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25th October 2014

Category > External

Improved Leadership and Representation

» 22 July 2014 » In Constitution Changes, Welfare » No Comments

Improved Leadership and Representation – 9th June 2014, Union Council (Ref: 1314P28)

This policy was referred, by the meeting of Open Council on 14th May, to Union Council for a decision.

 

This Union Notes:

  1. The Leadership and Representation Policy (1213P16) requires Union Council to reserve roles for the male and female gender binaries.
  2. Some women that have run for “female reserved” spaces have felt patronised as they were prevented from running against men.
  3. Special attention was required when a trans-woman intended to run for a female space, and this election caused minor confusion amongst councillors.
  4. Our Valuing Diversity Policy (1011P19) states that “every student and staff member is treated fairly and have equality of opportunity within the union”.
  5. An idea submitted to the 2014 AGM proposing to extend the Leadership and Representation Policy’s practice of “boxing” gender roles received a net vote of -43 (69% of the vote being against) and was subsequently withdrawn.
  6. An idea submitted to the 2014 AGM proposing to overturn the Leadership and Representation Policy’s practice received a net vote of +105 (83% of the vote being for), making it the fourth highest ranked idea.
  7. Historically, abolishing segregation based on race or gender has been viewed as a progressive step towards equality.

 

This Union Believes:

  1. That all members of SUSU, regardless of sex, gender, or gender expression, are equal and should be represented as equal.
  2. Rigidly dividing elections between two genders creates an illusion of there being separate and incompatible standards for the same position and does not constitute “equality of opportunity”.
  3. The male and female gender binary does not fully represent the members of SUSU.
  4. Requiring trans people to prematurely out themselves, or demanding that those that do not identify with a gender binary chose a male/female space, for the purpose of election is wrong.
  5. Elections are meant to emphasise the candidates’ competence and ability to perform their desired roles and not other characteristics.

 

This Union Resolves:

  1. To lapse the Leadership and Representation Policy (1213P16).
  2. To widen the participation of women in SUSU’s democratic processes.
  3. To implement initiatives that encourage women to engage in SUSU’s politics.
  4. To continue to encourage the engagement of women, by requiring:
    1. At least 50% of the open councillor positions listed in Rule 2 (Decision Making) section 4.2(f) shall be held by self-identifying women.
    2. For each of the cohorts listed in Rule 2 (Decision Making) section 4.2(e), at least one position will be held by a self-identifying woman.
  5. The remaining 50% of Union Councillor positions (as specified in sections 4.2(e) and 4.2(f) of Rule 2 (Decision Making)) will be open to any Full Member eligible under Rule 7 (Elections) section 6.1.

 

This Union Mandates:

  1. VP Student Communities to research reasons for a lack of participation amount under-represented groups, the barriers which these groups face, and methods to reduce and remove these barriers.

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Sport For All

» 22 July 2014 » In Sport » No Comments

Sport For All – 9th June 2014, Union Council (Ref: 1314P25)

 

This Union Notes:

  1. That the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) policy on eligibility of students to compete in the BUCS sports programme limits certain students from participating in BUCS competitions. In order to compete in BUCS, a student must:
    1. Be registered on a credit rated course; and
    2. Be undertaking a study programme equivalent to at least 60 credits per year, or in the case of a postgraduate student be undertaking a study programme of no less than 50% of the full time student programme
  2. SUSU currently has policy passed on May 10 2000 Union Resolves (2) “to oppose any policy that attempts to deny a student at the University of Southampton the chance to compete in sporting activities”.

 

This Union Believes:

  1. That sport should be provided on a “sport for all” basis.
  2. That any student who attends the University of Southampton should have the opportunity to participate in sport through the Athletic Union.
  3. That the regulations on eligibility to compete in BUCS competitions are essential to ensure that BUCS sport and the higher education system are not reduced in value by   member institutions being able to offer places on lower credit rated courses simply with the aim of having those individuals compete in sporting competitions.

 

This Union Resolves:

  1. To replace Athletic Union policy “Sport for all” dated 10 May 2000 with this document.
  2. To give any member of SUSU the opportunity to trial for an AU club and to compete in non-BUCS run events where eligible.
  3. To continue to develop policy and strategy to provide access for sport to all students at the University of Southampton.

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Monthly instalments for Halls Fees

» 13 May 2014 » In Finance, Welfare » No Comments

Monthly instalments for Halls fees – 1 May 2014, Union Council (Ref: 1314P10)

This Union Notes:

  1. Currently, University of Southampton Halls Fees are split into termly instalments, paid at the start of each term, throughout the year.
  2. The current instalment dates match the dates that Student Finance releases its termly payments to students.
  3. There are students in Halls who do not receive a maintenance loan from Student Finance.
  4. These students often either work part time and receive a monthly wage, or receive monthly bursaries due to their University course, e.g. Health Science students, meaning their income comes in more slowly.
  5. This can lead to students relying on family members or overdrafts to pay Halls Fees in advance.

This Union Believes:

  1. Those students who don’t receive a loan should be able to pay their Halls Fees in a method which better suits their income.
  2. The University should support students who would benefit from a monthly payment schedule.

This Union Resolves:

  1. To lapse Policy 1112P3 – Halls Fees.
  2. To lobby the University Finance Team to create a payment schedule for students who wish to pay monthly.
  3. When this service is available, to ensure that the University continue to offer the service.
  4. To continue to offer advice to students who have financial issues, and to will refer them to the University Finance Team if they have an issue paying Halls Fees.

This Union Mandates:

  1. The VP Student Communities to lobby the University Finance Team on behalf of SUSU to ensure a monthly payment schedule (Resolves 2).
  2. The Student Communities Zone to ensure the monthly payment schedule continues to be offered in future (Resolves(.

 

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Accommodation for ERASMUS and Exchange Students

» 13 May 2014 » In International, Part-time Students, Sites, Student Residences, Welfare » No Comments

Accommodation for ERASMUS and Exchange Students – 1 May 2014, Union Council (Ref: 1314P11)

This Union Notes:

  1. There are approximately 300 ERASMUS, exchange and visiting students at the University every year.
  2. Each semester a new cohort of students arrive.
  3. Semester 1 has a larger cohort of students than Semester 2.
  4. Most student housing contracts are for 12 months, from 1st July until 30th June.
  5. These contract lengths are unsuitable for students who are only at the University for 3-4 months.
  6. When a student arrives in the UK, they sometimes have to rent a hotel for the first week until they find accommodation.

This Union Believes:

  1. Arriving to study in a new country is a stressful experience, and a lack of suitable student accommodation can exacerbate the stress.
  2. The University of Southampton should guarantee Exchange and ERASMUS students a place in Halls.
  3. There should be Welcome Assistants to welcome these students to Halls in Semester 2.

 

This Union Resolves:

  1. To lapse Policy 0910P6 – Proposal on Halls Accommodation for ERASMUS and Exchange Students.
  2. To lobby the University Halls Management team to create shorter contracts for ERASMUS and Exchange students.
  3. To lobby the University to guarantee students, only in the UK for up to one year of study, a place in Halls.

 

This Union Mandates:

  1. The VP Student Communities to lobby the University Halls Management Team to create shorter contracts for particular students (Resolves 2).
  2. The VP Student Communities to lobby the University to guarantee places for visiting students (Resolves 3).

 

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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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