Students' Union Affairs

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1. Events

Amended 29th April 2008 (381st Meeting Union Council)
Re-adopted 9th June 2011 (403rd Meeting Union Council)
Amended 8th December 2011 (406th Meeting Union Council)
Re-adopted and amended 5th May 2015 (426th Meeting Union Council)
Primary Officer: Activities
Secondary Officer: Sports

Motions: Events

Amended 29th April 2008 (381st Meeting Union Council)
Re-adopted 9th June 2011 (403rd Meeting Union Council)
Amended 8th December 2011 (406th Meeting Union Council)
Presented by: Kiri Madhani

This Union believes that its events (including activities) should be ethical and nondegrading to its members.

This Union believes that its events should be inclusive and not exclude any of its members.

This Union further believes that its events and those of its associated and affiliated student groups should not exclude those who do not wish to consume alcoholic drinks.

This Union further believes that initiation events based around new or existing members performing tasks to gain credibility within the group are degrading and a barrier to participation, for example the consumption of food, alcohol or parading of nudity and should not be organised by student groups.

This Union resolves that none of its events should harm animals.

This Union resolves that none of its events or those of its associated and affiliated student groups should be promoted as ‘slave auction’ events as these are offensive to BME Students.

This Union resolves that whenever alcohol is offered, as a prize or as part of an event, Student Groups must ensure that a non-alcoholic option is also available and offered to recipients.

This Union resolves that Student Groups should not organise events and activities not solely based on the availability of alcohol.

This Union resolves that Student Groups must not encourage members to drink more alcohol than they desire.

This Union resolves that Student groups should promote socially responsible drinking in all of its activities.

This Union resolves that all reasonable efforts should be made to ensure that disabled students are not excluded from events it or its associated and affiliated groups run.

This Union resolves that any event should avoid creating excessive noise in public areas, leave any area in a fit and proper state after use and provide consideration for those not participating in the event but who are in close proximity.

This Union resolves to consider the social and environmental impact of their events and activities (e.g. waste management).

2. Transparency of businesses coming onto campus and right to protest within Portland and anywhere else on campus

25th November 2014.(424th Meeting Union Council)
Responsible officer: President

What is the policy?

  • The Union shall implement a policy of letting all students know which corporations are going to be operating in any way in Portland/around Portland building or other SU delegated spaces and informing them by publishing this information on the SU Website.
  • The Union shall demand Full transparency from the University with regards to letting students know every single company who are coming to careers fairs in advance.
  • Students have the right to protest Within Portland Building; the Student Union shall be firm students have the right to protest within their own Student Union buildings and spaces and not be made to go outside.
  • Students should also have the right to protest anywhere else within their university.

Why?

  • This motion is in response to the events where the company ATOS where allowed to come into Portland and to the careers fair in the Engineering and Science Learning Centre (ESLC).
  • When students discovered ATOS in the middle of Portland Building and began peacefully protesting they were asked to go outside, the Union should be firm that students have a right to protest within their own student union and anywhere else on campus.
  • Upon investigation by students with regards to the Careers Fair in ESLC there was no documentation referring to ATOS coming to the careers fair to be found prior to ATOS being there on the day. There appears to have been a conscious decision at some point to not promote the fact ATOS would be there as they are highly controversial and this is not acceptable.

3. Student Manifesto

5th May 2015. (426th Meeting Union Council)
Responsible Officer: All Officers

What is the idea about?

This policy suggests a method by which our student community can politically organise to make Nottingham a better city to live in for all students. For the Students’ Union, it represents the continuation of a three- year journey towards becoming a more meaningful stakeholder in the local community, and for young people across the country, a model of how they can help shape the priorities of local politicians. It is ambitious, possible, and within our recent traditions, as in 2012, the Community Officer and President led an assembly of 1000 students, longer-term residents and faith groups in securing improvements to our safety through the installation of CCTV cameras in taxis. They were nationally recognised for their efforts by the National Union of Students (NUS).

