Student welfare

STUDENT WELFARE


1 "DRUG SAFETY AND HARM REDUCTION"

Proposed By: Ewan Greenwood

8th November 2018 (435th Union Council)

Protected Until 8th November 2020

Primary Officer: Welfare & Wellbeing Officer

Secondary Officer: Community

Why proposing the idea

  • Drug use is illegal in the UK, that much is clear. But the fact is that despite this, a great number of University of Nottingham students will take drugs during their time here. For some it will be their first time trying and so will know very little about safe use, aside from the advice their friends give them- which is often far from sound.
  • With a publicised provision of both drug safety information and drugs testing kits, the potential for harm will be reduced for those who make the choice to use drugs whilst at the university.
  • Ignoring the issue and only holding a drugs policy that simply calls for punishment for any use leads to harm for those who take drugs despite the rules. Addressing and confronting the reality that many will take drugs regardless will allow for safer use and reduce the chances of the university seeing one of its students become victim to a tragedy.

What is the motion asking the students union to be mandated to?

  • In order to reduce harm that can come to students, whilst acknowledging that drug use is illegal, we also need to acknowledge that it does and perhaps always will happen. We need to provide easily accessible and visible drug safety information (both on SU website and physically in the form of pamphlets) to ensure that if students are going to take drugs, they do so in the safest way possible. We also need to provide web links and contact information which students can access if they feel they are developing a problem. This all comes under the umbrella of education and can be aided by collaborating with the charity ‘The Loop’, which provides drug safety information and harm reduction methods, Uni of Sheffield SU being a prominent example. Sheffield SU promotes local drug addiction charities too to provide confidential support for those who feel they may have a problem.
  • This motion also calls on the union to provide, at request of students, drugs testing kits. Students will have purchased their drugs off of sources with no guarantee of the contents of what they are taking, purely by nature of it being a black market. Drugs either being laced with dangerous substances or being of extremely high potency, are two of the main factors behind harm in drug use. If we could ensure that the likelihood of students taking these types of drugs is minimised, then we will have gone the extra mile to protect them. Ignoring the matter is doing a disservice to students.
  • This motion is asking the union to emphasise that drug use is not in any way condoned by the union. But it is also asking the union not to condone ignoring the potential harms that can come to students who do decide to go through with use. Our duty of care does not stop at the law in this case, it goes as far is necessary under a realist perspective to ensure the safety of students.

What evidence to back it up?

  • The Loop charity- works across the nation at events and festivals, providing information and drugs testing.
  • Increasing number of Student Unions requesting drug testing kits to help ensure the safety of their students. Many universities already offer the service including Manchester, Newcastle and Sussex. In July of this year the home office said that it ‘would not stand in the way’ of drugs testing facilities at clubs and festivals. Considering university campuses and students are known for being a hotbed for drug use it is surely the next logical step.
  • Sheffield student’s union- drugs safety information with The Loop already in place, they wish to increase visibility but this has been limited by a zero-tolerance policy following the death of someone in their SU nightclub. Slowly been moving this policy towards harm reduction, now wish to continue to make the information more visible, and had expressed a desire to allow provision of drugs testing kits.

Who supports your idea/ who have you spoken to about it?

  • All SU Officers (unanimous)
  • Dr Sue Price (University of Nottingham professor and expert in drug policy)
  • Entire UoN Labour Society
  • Untested but suspected widespread support across campus

2 "UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM STUDENTS’ UNION WIDENING PARTICIPATION STRATEGY"

Proposed By: Zoe Mackenzie

8th November 2018 (435th Union Council)

Protected Until 8th November 2020

Primary Officer: Liberation Officer

Secondary Officer: Education

This Union Notes:

  • That there are unique issues relating to Widening Participation students, particularly around attainment, retention and equality of opportunity and experience.
  • That currently UoNSU has no formal mechanisms for supporting Widening Participation students.
  • That the University currently makes provision for Widening Participation Students.
  • That the next UoNSU Strategy does not make any reference to Widening Participation.

This Union Believes:

  • That success at university is not just about academic success but the chance to thrive as both an individual and as part of a community.
  • That the opportunity to have the best and most immersive student experience should not be affected by personal circumstance.
  • Increased access to opportunities during study leads directly to higher employability after study.

