Union Senate (15th June 2020)


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Name of Committee Union Senate
Date and time 15th June 2020, 12:00
Place MS Teams
Present Members
Chair of Senate Adrian Li
Senator Corin Holloway
Senator Sadie Belsey
Senator Luke Woolley
Senator Ali Treanor
Senator Catrina Bowen
Senator Wei Cheong
Senator Alexander Beyene
Senator Anna Stausberg
Absent with Apologies Senator Katy Davies
Absent without Apologies Senator Hugh Warden
Senator Pascal Ezeabasili
Senator Ria Dunn
Senator Matas Gelzinis
Senator Chukwuamaka Anyanwu
1. Welcome and apologies

The Chair of Union Senate, Adrian Li, welcomed all those present for the final senate meeting of the academic year.

Apologies had been received in advance for all those missing on the day.

2. Microsoft Teams etiquette

Adrian ran through Teams etiquette for the meeting and confirmed that the meeting was being recorded for wider viewing afterwards. 

3. Minutes of the previous meeting and matters arising

After confirming that the minutes had been received and understood, they were then approved unanimously without amendments.

Jo updated on her action from the last meeting. A clothing report for volunteers. Hoodies will be kept for Sabbatical officers and student leaders, however new t shirts will not be purchased for course reps and a cheaper alternative will be sourced going forwards.

4. Sabbatical Officer Reports

Adrian confirmed that all 5 reports were received on time.  The reports had been made available for just under a week now on the website so they would be taken as read.

Before commencing the questions, Adrian noted that the Sabbatical officers work has been impacted with varying degrees by Covid19 and asked senators to take this into account when raising questions as some projects have not been possible to finish. 

Adrian opened questions for each of the sabbatical reports in turn:

Olivia Reed, VP Sport

No questions.

Laura Barr, VP Welfare & Communities

Q. Regarding mental health, as this is a stressful time for students, what has SUSU been working on? Lots of students appreciate the social media posts, but we want to see adequately funded professional and mental health support, has Enabling services received extra budget or staff or resources?

A. The way that Enabling services works is that they have a core team who work throughout the year, with the addition of a locum who can work when demand is high at certain times of the year.  Following feedback from SUSU they are also looking at the NHS Big White Wall and how they can bring that in, which means you can specify the councillor you want based on your needs.  Emily also added that Enabling is a University service not a SUSU service so we don’t have direct contact of their budgets but can lobby them.  Laura also clarified that SUSU do not provide emotional support, however the Advice Centre is there for practical support which will also help with people mental heath.

Jo also noted that she has been working with the university to ensure that the PAT system is the best it can be, and that there is clear signposting to services. There is also talk of investing in a module on basic mental health to make sure there is a base line knowledge.  Laura also added that this project is part of the Mental Health Steering Group which is now a charter at the University with various project streams coming from this.   

Q. From what has been seen on Crushampton and talking to students it's fair to say a lot of students are struggling with money, some people are paying rent for accommodation they are not living in. Can you clear up the Hardship Fund which the university offers as the period is coming to an end on the 19th June? Full time students cannot receive universal credit, so where should they be signposted to? 

A. Emily clarified that the Hardship Fund has been renamed the Student Support Fund which provides financial assistance generally.  In response to Covid-19 the university has set up the Online Learning Grant Fund, which has now closed, which helped set up students to study online, eg money for laptops. Emily has asked if this will be brought back next year for new students. This is looking likely. Also through the Office for Development for Alumni Relations they have set up the Corona Virus Response Fund which Alumni have donated to, the money is being split various ways, getting PPE for staff and students on the front line, research into testing and vaccines, some has gone into the Student Support Fund and the Online Learning Grant Fund.

Laura added that SUSU from the outset had been involved with the discussions at the University about funding and how the university can support students, including students in potentially abusive environments.  Laura also clarified that the Advice Centre is also still open for specific individual advice around finance.

Laura also confirmed that the Student Support Fund closed on the 12th June, but that doesn’t mean you are not able to access any funding, if you are in an emergency you are still able to access.

Emily encouraged anyone who is struggling with finance to still contact the Student Support Fund as they will be able to advice on any support that might be available. 

Q. To clarify, it sounds like the Student Support Fund has closed unless for emergency funding and the online support is closed, what about rent? Students who have moved back home but still paying rent and cannot pay rent at home to help support parents.

A. Laura confirmed that rent troubles are part of the Student Support Fund. You just need to show proof that you are in hardship, which would just be a bank statement.  Laura has also been in conversation with the university on how to support upcoming graduates, there is the potential of space available in halls, or how to help with rent, or careers advice. 