This journey continued, and its pace intensified, via the mandate of Union Council policy 6.15 (Campaigning around Local, General and European Elections). This ordered that the Students’ Union should “lobby local parties and candidates to adopt policies in line with the policies of the Students’ Union and opinions of students (as determined by consultation)”. In light of this, fifteen Students’ Union volunteers collaborated with New College Nottingham and Nottingham Trent students to conduct hundreds of individual conversations with their classmates and contemporaries. These were then collated into a list of lobbying points that the students involved campaigned on in the run-up to the elections, the Student Manifesto. Its resolves are publically available here.

This policy calls for the Students’ Union to:

  • Campaign on each of the resolves of the Student Manifesto. No specific individuals are preferred, and the lobbyists need not, necessarily, be officers; they simply need to be passionate members of the Students’ Union that seek to develop as leaders.
  • Re-evaluate the priorities of the manifesto in light of student opinion and where the political will on issues changes, or there is no political will or ability to realise a noted priority, for campaigners.
  • For members of the Students’ Union to continue holding the elected politicians to account on the issues that they pledged to work on.

What is it intended to achieve?

This policy is not aiming to proscriptively force the hand of the next three officer teams. Its aims are to:

  • Fulfil the aims, and codify, several Students’ Union policies; 6.6 (Voter Turnout Campaign), 6.9 (To Join Nottingham Citizens), 6.14 (Student Community Involvement) and the aforementioned 6.15 (Campaigning around Local, General and European Elections).
  • Provide another persuasive criterion for local politicians to implement the policies that thousands of students have asked them for in the 2015 election season.
  • Extend the mandate for the actions of the Officer team, if it wishes to engage with the lobbying points of the manifesto.
  • Clarify our organisational stance on the issues involved. Numerous students have asked what the difference is between the result of a survey and the Student Manifesto’s aims. Policy resolves this conflict.
  • Preserve the momentum of a productive year of student community involvement.

4. Changes to Officer accountability

9th February 2016. (428th Meeting Union Council)
Responsible Officer: All Officers

Why the need to change?

  • The role, responsibilities and powers of the Scrutiny panel are very loosely defined, and would benefit from clarification.
  • Scoring is at the discretion of panellists at the start of their term. This lacks consistency between years, and is defined at a time before the panel gain experience of what might be the best way of scoring. Change is needed for consistency and to help panellists by allowing them to contextualise their scores in the context of scores from previous officers.
  • Finding two members of another Students’ Union has sometimes provided problematic. Reducing the number of external people to assist from two to one is needed to reduce the cost to the Student’s Union. Opening the advisory position up to previous officers and panellists is needed to allow the panel to benefit from a wider range of expertise, and come to more accurate scores and conclusions.
  • An instance of Students’ Union staff modifying scores without panellists’ knowledge last year, although eventually corrected handled, leaves cause for concern. A better defined process for scoring is needed to protect the integrity of the scoring system and the panel.
  • Provision for the involvement of the student press is needed to increase wider student engagement with the panel, as well as promoting student media opportunities and makes clearer to the chair the appropriateness of audience involvement, which was previously simply at their discretion.
  • Timings are not defined presently, and defining them is needed to make things clearer for the incoming panel and chair. Giving the panel the power to request extra time will mean that no problem avoids scrutiny simply because of time restraints, which will allow the panel to make better and more informed decisions.
  • The Democratic Procedures Committee and Elections Committee are an important part of the union and are accountable to the Scrutiny panel. Allocating a small amount of extra time highlights their importance and gives the panel much needed time to inquire about their activities.

Specific provisions of them motion

Changes to Scrutiny Panel:

Ratings

  • Panellists are to secretly rate each officer from 1-10, and may use integers or half scores. The total should be averaged to the nearest integer.
  • Ratings are to be as follows:
    • 1-2 Unacceptable
    • 3-4 Poor
    • 5-6 Adequate
    • 7-8 Good
    • 9-10 Exceptional

Scoring

  • Only elected panellists may be present when scoring and averaging the scores and Students’ Union Staff are prohibited from altering any scores.

