Name of Committee Union Senate
Date and time 29th November 2023, 11:00
Place SUSU Boardroom
Present Members
Chair of Senate Yasmine Gendy
Senator Joshie Christian
Senator Ash
Senator Fionn Allen
Senator James Baines
Senator Lamar Dixon
Senator Wilson Wijaya
Union President Ed Brooker
Vice President Activities Amy Moir
Vice President Education and Democracy Rebecca Would
Vice President Sports Marina Stasi
Senator Marine
Senator Andrew Littlejohn
Absent without Apologies Senator Terence Wong
Senator Klevis Filaj
Senator Dee
Senator Jake Aurora
1. Welcome and Introductions
  • Chair asked everyone to introduce themselves.
2. Minutes of previous meeting
  • Minutes were approved.
3. Conflicts of interest
  • No significant conflicts confirmed.
Papers and Reports
4. Sabbatical Plans

Union President

  • Introduced his remit, key priorities were based on direct feedback from students prior to running – main one was housing.
  • Area 1, Goal 1: Met with problem lettings agent, working on guide for housing, working to address tenancy gap (many students’ tenancies end in June but don’t begin until September, nowhere to store belongings over summer), but this is a complicated issue.
    • Question re. housing – what were complaints re. problem lettings agency? Unrealistic deposit return criteria (e.g. money being deducted due to a single hair left on a desk).
    • What about existing housing guides published by advice centre? New document will cover everything in one place.
    • Action: EB to provide list of ‘student-friendly’ lettings agencies that SUSU is working with.
  • Area 1, Goal 2: Student Safety
    • Question: What are criteria for safety charter and where will this be published? Ensuring bags checked on entry, staff training re. drink safe, travel routes, etc.
    • What are benefits to venues? Free publicity, venue is certified as somewhere students can feel safe.
    • Action: EB to ensure list of venues signed up to charter is available prior to next senate meeting.
  • Area 1, Goal 3: Working to improve MySouthampton app in terms of accessibility and functionality, changes have been made over summer but more work to do.
    • What are issues with it? These include frequent auto-logouts, interface is dated and not user friendly.
    • How can we improve? Working with Head of Student Comms to improve interface.
    • How big is the iSolutions backlog and what is causing delays? Can’t put a number or guarantee progress but is prompting frequently to keep demand in focus.
  • Area 1, Goal 4: Cost of Living – Attended summit with Solent SU to discuss issues students are facing.
    • Question re. student pantry, EB confirmed this is still available.
  • Area 2, Goal 1: Strategic Major Projects, including Student Global Online Programmes
    • Question re. actions from SMP meetings. EB sits on these meetings to give students’ perspectives; therefore actions are generally to undertake more consultations with students.
    • Question re. whether EB can delegate SMP Board roles to other Sabbattical Officers? This is spread across multiple Sabb roles already.
  • Area 2, Goal 2: Social Enterprise
    • Question re. venues – What are main causes of closure of Bridge kitchen? Currently staffing issues are preventing re-opening.
  • Plan was voted on and approved (10 in favour; 1 abstention).


VP Sports

  • Introduced herself, offered apologies for attending virtually on this occasion.
  • Area 1, Goal 1: Group chats set up as emails were too formal and time consuming, brainstormed ideas with Sports Co-Ordinators.
    • Question re. choice of MS Teams as a platform: Used Teams to ensure GDPR compliance and to provide a centralised platform that all students could access.
  • Area 1, Goal 3: Open Sports Forum
    • Question re. forum’s purpose - aim of this is to create platform to bring forward issues that will affect many clubs, they can raise questions and challenge stakeholders.
  • Area 2, Goal 3: Jubilee extension has chosen accessible equipment provider, VP Sports has been on site to see the work and ensure this is done in a way that promotes accessibility. Meeting with Southampton Sport following the successful petition and all student vote regarding the Sports Pass.
  • Area 3, Goal 1: Wide Lane Bar – this was seen as very important to the sports club community, working with University and Union President to look at options for this.
    • Question re. costs involved of re-opening. Not owned by SUSU, University will need to fund. Bottle service only to begin with as beer pumps have been removed. Not seeking to make profit, offering service to students.
  • Area 3, Goal 2: Supporting clubs in acquiring sponsorships to reduce dependence on grant round funding.
    • Question re. funding totals, grant round fund was £230,000. £330,000 was requested from 69 clubs.
  • Area 3, Goal 3:
    • Action: MS to investigate possibility of sports clubs collaborating with Southampton City’s Council Be Active initiative team.
  • Plan was voted on and approved (10 in favour; 1 abstention).


