be affiliated to the NUS?”
  2. The Trustee Board to appoint an external body, independent of both SUSU and the NUS, to verify the facts and figures linked to affiliation, e.g. potential savings through NUSSL
  3. The Trustee Board to evaluate the impact on SUSU both financially and as an organisation.

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Extra-Curricular Timetabling

» 23 April 2012 » In External, Sport, University » No Comments

Extra-Curricular Timetabling- 23 April, Union Council (Ref: 1112P11)

This Union Notes

  1. That students at the University of Southampton are primarily here to get a degree.
  2. Students may miss lectures/tutorials/labs/seminars due to mitigating circumstances/for valid reason.
  3. that SUSU clubs and societies are highly successful and compete frequently
  4. that clubs and societies are affiliates of SUSU, not owned by SUSU, and can organise trips and events of their own accord.
  5. Students can seek advice from the advice centre where necessary.

 

This Union Believes

  1. That students are mature and responsible enough to make fully informed decisions and manage their own timetable.
  2. That it boosts the reputation of SUSU and the University to have our clubs and societies competing nationally
  3. It is beneficial for students to participate in extracurricular activities as well as perform well in their degree.
  4. SUSU has a moral responsibility for not hindering a person’s degree by organising events for students that may mean students miss a substantial amount of time from classes.
  5. Students should consult the relevant staff, make sure they are familiar with their programme/course requirements and check University Calendar 2011/12 Section IV : Attendance and Completion of Programme Requirements.

 

This Union Resolves

  1. SUSU will not dictate whether students should or shouldn’t miss lectures.
  2. In the case of an event or trip carrying no significant benefit for the student and severely clashes with lectures, SUSU can advise student groups on how organise such an event, but will not provide significant staff time and resource in organising the event or trip for them
  3. Students seeking to organise an event that clashes with lectures and is outside core club and society activity will be advised to speak to the Advice Centre.

 

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SUSU and UCU (University and College Union) Strike

» 21 November 2011 » In External, University » No Comments

SUSU and UCU (University and College Union) Strike Action – 21 November 2011, Union Council (Ref: 1112P5)

Union Notes

  1. Current policy D4.5 states that “Southampton University Students’ Union opposes any increase or lifting of the current cap on top-up fees in England and  Wales”.
  2. That the increase in tuition fees is only one part of the Higher Education White Paper which will result in the teaching budgets in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences being cut by at least 80%; part of an overall cut in the Higher Education Budget of £2.9 billion.
  3. Thatthe University and College Union (UCU) state in their response to the White Paper that “Rather than improving the student experience these reforms will undermine academic quality and standards in higher education” and that “the greatest threat to the quality of teaching will be lack of public investment”.
  4. That a large part of the motivation for UCU industrial action on 30th November are the cuts in the teaching and overall Higher Education budget.
  5. UCU strongly believes that the cuts in teaching and the Higher
    Education budget will have a detrimental effect on students at Southampton
    University.

 

Union Believes

  1. That all our members, irrespective of which subject they are studying, deserve the highest quality teaching and support throughout their time at Southampton.
  2. That the teaching that our lecturers undertake is vital for the future success of our educational development and as such teaching at the University needs to be adequately funded not cut by 80%.
  3. That the proposals in the White Paper will have a detrimental effect on students’ learning during their time at Southampton
  4. That the Union should fully inform its members of the consequences of the White Paper.
  5. That our lecturers and UCU need our support, as students, in their opposition to the White Paper.

 

Union Resolves

  1. That we should, on behalf of our members, campaign to oppose the cuts in the  teaching budget being proposed in the Higher Education White Paper.
  2. That SUSU should inform students about any changes being made to Higher Education and any action being taken against them.
  3. That, subject to Union Council approval, we should support our lecturers and UCU in any industrial action that doesn’t have a severe adverse effect on the student experience and that tries to protect the quality of teaching at Southampton University.