Assistance

  • One officer of another union, previous officer of Nottingham student union or former scrutiny panel member may be present to assist. They may not be present during scoring.
  • A postgraduate student would be invited to advise the panel.

Student engagement with the Students’ Union

  • One question may be asked from the student press, at the end, for each officer. This is at the discretion of the chair, who is advised to give affiliated Student Run Services (e.g. URN, Impact, etc.) precedence.

Time

  • Each officer shall be questioned for 15 minutes.
  • In the case of an officer who is also the chair of the Democratic Procedures Committee or Elections Committee, this shall be lengthened to 20 minutes.
  • Panellists may request up to an additional 15 minutes.

Chair of Democratic Procedures Committee/Elections Committee

  • The chairs of the Democratic Procedures Committee and Elections Committee are to produce a short report for each scrutiny panel (where activity has occurred since the last panel).
  • The Scrutiny Panel may request them to attend to ask questions, for a maximum of 15 minutes.

What the motion is asking the Students' Union to be mandated to do

  • The motion is being taken to Union Council to gain student backing before this is proposed to Democratic Procedures Committee to review these changes.

5. Condemn Anti-Semitism and commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day

13th December 2016. (430th Meeting Union Council)
Responsible Officer: Community Officer

Anti-Semitism

Why you are proposing the idea

Whilst it is the responsibility of all to stand up to anti-Semitism whenever and wherever it manifests, students’ unions must take the lead in condemning anti-Semitism on campus, investigate any allegations and take serious action against perpetrators.

 

What evidence you have to back up your idea

The past two years have seen some of the highest ever recorded number of anti-Semitic incidents in the UK. In 2014, the Community Security Trust recorded 1,168 incidents against British Jews and 924 in 2015.

This year has seen an increasing number of anti-Semitic incidents taking place on university campuses across the country.

Following the resignation of the Co-Chair of the Oxford University Labour Club, it had become apparent that despicable comments and behaviour had been displayed towards Jewish students and it was clear that anti-Semitism was rife within the club.

Many of the comments included references to the existence of a “New York – Tel Aviv axis” that rigs elections, and said that “we should be aware of the influence wielded over elections by high net-worth Jewish individuals.”

These comments amongst others contain the hallmarks of a widely recognized conspiracy theory that Jewish people “control the world’s media, wealth and power.”

This has been used throughout history as a reason to commit unjustified violence towards Jewish people around the world.

Further to this, earlier this year posters were found on University Park campus with the words “Hitler Was Right.” Similar posters were also found at the University of Birmingham. This incident left Jewish students feeling particularly intimidated at this university.

These examples represent only the tip of the iceberg of a wider problem. When anti-Semitism is left unchallenged, it leaves many Jewish people feeling unwelcome and unsafe.

What the motion is asking the Students' Union to be mandated to do?

University of Nottingham Students’ Union should condemn anti-Semitism and the Officer team will investigate any allegations made by students.

University of Nottingham Students’ Union has an important responsibility to ensure that Jewish students feel safe on campus and are free to fully express their Jewish identities without fear.

Anti-Semitism shall be defined in accordance with the ‘Working Definition of Anti-Semitism’ adopted by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency in 2005: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Who supports your idea/who you have consulted with about it.

  • University of Nottingham Jewish Society
  • Nottingham Labour Students
  • Nottingham University Conservative Association
  • The Stand With Me Campaign

Holocaust Memorial Day

Why you are proposing the idea

The Holocaust was a genocide which killed 6 million Jewish people and 5 million others, including LGBTQ individuals, disabled people, people of Roma descent and political opponents.