VP Activities

  • Area 1, Goal 1: More screens secured in SUSU shop and other areas
  • Area 1, Goal 2: Instagram account up and running, positive feedback received
  • Area 1, Goal 4: This is a long term project, doing lots of research on how other SUs do this, will update at next senate
    • Question re. accreditation – will senators be involved in consultations as many are society members already? Yes, will be doing more involved consultations at next stage of project.
    • Question re. EDI focus – is there guidance available for societies to make their events more inclusive/accessible? Are incentives the best way to ensure this? Use of EDI criteria for accreditation a way to highlight to students what societies can do/are doing to be inclusive and to encourage other societies to do more.
  • Area 1, Goal 5: Grant rounds support – this has shown to be helpful, more productive to explain process in person than in writing.
    • Question: How is grant round funding considering cost of living? Process hasn’t changed – based on how clear and costed their application is, not necessarily how much money societies have/don’t have.
  • Area 1, Goal 6: Aim is to increase collaboration between societies
    • What are some examples of services societies can provide? Examples include photography/musical performances at other societies’ events, fundraising support.
    • Question re. scope to improve SU website – aware of issues with website, work to resolve is currently on pause.
      • Question re. backlog – should work on website be prioritised more highly? AM keen to resolve this.
    • Area 2, Goal 1: Difficulties around period products in bathrooms has mostly centred around sustainability, VP Activities is talking to other SUs and working with Head of Sustainability to ensure this is covered in future proposal
    • Area 2, Goal 2: Gender Recognition Fund – less developed than period products, more student consultation needed on this
    • Plan was voted on and approved (8 in favour; 3 abstentions).


VP Ed Dem

  • Introduced her plan and acknowledged limited time remaining in meeting – offered to answer any additional questions via email.
  • Area 1, Goal 1: Workload & Assessments review
    • Question re. work to mitigate overassessment – SUSU Advice Centre and UoS Student Hub offer support to students who are struggling, Academic Reps have been good at advocating for students with too many/unhelpfully scheduled deadlines
    • Action: RW to present case study outcomes of mitigating over-assessment.
  • Area 2, Goal 1: Work to increase rep visibility has begun, early efforts have seen positive response, more planned for the year ahead.
    • Question re. ‘Your Voice’ section of SUSU Website – can this be made more user friendly? Website was updated over summer but more work could be done on this section.
    • Question re. Rep Structure and whether this can be updated. Work ongoing within Representation team to update this in response to changes made to course structures within different areas of the university.
  • Area 2, Goal 3: Academic rep development opportunities – being devised jointly with VP Activities.
    • Question re. how to ensure participation & engagement from reps – key is effectively communicating these opportunities to students, and collecting feedback following sessions to improve them as they are rolled out.
  • Other: Gave extra context and actions resulting from attendance at Blackboard Ultra, SSLC Review, Hartley Library, and MyEngagement project. Offered to engage students in further consultation should they so wish.
  • Plan was voted on and approved (10 in favour; 1 abstention).
5. Sabbatical Reports

See item 4.

6. AOB
  • Question re. SUSU’s position on conflict in Middle East. EB acknowledged difficulty of issue and that Sabbs have been approached by students with varying perspectives in recent weeks. EB confirmed that SUSU is offering support to anyone who has been affected, and that students with concerns about this issue should approach him directly.
  • Action: All Sabbatical Officers will work with SUSU staff on SUSU’s messaging and support for students affected, and on ways to ensure students feel safe and protected from discrimination on campus.

Key: P (Papers Provided), PF (Papers to Follow)