Education

1. To mandate the Officers to oppose working with Prevent and the government's counter- radicalisation strategy

9th February 2016. (428th Meeting, Students Union Council)
Renewed and edited 29th January 2019
Protected until 29th January 2021
Primary Officer: All Officers

What:

  • To mandate the officers of this union to not support the implementation of the PREVENT strategy (or any of the proposals of the Act to which they are not legally bound) in any university meetings they attend. They are also mandated to boycott it as far as legally possible.
  • To release a statement expressing our opposition to PREVENT and the CTS Act for being racist and a threat to academic freedom and civil liberties.
  • To work with campus trade unions including UCU on combating the PREVENT strategy and its implementation on campus.
  • To educate students on the dangers of the CTS Act and the PREVENT strategy.
  • To lobby the university to be more open and transparent about how they are engaging with PREVENT and other similar initiatives involving:
    • Demanding publications of how the policy is operating within the university and Students' Union.
    • This includes access to materials used to train staff and students.
    • Holding consultations with the student body regarding how this affects students.
  • To lobby the college/university to publicly condemn PREVENT and the CTS Act and to call for its repeal.

Why:

PREVENT was introduced in 2006 as a ‘counter-extremism’ strategy.

  • With the Counter-terrorism and Security Act 2015, implementing PREVENT became a statutory obligation on ‘specified authorities’ including universities (known as the ‘Prevent duty’).
  • The Prevent duty places a duty on universities to ‘prevent people being...drawn into terrorism’ and outlines a number of measures that institutions are expected to undertake to ensure this, including alterations to speaker policies, risk assessments and so on.
  • PREVENT has long been criticised for essentially institutionalising Islamophobia and racism - the government literature on PREVENT overwhelmingly and disproportionately focuses on Muslim communities as being at risk of ‘extremism.
  • In practice it has followed from this that Muslims are overwhelmingly targetted for referrals and investigation through PREVENT - between April 2012 and March 2014 over 80% of referrals for whom their religion was known were Muslim.
  • PREVENT has been labelled a ‘toxic brand’ and a failed policy; there is little to no empirical evidence supporting its fundamental proposals, and 4 in 5 referrals through PREVENT are dismissed as unworthy of further assessment. Thus all PREVENT achieves is in fomenting a climate of fear, suspicion and censorship.
  • PREVENT and the Counter-terrorism and Security Act have been condemned by a number of national unions including the NUS and UCU, as well as Liberty and Defend the Right to Protest, on the grounds that it will stifle the right to challenge and critique government policy, whip up further Islamophobia, and have a ‘chilling effect’ on freedom of speech.
  • PREVENT has legitimised mass state surveillance of Muslim communities in Britain, and this has begun to extend further outwards now - non-criminal, non-violent forms of dissent are being designated ‘extremist’ and in need of intervention through counter-terrorism measures.
  • It is important to note that whilst PREVENT disproportionately affects Muslims currently, the ultimate goal of PREVENT is to quell all forms of political dissent. This includes participation in peaceful protests, and trade union activity.
  • This has grave implications for many of our members, especially politically active and/or Muslim students at Nottingham.

Evidence:

  • Preventing PREVENT Handbook. Who supports your idea/who have you consulted with about it
  • There is large consensus amongst Muslims/people of colour around the country that this is a system of racial profiling and stigmatizes these groups rather than addressing any issues.
  • Students of colour and Muslim students in Nottingham have expressed concern and there have been discussions between them and the university.
  • An event held in November on islamophobia widely accepted the discussion on how Prevent is a form of silencing dissent.
  • In December 2018, the Stansted 15 were charged with life in prison under the Aviation and Maritime Security Act 1990 (a counter terrorism law), for disrupting the departure of a charter flight holding passengers that were to be illegally deported. Amnesty International have stated that this disproportionate sentence ‘may have been brought to discourage other activists from taking non-violent direct action in defence of human rights’.

2. 24 Hours Between Exams and Assessment

8th November 2018. (435th Meeting, Students Union Council)
Protected until 8th November 2020.
Primary Officer: Education Officer
Secondary Officer: Postgraduate Officer

This Union Notes:

  • Some students at the University of Nottingham are forced to complete more than one piece of assessment in a period of 24 hours

This Union Believes:

  • The intensity of exam and assessment periods contribute to poor mental health
  • There is higher demand on support services during exam season because of assessment related stress
  • The University of Nottingham has a responsibility to ensure all students have conditions to complete assessment that are conducive to their optimal performance

This Union Resolves:

  • The Education Officer must lobby the University to introduce a 24 hour gap between exams and assessment
  • This should be written into the University Quality Manual to ensure consistent standards are met

3. No Hidden Course Costs

8th November 2018. (435th Meeting, Students Union Council)
Protected until 8th November 2020.
Primary Officer: Education Officer
Secondary Officer: Postgraduate Officer

This Union Notes:

  • Tuition fees are at £9,250 for home students and higher for international students.
  • Some students at the University of Nottingham face additional costs to compelte their course while at the University of Nottingham.
  • The types of course costs students face are wide ranging and include, but are not limited to: travel costs, parking, printing, equipment, field trips and books.
  • Course costs should not be hidden, and students should be made aware of additional costs they might face on their course as defined by the competition and marketing authority.
  • In the January 2017 Equal Opps and Welfare Officer Support Report, 30% of students experienced concerns around their finances.

This Union Believes:

  • Worry about finances and debt can have a negative impact on students’ mental health.
  • Additional course costs are a barrier for students from a low-income background to engage in their education.

This Union Resolves:

  • To campaign against hidden course costs and lobby the University to be open about the costs students may incur before coming to University.
  • To campaign against additional course costs and lobby the University to reduce, and aim to remove additional costs for students not covered by their tuition.
Can't find what you're looking for?

Get in touch with us if you think there is something missing, or if you have a question you can't find the answer to.