The first Union Council meeting for the 2018/2019 Academic Year held on Thursday, 8th November 2018. Council hit the ground running, engaging in insightful conversations and making several important decisions on issues that affect students’ wellbeing.
Here are some highlights from the meeting:
Peoples’ Vote and Brexit Policy
Oliver Powell (PG student from the Music Department) proposed a question to go to the Autumn Referenda - “Should the Students’ Union publicly support the people's vote on the final deal of the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union?”. Before voting, Council engaged in extensive discussions on the financial implication of Brexit for both EU Students at Sussex and home students hoping to participate in Erasmus programmes. Also, Councillors observed that many students did not get the right to vote for/against Brexit as a result of age restrictions and this policy would present an opportunity to have their voices heard.
With 87% voting “Yes”, Council approved this policy question to go to referenda!
Sexual Violence Policy
Discussing this policy submitted by May Gabriel (Welfare Officer), Council members highlighted the importance of having a zero tolerance policy on sexual violence to ensure that the University remains the safe space that it should be. On the issue of funding consent classes, Councillors noted that it may be worth collaborating with other charities who already deliver such classes. They also noted that the policy would be a great starting point if approved but would require other specific actions within the Students’ Union and the University at large to actively prevent sexual violence.
Council also approved this policy to go to referenda with 91% voting “Yes”!
International Students and FGS Representatives to become Part-Time Officers
This paper proposed that both International Students’ and First Generation Scholar Representatives become Part-Time Officers based on the size of the student groups that they represent and in response to student demand. Chair of Council, Filip Vasilijevic explained that a decision had been made to have Council vote differently on both roles as a result of varying interests.
International Student Part-Time Officer: Several Councillors suggested having more time before this question is taken to referenda, in order to create a working group from Council that will do more research and ensure that an informed decision is made. They also noted that the role of International Students’ Representative should be given adequate consideration for conversion to a Full-Time Officer role before sending it to referenda.
96% of Councillors voted “No” in response to the question ‘Should the paper asking for the International Students’ Representative to become a Part-Time Officer go to referenda?’.
FGS Part-Time Officer: Councillors also felt that it would be useful to hear the views of First Generation Scholars on whether or not a Part-Time Officer role would be helpful in representing their interests. It was also suggested that a working group be formed to look into this issue before taking the question to referenda.
With 87% voting “No” Council decided not to take the question to referenda.
It was an exciting first Council of the academic year and next Council should be even more exciting! All students are welcome to attend.
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