Bristol SU's position on UCU strike action amongst the motions of November Student Council meeting

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By Alice Clarke, SU Correspondent

Six motions have been proposed for the first Student Council meeting of the year, taking place this evening.

The first student council of the year is being held today, November 23 2021, between 16:00-19:00.

As with last year, the meeting is taking place remotely on Blackboard and will see members discussing and voting on the 6 motions that have been proposed. Any motions that pass will be SU policy for three years and will direct the focus of the SU Officer team.

Ahead of the Student Council meeting any student has the chance to put forward a motion to be voted on at the meetings. All students can attend, watch the debates and see which motions pass. Only course reps, faculty reps, network chairs, JCR presidents, society presidents, volunteering project coordinators or club captains can vote on motions.

Motions passed in previous years include the adoption of a harm reduction approach to drugs and alcohol, supporting the climate strike campaign and the creation of Networks such as the Black Students’ Network.

The following motions are being debated at Student Council on Tuesday:

1.Bristol SU's Response to University Industrial Action

The UCU (University and Colleges Union) strike ballots opened at UK universities following ongoing disputes over unsafe workloads, casualisation and equality failings, and USS pensions and pay.

This motion will set Bristol SU's policy position in response to industrial action. This includes working with UCU and the University and lobbying both Bristol University and parties involved to resolve the disputes and therefore end the current industrial action.

The motion aims to work towards minimising the impact of strike action on the educational experience whilst also supporting staff at the University of Bristol who have not been properly supported.

2. Transparency on the University funded dairy farm and slaughterhouse

The university funds an abattoir (Langford Abattoir) and a dairy farm (Wyndhurst Farm). Both are connected to the Bristol Vet School.

This motion proposes that the SU represents students by working to ensure that the vet school is treating its animals ethically and promoting transparency within the vet school.

3. The University's use of forced swim tests in research

The University has been using forced swim tests in experimenters on small animals as part of attempts to study human depression and develop new antidepressant drugs for human use.

This motion asks for Bristol SU to denounce the use of the forced swim test, pressure the university to stop the experiment and not renew the license to undertake these tests which is set to expire in August 2022.

4. Fossil Free Careers

The university has divested from the fossil fuel industry, however companies from this industry are still able to recruit students through the careers service.

This motion asks for Bristol SU to publicly support the Fossil Free Careers campaign and lobby the university careers department to take a number of actions to stop relationships with oil, gas or mining companies, ultimately adopting a publicly available Ethical Careers Policy.

5. Free sustainable period products for students

Disposable period products in the UK are causing 200,000 tonnes of plastic waste per year and 1.5 billion disposables are flushed down the toilet in the UK every year.

This motion would mandate Bristol SU to explore the viability of purchasing and supplying sustainable period products alongside the university and improve access to these products. This would reduce environmental impact but also accessibility issues surrounding period products.

6. Student representation in selecting new Vice Chancellor

Upon the resignation of Hugh Brady as Vice Chancellor of the University of Bristol, a process of selection has been/will be started to appoint the new Vice Chancellor.

This motion calls on the University to set up a democratic process for students to elect a new Vice Chancellor, creating accountability and an improved relationship between university management and students.

The motion argues that whilst we elect our local politicians and student leaders, there is no reason why students should not be able to elect the person that leads their university.

If you would like to attend the meeting as a non-voting member, please email ubu-council@bristol.ac.uk with your full name and university email address.

Featured image: Patrick Sullivan


What do you think about the motions which have been proposed?

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