This Union Resolves:

  • To conduct research into the experience of Widening Participations students, including BME, Mature, Low progression neighbourhoods, care leavers, and disabled students. In line with other existing policy, this should also seek to include research into the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers. Particular areas of research should focus on course costs, travel, access to sports and societies, as well as more general support.
  • To use this insight and the experiences of relevant students to create a Widening Participation Strategy. The Strategy shall be implemented by a Widening Participation Working Group who shall steer the delivery.
  • The Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer and the Education Officer shall chair the Widening Participation Working Group.
  • To work with and lobby the University of Nottingham to devolve funding to the Students’ Union to develop and deliver support for students in line with the Widening Participation Strategy, in particular in developing a bursary administered by the Students’ Union.
  • To investigate funding models for the sustainable delivery of the Strategy.

3 "FREE SANITARY ITEMS FOR MENSTRUATING STUDENTS"

Proposed By: Ikra Mahmood

28th March 2019 (437th Union Council)

Protected Until 28th March 2021

Primary Officer: Welfare & Wellbeing Officer

Secondary Officer: Women*’s

What is your policy idea? What would you like the Students’ Union to do?

Free sanitary items available for menstruating students ie can collect a box of pads or tampons each month from students union and have their name ticked off a list.

Why is this something you believe the Students’ Union should be working on?

Because period poverty is a real issue amongst students and also having a collection service will mean only students that really need the sanitary items will go to collect so system will not be abused also make sure each student only collects one box per month other than misusing system. NUS has appealed for this and also many other universities have this system in place ie free sanitary items for students.

4 "WELFARE OFFICERS IN SOCIETIES AND STUDENT RUN SERVICES/GROUPS"

Proposed By: Emily Coleman

28th March 2019 (437th Union Council)

Protected Until 28th March 2021

Primary Officer: Activities

Secondary Officer: Welfare & Wellbeing Officer

What do you want to do/ change?

  • Make welfare training compulsory for at least one committee member of all societies and student run groups/ services.
  • Have a committee member responsible for welfare on every committee, even if this is not a specific Welfare Committee member.

Why are you proposing it?

  • To create an additional signposting service for students.
  • To ensure every student belonging to a society or group has someone they know of who they can go to if they want to access information regarding the University’s Welfare services.
  • To equip committee members to be more aware of spotting signs of potentially concerning behaviours and being able to inform these individuals of people they can speak to.
  • Is already compulsory for all sports clubs so should also be a requirement for all other activity groups.

Who have you consulted?

  • Briefly spoken to Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer Zoe MacKenzie.
  • Spoken to a number of societies and identified that it is something which they believe would be a valuable resource and would be on board with this.

5 "REPRODUCTIVE AUTONOMY POLICY"

Proposed By: James Pheasey (President 2019-20) & Cassie Ulrich (Education Officer 2019-20)

10th October 2019 (438th Union Council)

Protected Until 10th October

Primary Officer: Liberation Officer

Secondary Officer: Full Time Officer Team

Union Council notes:

  • Abortion is legal in England and Wales and subsequently Scotland in the circumstances outlined in the Abortion Act 1967.
  • Abortion remains illegal in Northern Ireland, except where deemed necessary to save the life of the mother.
  • As per the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 if the Northern Ireland Executive is not formed by 21 October abortion will be decriminalised in Northern Ireland.
  • Universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights is recognised within the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The NUS have pro-choice policy: NUS Motion 506: NUS supporting the Abortion Rights Campaign for free, safe and legal abortion in Ireland and Northern Ireland [April 2017].
  • The Union’s Charitable Objects include promoting the welfare of students at the University of Nottingham.
  • The Union has two live policies pertaining specifically to the struggle for reproductive autonomy in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland: Support Repeal the 8th and Support Abortion Law Reform in Northern Ireland.

Union Council believes:

  • Abortion is an issue of reproductive-autonomy and bodily-autonomy for pregnant people and people who may become pregnant.
  • The propagation of misinformation regarding abortion can impede a person’s access to safe abortion and be distressing for pregnant people and people who may become pregnant.
  • Lack of access to safe abortion can be damaging for our members’ engagement in their education.
  • Distress and harm to a students’ wellbeing negatively affects their educational experience.