Q. Is there any specific therapeutic support for Black students affected by George Floyd's murder?

A. No, not specifically for George Floyd’s murder, however there is support for Black or BAME students who have mental health difficulties, although Laura notes that there is a massive gap in Enabling Services as there are no core councilors who are BAME or specialise in BAME areas but there are the locums, and hopefully the partnership with NHS Big White Wall, may fill this gap making sure students receive support that is specific to them.  SUSU cannot really give therapeutic support, however this is a wider issue and SUSU is trying to fill that gap but it does take time and funding. 

Q. Is there any news of study areas or library opening soon? As some PG students are struggling to complete their coursework and research from their rented rooms. Most of them are international.

A. Jo has been in conversation with the library, as the current government guidance is 2m this would mean the capacity of the library would be severely reduced.  However due to a relaxation of copywrite laws they are able to put more text books online, limiting the disadvantages for students not based in the UK, so the library is seeking further funding to put this in place as soon as possible. This is going forward into next year as well so there are more Ebooks available for students online.  The library is also looking at implanting a click and collect service and hope to open in the summer as soon as they are able.

Q. Can you talk about private rented accommodation? 

A. Laura ran through the normal business as usual outside of Covid19, making sure students don’t rush to rent, checking housing contracts.  However when Covid19 hit, Laura worked with SASSH, Solent University housing team and Solent Students Union, to draft a letter for the SASSH registered landlords asking them to  exercise compassion with students, provide details of government advice, funding and support they can get, and asking for no penalty early release for students. 

In terms in PBSA, Laura alongside Solent Student Unions VP Welfare sent a letter asking them for no penalty early release for students for now but also for new contacts starting in July and September onwards depending on the situation. There is only so much influence SUSU has however we are able to lobby.  There is also the balance of making sure those staying in private halls have the level of service needed as well as those who have had to move out.  Laura is passing this work over to next year's VP Welfare and Community to continue.

Q. How do we know if this has been effective or not?

A. This has been posted all on social media as well as the letter template being available on our website for students to download and use.  It is very difficult to measure how successful this has been however we keeping an eye on who is doing what.

Jo Lisney, VP Education and Democracy

Q. Many minor students still havent received adequate if any real information about their minor, their classification and have contacted many departments and received no information. how are SUSU pushing the university to be more transparent and open with students about their grades and even just their courses?

A. Emily answered this one. She hasn’t heard about any issues with minors, but will definitely pick this up and asked for an email with any further details from the student.

Emily agreed that with regard to Humanities there was a serious issue with information not being sent out which was not good enough. It was fed back very strongly that this was unacceptable.  Emily also noted that comms is something she has spoken about a lot with the university. There is going to be a review of both SUSU and the University response to Corona virus.  If anyone has any feedback now or long term then please let us know.

ACTION: President to take the issue of minors raised in Senate to the University.

Q. The University have been consistently disappointing in missing their own self-imposed deadlines for information and being inflexible in helping adapt students' workload in the face of the pandemic. I'm worried this will continue into next academic year so how will you prep the new VP Eddem and prepare for this in general?

A.  Emily answered this one. Emily noted that she completely understood and shared those concerns. We have fed this back in various ways to the university.  Emily clarified that there is a lot of work going on at the university to make sure this doesn’t happen next year.  The reason for the missed deadlines (although doesn’t excuse) is they wanted to say something however with the no detriment policy it became a lot more complicated than first thought and it needed to go through a lot of people to be approved.  The university is aware this wasn’t good enough and going forwards they won't be giving deadlines for different services opening up or graduation etc. They don’t want to over promise. 

Jo commented that SUSU staff have been involved in the meetings with the university. This means there will be consistency between the current sabb team and the incoming team in July.

Q. As a Humanities student we did not receive the information until 3 days later, are they going to apologise about that?

A. Emily responded to this question, sharing her frustration as well.  We had asked the university to issue an apology to Arts and Humanities students, which although was followed up several times did not actually happen. Emily commented she is happy to chase this and ask for an apology if this is something students want. 

ACTION: President to ask for an apology for Faculty of Arts and Humanities students regarding the fact they received information after the rest of the faculties.

Q. When will the next Senate Elections be held?

A. Jo answered this one. The next election will be in Autumn term now as we have unfortunately had to delay the Summer Elections. 

Fiona Sunderland, VP Activities

No questions.