Nazi ideology aimed to create racial purity because it was believed that all other races were inferior. People were systematically killed in concentration and death camps across Europe based solely on their religion, ethnicity, politics and behaviour.

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on the 27th January every year. This marks the liberation of Auschwitz- Birkenau, the largest of the Nazi death camps.

Holocaust Memorial Day commemorates the victims of the Nazis as well as those killed subsequently in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

It is a day to not only remember, but to honour the survivors of these hateful regimes and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experience to inform our lives today.

What evidence you have to back up your idea

There has been a massive growth in Holocaust Memorial Day activities – over 5,590 activities took place across the UK for Holocaust Memorial Day in 2016.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust oversees the work of many organisations to ensure the life stories of survivors are shared with hundreds of thousands of people.

With very few survivors remaining, it is important that the memory of the Holocaust does not die with them and now is the time to hear their stories.

What the motion is asking the Students' Union to be mandated to do?

The University of Nottingham Students’ Union should commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day on an annual basis.

The Officer team should encourage and facilitate students to organise events to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day

Who supports your idea/who you have consulted with about it.

  • University of Nottingham Jewish Society
  • Nottingham Labour Students
  • Nottingham University Conservative Association
  • The Stand With Me Campaign

6. Give UoN Students a Voice: Integrate Voter Registration

2nd March 2017. (431st Meeting Union Council)
Responsible Officer: Community Officer

What do you want to change?

We want to see the Students Union lobbying for the integration of Voter Registration of Students into the University Student Enrolment System to simplify voter registration for students both starting university and continuing studies but at a new term time address. This proposal will be led by the SU Communities Officer.

All the Students Union Officers shall sign a letter to the Vice Chancellor calling for a meeting to discuss integration and aim for integration.

The Students Union will ensure that within the integrated system it is made clear that Irish Citizens along with citizens from specific Commonwealth countries, Crown Dependencies, Overseas Territories and former residents of Hong Kong who hold a British Dependent Territories, British Nationals (Overseas) or British Overseas passport qualify for voter registration.

The Students Union will ensure it is made clear within the integrated system that EU Nationals can register to vote but shall only be able to vote in local elections – this may be subject to change upon leaving the EU.

The Students Union will lobby for the University to establish data sharing and processing arrangements in order to register students with the following local authorities to cover students at all our sites: Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire County Council (Broxtowe Borough Council + Rushcliffe Borough Council), Leicestershire County Council (North West Leicestershire District Council)and Derby City Council.

Why?

  • Student participation in democracy and the electoral process is a good thing and should be encouraged.
  • Students register to vote in chronically low numbers; when students do register, they often do not do so at their term-time address.
  • The move to individual voter registration in 2014 meant that many students who were previously registered dropped off the electoral register; an estimated 800,000 people in total were lost from the electoral register following the change.
  • Chronically low turnout among young people has mean that governments have often failed to act in students’ interests, for example by raising tuition fees.
  • Recent elections and referendums have shown a disconnect between the views of students and those of the majority of voters. While students and young people voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU referendum, the national result did not reflect this.
  • Voter registration has been integrated with enrolment at other comparable institutions including the University of Sheffield and University of Birmingham. At Birmingham, where this policy has been introduced, 2040 students had registered to vote during enrolment as of 1 September 2016.

Supported by:

  • Community Officer
  • Amnesty International Society
  • Biology Society
  • International Officer
  • English Society
  • Women’s Officer
  • Heart Soc
  • Left Society
  • Lillian Greenwood MP for Nottingham South
  • LGBT Officer
  • Medieval Society
  • BME Officer
  • Nordic Society
  • Nottingham Debating Union
  • Nottingham University Conservative Association
  • Night Owls
  • Physics Society
  • Out in Education
  • Table Tennis Society
  • Sociology Society
  • STAR (Student Action for Refugees)
  • Stop The Traffik Society
  • Sustainability Society
  • University of Nottingham Classics Society
  • University of Nottingham Labour Society