 

Union Mandates

  1. For the President to work with the VP Academic Affairs on ensuring that SUSU campaigns against the cuts being proposed to Higher Education in the White Paper.
  2. For Education Committee to be responsible for taking a lead on informing students about future industrial action, and if mandated to do so, advertising SUSU’s support of any action.

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Supporting the Military Education Committee (MEC) in Future Event Planning and Promotion

» 13 June 2011 » In External, University » No Comments

Supporting the Military Education Committee (MEC) in Future Event Planning and Promotion – 13 June 2011, Union Council (Ref: 1011P18)

Union Notes

  1. Southampton University maintains four student military organisations and is one of only two UK Universities with all four such organisations (SUOTC, SURNU, SUAS, DTUS).
  2. These organisations accept members from all five local Universities (Southampton, Southampton Solent, Bournemouth, Winchester and Portsmouth)[1].
  3. Upon joining one of these organisations (with the exception of DTUS) there is no obligation to join the armed forces upon graduation.
  4. As of December 2010, this represents 444 students from all five universities, 302 of whom are University of Southampton students/SUSU members (68.2% of total)[2].
  5. Southampton University’s stated aim is to promote “Awareness of social, civic and environmental responsibilities” as part of one of its graduate attributes[3].
  6. The Southampton Military Education Committee (MEC); as an open forum for the organisations and the universities, cannot publicise its own events to the wider student body[4].
  7. Current SUSU policy[5] states that the union is opposed to engaging with Arms Companies, yet SUSU still promotes University Career Destinations’ events to which these companies attend.

Union Believes

  1. Publicising MEC events to students will be beneficial to the student body and will encourage debate on national issues.
  2. Publicising MEC events would heighten the profile of the university military organisations within the student body.
  3. Improving access to MEC Events will help the university fulfil its obligations under its own graduate attributes.
  4. SUSU may be opposed to military actions undertaken by the UK, but this should not prevent SUSU helping to fulfil the civilian “side” of the military covenant.

Union Resolves

  1. SUSU will undertake to help publicise events organised by the MEC through either the Academic Affairs Sabbatical/SUSU MEC Representative in consultation with the University.
  2. SUSU will not directly fund such events other than through in-house publicity (posters/website advertisements) so as to prevent a conflict of interest with current arms trade policy.

[1] Including one student from another outside institution not named within the MEC unit numbers document.

[2] From 20/01/2011 MEC Item 4 – Unit Numbers Document.

[3] http://www.soton.ac.uk/careers/attributes.html

[4] Ben Brooks’ MEC Report to the SUSU Education Committee 15/02/2011

[5] Union Council Motion unavailable at time of writing

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Fair Access to University

» 13 June 2011 » In External, HE Funding and Student Financial Support » No Comments

Fair Access to University – 13 June 2011, Union Council (Ref: 1011P17)

Union Notes

  1. The rise in tuition fees cap for 2012-12 and the consequential drive for fair access to University
  2. The University of Southampton’s submission of its Access Agreement to the Office for Fair Access (OfFA) including the University’s targets for the recruitment of students from under-represented groups in Higher Education
  3. That the University’s targets are based on a location adjusted benchmark (LAB) which takes into account the regions that an institution recruits from
  4. The following targets that the University has set in its Access Agreement for 2012-13:

(a)  Students from state schools: 5% above LAB

(b) Students from low participation neighbourhoods: meet LAB

(c)  Students from lower socio-economic groups: meet LAB

(d) Students from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds: Improve from 10.5% to 13.5% of total student body

(e)  Students in receipt of Disabled Students’ Allowance: meet or exceed LAB

       5.  The importance of widening participation to the diversity of the student body.

Union Believes

  1. In fair access to University for talented students
  2. That the University should be meeting its targets
  3. That SUSU should be holding the University to account if it fails to meet its targets

Union Resolves

  1. To mandate the Union President and VP Academic Affairs to hold the University to account for its access targets
  2. That SUSU should lobby for more ambitious access targets in the years following 2012-13

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