Emily Harrison, Union President

Q. Many students want a refund on fees, if we got more voices together would the university reconsider?

A. Emily feels pretty confident that the answer from the university is final, however she would not underestimate the power of a lot of students coming together.  Emily took it to University Council for a honest and open conversation. It was then taken to the Deans of the Faculties. They discussed students on practical courses particularly WSA students, medicine and health care students, as well as international students.  The university has agreed to look into non financial compensation for students on practical based courses at WSA and Music courses, for example access to software etc. This is still in consultation.  For medics it is more complicated due to funding fees which don’t cover placements. This is actually funded for by the government, and as they are graduating early there would be no refund due back to students. Emily noted they have asked for a clarification around the funding streams for medicine and health care students. With regard to the rest of the university the answer is 'no' for a refund on fees, as there is still provision of teaching online.  Emily has raised the idea of the university paying for gown hire for graduating students, for when they are able to physically graduate, as a token as the year has been difficult.  The university is going to explore this.

Laura noted that she is currently completing an online degree, which she pays the same tuition fees as those on campus, so this is not just a Southampton specific problem. This is a sector wide issue about online degrees.

Emily commented that it would need to be a national decision from university to refund rather than a specific university as the financial impact with be significant.

Q. What is the situation with students in halls?

A. Emily explained that this situation has been very positive, this is one of the first things we got sorted. The residences team agreed to release all halls students from their contracts and waived the third term of fees if they moved out.  If they stayed in halls, if they couldn’t go home or wanted to stay, they put in place a rent reduction.  They are also looking after students' belongings for free if they can't get back to collect them. 

Q. Just to confirm if you are an international student and can't get home you are able to stay in uni halls?

A. Emily confirmed that 'yes' this has been the case since the start of lockdown.  If students have not been able to return home they are able to stay and individual arrangements have been made for those students.

5. Student Officer Reports

No questions.

Consultation and Approval
6. Ethical Guidance on Student Groups and Activity

Laura ran through the Ethical Guidance on students groups and activity, which came out of the Expect Respect policy.

Decision 1: Approve or reject the policy “Ethical Guidance on Students Groups and Activity”.

Motion approved.

11- Approve, Reject- 0 Abstain -1

7. SUSU Code of Conduct

Laura ran through the Code of Conduct, which aims to fill a gap in our processes.  It was written in consultation with Fiona, Olivia, SUSU staff and Clubs and Societies.

Q. Which societies have been consulted about this?

A. It has been presented in all club and society emails, on Laura and Fiona’s social media as well as at President Induction last week where it was discussed in breakout sessions.

Decision 2: Approve or reject the “SUSU Code of Conduct”.

Motion approved.

12- Approve, Reject- 0 Abstain -1

8. [Received late] Sabbatical Officer Restructure

Adrian asked Emily to give some insight as to how the Sabbatical Officer restructure came about and why, and what it is about.

Emily explained that last year we restructured and we went from seven Sabbatical Officers to five and that largely was a positive change. We made things a bit more efficient and things made a lot more sense. There are a couple of things that have been a bit difficult this year. So for example, the President remit did not use to have anything in it, other than the University Relationship, and now we went the other way and put way too much in it. Similarly the VP Students Communities and Welfare were combined into one. Some of the remit moved around but it still remained a huge remit, and it had been quite a challenge this year for Laura. So essentially we were looking to address some of the workload imbalances. Also you will notice that there is a proposal to combine the VP Activities and the VP Sports role. There are a couple of reasons for that. Firstly, we have done some consultation with clubs and we are having ongoing conversations with the University about potentially moving Sports to the University; so we would still remain in a representative role, but right now we do all of the administration and the operational kind of stuff, so there is a conversation of whether that moves to the University, in which case we would not necessary need two independent roles. We also hope that combining them will mean that there is more cohesion for Clubs and Societies, because right now we have two Officers doing the same thing but a little bit differently according to different clubs and societies and we hope that bringing them together will make a lot more sense. An important thing to note though is that although we haven’t brought with this a review of staff, that is something that is being considered in the background, but is inappropriate to discuss at Senate because staff roles are separate, but we are mindful of resource and we hope that this restructure won’t be negative for students at all because there will still be a full Activities team that support Olivia and Fiona, but we hope that we can focus more on their work in representation. At the moment they do a lot of admin work and they are quite bogged down and having to do things that are not representation. So we actually hope that combining them will make the role a lot more effective. 