Union Council resolves:

  • University of Nottingham Students’ Union shall be a pro-choice institution.
  • The Union shall stand in solidarity with pregnant people and people who may become pregnant in the global struggle for safe and accessible abortion.
  • The Union shall support our members who choose to carry their pregnancy to term.
  • The Union shall support our members’ right to safe and accessible abortion.
  • The Union shall support our members to access safe abortion when requested.
  • The Equal Opportunities & Welfare Officer shall work with the Women*’s Officer and ESJ Officer and their respective Networks to run a pro-choice campaign promoting access to and providing information about safe and accessible abortion.
  • Any materials or messaging distributed at any event or in any forum related to the Union or by any group affiliated to the Union which make ‘scientific’ or ‘statistical’ claims about abortion must be academically referenced. These materials may be checked by the Union and removed if inaccurate.
6 "GENDER-NEUTRAL TOILETS"

Proposed By: Sam Hawkins (Liberation Officer 20-21)

19th November 2020 (441st Union Council)

Protected Until 19th November 2022

Primary Officer: LGBT+ Officer

Secondary Officer: Liberation Officer

Union Council notes:

  • The Union has had a gender-neutral toilets Union Policy for the past six years.
  • Gender-neutral toilets are for everyone but are inclusive and accessible for Transgender people and Gender non-conforming people.
  • The LGBTQ Staff Network has indicated its support with this campaign
  • Gender-neutral toilets are already in existence across our campuses.
  • A map of all gender-neutral toilets has been created by the SU, awaiting approval from the university’s Estates department to publish on SU channels.
  • A recent review of existing gender-neutral toilets highlighted a lack of gender-neutral toilets in student halls, and academic buildings and departments.
  • The submission of this policy follows similar work already happening in our Students’ Union. For example, the implementation of the Gender-Inclusive Language Union Policy at Union Council 1 (2019) and a digital inclusion alongside the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for EDI to lobby university IT staff to ensure university systems are inclusive.

Union Council believes:

  • While accessible toilets have been installed across many buildings on all campuses; these should be reserved solely for disabled people. As well as this, accessible toilets should not be reconverted as gender-neutral toilets.
  • When there are more than two gendered toilet facilities on one floor of a building, the rest do not have to be gendered.

Union Council resolves:

  • Lobby the university for formal agreement to provide and maintain at least one gender-neutral toilet on every floor where there is a gendered toilet facility, in all buildings on all campuses and learning sites.
  • To continue to enforce the agreement with the university’s Estates department that gender-neutral toilets are created in all new university buildings
  • To continue to lobby the university to create gender-neutral toilets alongside all new refurbishments on all campuses.
  • To lobby relevant university committees to consider this policy and the importance of it.
7 "ACCESSIBLE STUDENTS’ UNION"

Proposed By: Denis Lelin (Activities Officer 20-21)

19th November 2020 (441st Union Council)

Protected Until 19th November 2022

Primary Officer: Activities Officer

Secondary Officer: Disabled Students’ Officer

Union Council notes:

  • Equity and Empowerment are two of the core values of the Union.
  • Currently, there are no ways for students with accessibility needs to see whether events are accessible for them or not.
  • Our brand and promotional materials do not always meet accessibility standards.
  • Our student groups do not have the necessary knowledge and tools to ensure their activities being as accessible as possible.

Union Council believes:

  • We need to embed our value of equity by putting the necessary measures in place for our students with accessibility needs to be able to partake in all SU activities.
  • We need to empower our student groups to be accessible in their activities by providing them with the necessary toolkit.
  • We have to be transparent about the accessibility of our events.
  • We should only collaborate with stakeholders who share our passion for accessibility.

Union Council resolves:

  • Ensure that all our promotional materials and our brand guidelines are accessible to people with colour-blindness and/or dyslexia.
  • Ensure the provision of close captions and transcripts for any video materials.
  • Ensure that all our digital materials have image descriptions.
  • Provide an accessibility statement for SU central events and embed an Accessibility Statement Generator into our website for student groups to use.
  • Rework our relationships with clubs to ensure that the SU Official Student Nights do not use strobe lights.
  • Provide training for student groups on accessible communication and accessible events planning.
  • When collaborating with external partners on any events or promotion, we must ensure they are willing to adhere to this policy with regards to the relevant event.

Who have I consulted:

  • Based upon my manifesto with which I was elected.
  • Talked through it and got support of the Disabled Students’ Officer and Liberation Officer.
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