Motion for SU to install Full-Time Welfare Officer to be put to the Student Council



Students are being encouraged to attend the Student Council meeting on June 5th to support a motion for the installation of a Full-Time Welfare Officer at Bristol SU.

According to the students behind the motion, a Welfare Officer 'will specifically have students’ wellbeing and safety as its primary focus.' This will encompass mental, physical and sexual health, as well as safety and security.

The motion has been put forward by Sally Patterson, Chair of the Women's Network and incoming ELA Officer, Abbie Jessop, Chair of the Wellbeing Network, Hester Careless, incoming Chair of the Wellbeing Network, and Vanessa Wilson, incoming Student Living Officer.

Speaking to Epigram, they said: 'Students at the University of Bristol are not being adequately supported on a whole range of levels. As students, we believe that so much more can be done to safeguard us as students within our university community. '

The group also told Epigram that the support system at Bristol is 'inefficient' as support services have become 'increasingly fragmented and dispersed'. This, they argue, has led to 'widespread confusion for students seeking more support'.

Currently Bristol SU does not have a full-time officer dedicated to mental health, but each of the six officers have student wellbeing as one of their focuses.

Those behind the motion, however, worry that 'the current model does not adequately support students’ physical and sexual health, safety and security, community building, or provide a comprehensive link with the University on all these issues.' They hope that this new role will 'unify the wellbeing aims of the Students' Union'.

The call for a Welfare Officer comes in advance of the 'March for Better Mental Health Services', which will demand an increase in the support available for struggling students.

The Student Council meeting will take place on June 5th at 4PM, in the Carpenter Room at the SU's Richmond Building. This is an opportunity for students to decide official SU policy on big issues, which will last for three years. Students are also being enticed to attend through the promise of free pizza and prosecco.

Students have until Monday 21st May to put motions to the Student Council. Other motions being put forward include one co-signed by Epigram and The Tab Bristol for Bristol SU to support an increase in the Univerity's Freedom of Information (FOI) budget.

Earlier this year, Bristol University failed to respond to a number of FOI requests within the 20 working day timeframe specified by the law. There is currently one member of staff on the University's FOI team, whereas there are eight in the Press Office; the motion will encourage the University to consider hiring an additional member of staff, either full-time or part-time, to ensure that FOI requests are responded to in time, enabling Bristol students and staff to access information about the institution.

(Featured Image: Sally Patterson)

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Ed Southgate

former co-Editor in Chief 2018-2019 | former Editor of Epigram Comment 2017-2018 | UoB English student 2016-19 | Twitter: @ed_southgate