Laura also asked Emily to talk about student officers and Emily said that they are having conversations as to where student officers sit in this thing and that this could be seen as an opportunity to look at the student officer roles more generally; what works, what does not work and do proper consultation around that. She also said that there hasn’t been the time to do that yet, and that they want to make sure it is not rushed. Finally Emily noted that these changes, if approved would come into effect, not the next academic year, but the year after that. So there is still opportunity to change things and reassured the attendees that there would be further opportunity for consultation.

Q. According to the new structure, even if Sports move to the University it still seems like a huge remit. But also it seems like it would risk squeezing out Student Media, having it side-lined because the Sabb would have to worry about Sports and hundreds of societies and I think this would be disastrous for student media.

A. Fiona explained that support for Student Media should be provided by full time core staff, and the issue she is having already is that she has to deal with practical responsibility which is not the job. Media should be taking more support from staff, from the Creative Industries’ Co-ordinator for example.  The issue is that Fiona and Olivia do the same work a lot.  Part of the Officer review we are looking at, is making a Clubs and Societies committee that will have reps from different societies. As it is at the moment we have Media who represent 4 of the 299 societies, 90 sports clubs, so it is already massive. The issue with the VP Activities being its own role in the first place, is that you are already merging all the different societies, particularly the creative industries and external engagement which don’t have anything else. It will be a lot clearer that this is not an admin support role. The stuff that is there for media will still remain there.

Emily added that they have looked at what other institutions are doing and most Unions have a combined Sports and Activities role and that it works in other places. Finally she added that they are confident that it would not squeeze out Media or any other student group.

Q. There are certain things that cannot be redistributed to other roles, like line managing the other Sabbs, and which must be difficult after coming straight from university and having limited work experience. In the restructure, have provision be made for the support to the Sabbs or is it a bit more like behind the scenes full-time staff issue?

A.  Emily commented that she completely agreed, trying to line manage in your first job, people of your own age is very difficult. To answer the second bit, yes it is more of a conversation behind the scenes but it is something we are talking about. So anyone that is involved in Clubs and Societies will know that there is a full-time Activities Team; so co-ordinators that support with the practical and admin side of stuff. Co-ordinators do hep with other work as well, so one of them for example does a lot of work with Halls, and the same person works a lot with Laura around minority groups. There isn’t a co-ordinator really for President. The only co-ordinator support is with Halls, because our Sustainability co-ordinator went on maternity leave, and all the other bits of the role don’t have a co-ordinator. However, our Director of Advice and Representation provides a lot of support for the President role and Emily has also been talking a lot to the Director of People, who manages HR about more direct support on the line management side of stuff. Yes, it is definitely being considered, but it is not something that we will bring to Senate because it is not appropriate for student consultation.

Q. Before, VP Welfare used to be a bigger role, when there were 7 Sabbs because they had Sustainability in there as well. So I am wondering if Sustainability should be with Welfare so that it could be more balanced. Also I feel like VP Welfares have done better with Sustainability.

A. Laura explained that she had been been able to tick off many demographic boxes, but no-one in this world can tick off every demographic and it so hard to make sure you are representing all of the different communities because all of those in the community role are kind of lumped in there. Plus the role concentrates on mental health and sexual consent which comes with an massive emotional toll, so adding Sustainability in this mix would only be detrimental to that Sabbatical Officer.  This year Laura did not have a co-ordinator but did have the co-ordinators jump in. So for example, the intention for splitting out the Welfare and Community ones was because Laura specifically wanted VP International, but obviously with COVID-19 that is just not going to be an appropriate way to go forward. It is not going to be feasible or useful, so we wanted to make sure that that was getting proper representation, because Laura hadnt been able to do much International stuff this year.  Sustainability is really good with the President because it means that it is absolute top priority and it is only where the President sits on those massively high level top Boards where people would take sustainability seriously.

Fiona also pointed out that the Union President role is in charge of Union Services and oversees direction for outlets, so Sustainability there makes a lot of sense. Also liaising with the University, it makes a lot of sense because that is a direction of the Union as a whole. Emily added that there has been a lot of stuff going on for sustainability this year (e.g. got the University to commit to resource to creating a team at the University that solely focuses on that) and that the Sustainability role is best suited with the President role. If some responsibilities are taken from the President role then it would also be easier for the President to be more visible with what is going on around sustainability.

Q. Traditionally other Sabbatical Office restructures have gone through AGM. Why has this gone through Senate?

A. Emily explained that it will still go to AGM, but we wanted to have some more student feedback before it went to AGM. So this is not a final ‘this is happening’ approval, but it was more, as we recognise your role as Senators is to provide feedback, we wanted to get your thoughts.

