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Policies on National Issues

Current Policies

Title Decision at Background Policy Status Review Progress
Opposition to Trident Referendum, February 2016 

The UK currently has four Trident submarines which will begin to end their working lives some time in the late 2020s. If they are to be replaced this would need to be agreed soon to develop the new submarines in time.

The British government intends to replace Trident, its current nuclear weapons system. Estimates for the cost of a replacement over its 30 year lifespan are in excess of £100 billion. The recent economic crisis has prompted massive cuts to public spending, with tuition fees lifted to £9000 and 1 in 10 libraries closing. Meanwhile, the number of people using food banks has tripled over the past year alone.

Public opinion remains consistently against the replacement of Britain's nuclear weapons, while senior military figures say that it is 'completely useless' in modern warfare. A single Trident missile is capable of delivering a payload of 100 megatons, in excess of 5 times more powerful than the bomb that killed at least 100,000 at Hiroshima. The UK is a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT); replacing the Trident system would be in direct contravention of the obligations established under it.  

You can read the BBC’s guide to Trident and the debates around its replacement here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13442735

At a time of widespread economic hardship, government spending should not prioritise a weapon of mass destruction that we cannot afford. The money intended to be spent on Trident could be put to better use, for safeguarding our NHS, reducing tuition fees, or funding the construction of new, affordable homes.  

The use of nuclear weapons in any circumstance would be fundamentally wrong, since their only capability is indiscriminate killing of a civilian population and instilling terror. The UK should fulfil its obligations as a signatory to the NPT.

Policy aim: To demonstrate that Sussex Students Union opposes Trident, the UK’s nuclear weapons system.

- Sussex Students Union will take a stand with other public institutions and officially express its opposition of Trident through this policy. 

- The Students’ Union will support students on campus taking action against nuclear weapons. 

- Through this policy, the Union will raise awareness to the student body about this terrifying issue. 

This is current Union policy (referendum, February 2016) Spring 2019  
Policy against the government's Prevent Policy Referendum, Spring 2018

Background:

On September 19th 2015, the Prevent duty came into force for publicly funded higher and further education institutions, as part of the new Counter Terrorism and Security Act. These organisations will now be expected to undertake risk assessments which consider ‘where and how their students might be at risk of being drawn into terrorism’. The duty puts a legal obligation on these bodies to monitor and report on students who may be at risk of ‘violent or non-violent extremism’.

Prevent has been around for a long time, but this new law now makes it mandatory. It recommends monitoring students who appear ‘withdrawn’ or seeking ‘political change’ (this could be anyone going through a tough time - or with an opinion). With the focus on preventing what the government terms ‘Islamic extremism’, the prospect of racial profiling and state-sponsored Islamophobia is all the worse: Black and Muslim students are bearing the brunt of a reactionary, racist agenda, while freedom of speech across the board is curtailed.

To give some context, some recent examples of Prevent Officers’ involvement on campuses has seen:

  • A living wage campaigner monitored by police for his activism (via VICE)

  • 3 women students at New Vic College suspended for raising concerns (via 5PillarsUK)

  • A schoolboy questioned by police for circulating political literature (via Al Jazeera)

  • A conference on Islamophobia stopped from taking place (via Morning Star)

Policy aims

The Students' Union Executive oppose Prevent and strongly believe in fostering a learning environment which allows all students to organise politically, free from harassment

Policy objectives

  • The Students Union will not comply with Prevent and will actively campaign against this agenda that encourages discrimination and limits free speech and expression on campus.

  • The union will support and advocate students negatively affected by the Prevent agenda.

  • The union will support the NUS lead on the Students not Suspects campaign.

  • The Students’ Union officers will express opposition to the Prevent policy and concern with its implementation whenever it is raised at university meetings, and act to ensure the university are adhering to minimal compliance with Prevent.

This is current Union Policy (Referendum, Spring 2018) Spring 2021  
Peoples Vote and Brexit Referendum - Autumn 2018 Young people were denied a voice in the referendum when the call to give 16 year olds the ability to vote was ignored, and now they will have to endure the consequences for decades to come, if Brexit becomes detrimental to them. Young people have become more and more apathetic to politics, and therefore, organisations like the Students Union, who have politically active students, must strive to represent them. The EU provides students with great opportunities to study abroad through the Erasmus programme, giving them the ability to get the most out of their education. This opportunity will be taken away from many students if access to the programme is lost, and travel being off put by new complicated processes of VISA applications, if freedom of movement within the EU is lost. Apart from UK students, the impact of Brexit and changing immigration rules could negatively impact EU and international students as well, as a future deal with no freedom of movement could create new challenges when it comes to applying for Visas and funding. It is likely fees for EU students may increase after the transition period. Even various research departments could lose EU funding without a deal. Health and safety regulations could be lost; endangering people, food, building and the environment, if not adequately replaced. This isn’t about leaving or remaining, or any sort of political agenda. This is about democracy and allowing people to have choice on a decision that will affect them for generations to come. This cannot be decided by a small number of people, which the student population of University of Sussex alone, outnumbers multiple times.

Policy aims: The University of Sussex Students’ Union should publicly support the people’s vote on the final deal of the UK’s departure from the EU because of the impact it will have on EU, non EU and home students as students.

 

Policy Objectives:

If supported, the policy will mandate the Students’ Union to:

  • To have a policy that shows the Students’ Union publicly supports a new vote on the final deal of Brexit.

  • To present information to Students’ Union members; in the form of print, articles, letters and meetings, on why the Students’ Union supports a new vote.

  • To consult and encourage all students, specifically those who were unable to vote in the 2016 referendum to raise their own concerns over Brexit and how it directly impacts them, and why they should be granted a new vote on the future arrangements with the EU.

This is current Union Policy (Referendum, Autumn 2018) Autumn 2021