Adrian proposed that since the Sabb restructure was still going to the AGM, to take the voting aspect out of this and keep this for consultation. Fiona added that before their roles would end in two weeks they wanted some formal agreement that this is going to be followed through.

Q. Where are disciplinaries going to go? Because they were originally under VP Sports and I cannot see them anymore.

A. Fiona responded that Disciplinaries in a sort of day to day sense would fall with Sports or Activities, but disciplinaries do fall with Democracy so it would be VP Education and Democracy and will remain their remit. 

Q. This proposal needs a lot more student consultation, and I feel it is the right decision to advertise it more, maybe do a survey for students and discuss it over summer. Maybe have a Q&A session based on it.

A. Emily reiterated that the intention here was not to have it approved here and just move on; this was us using Senate as an opportunity for a first step of consultation. We have also organised some other consultation sessions with students. So people have been invited. Emily had also shared on Instagram a couple of times to get student feedback, so this is not the first time it has been thrown out there, but it is definitely one step within the consultation process.

Action: President-elect to bring a more developed form of the Sabbatical Officer restructure proposal to the first Union Senate of the next academic year. Proposal to be ultimately sent to AGM for approval.

9. Ethical Trading - Consultation Only

Laura explained that the piece is consultation only at the moment as there is still quite a lot of work that needs to be done on this, and the ultimate approval will lie with Trustee board.

Q. There are a lot of adverts on campus on screens for Future Finance, who do target students who are struggling.

A. Laura ran through how companies promote and advertise through us, and what that process is. Laura explained what revisions need to be made to the guidance, eg promotional discriminatory attitudes. For example last term there was a caffeine pills bus that advertised through the exam period which isn’t appropriate. 

A comment was made that this is imperative for the union. The university this year has faced backlash for interaction with unethical corporations, and if the union wants to be viable and sustainable it cannot do what the university does; it needs to say to its students that we care about the messages and values we put out.

Laura explained the guidelines need a bit more work, and they will look at the companies we currently partner with.  If anyone has any feedback they can email Laura afterwards.


Emily quickly added in that as part of the sustainability strategy she has been working on with the university this academic year, the university is committing financial resources to this work.  This will go towards creating a dedicated team as well as working with a company called Nous Group who specialise in auditing and creating strategy.  There will be a big piece of work on student consultation that hopefully come out of this, ethical trading will also form a part of this, as well as looking at those partnerships the university make.  There will be opportunities to feedback about this.

10. Extension to Chair of Senate term

The Chair of Senate requested that Senate extend his term until the results of the autumn elections. He explained that the reason for this was, if decisions like the one below  need to be made, in the absence of Senate, there is not a Democratic decision making body to do so. So he has asked if he could stay in the role and make these decisions on behalf of Senate. These decisions will be open to scrutiny and objection at the next Senate. In answer to a previous question the Chair of Senate explained that he only asked for the Chair role to be extended as this was the only role which would be elected in the Summer elections, as the other Senator roles are always elected in the autumn elections.

Decision 4: Approve or reject the “Extension to Chair of Senate term”.

Motion approved.

13- Approve, Reject- 0 Abstain -0


11. Chair's Action

Adrian explained that Jo emailed him requesting that the terms of School and Department President be extended on an optional basis, because Jo was approached by some senior reps. In light of Summer elections not happening, there is a huge gap in Representation and Jo asked if Senate could extend their terms until the autumn elections. As it was a time sensitive period, Adrian on behalf of Senate approved this request, should they want to be extended and no later than the results of the autumn elections. This decision was open to objection from Senate as it was taken on Senate’s behalf. No Senator objected to this decision.

One of the Senior reps asked if she could stay in the role but for a shorter period and Adrian confirmed that the senior reps can extend their role until no later than the autumn elections, so all the senior reps could decide to step away any time between now and the next elections. Jo added that as she will be the next Faculty Officer for Arts and Humanities she could take over any time. She also mentioned that the other Faculty Officers have agreed the same. Regarding the unfilled roles, Jo said that the old team can help the new team and the new VP Eddem would be able to help, but also core staff could be able to help.

Discussion Topics
12. Covid-19 Situation

Q.I was the President of one of the societies but I am sure there have been other instances of questions and issues raised throughout the year, like storage space etc. that have not been able to be actioned due to COVID-19. Are these issues going to be handed over to the new members? What is the system going to be like with that?

A. Olivia confirmed that this will be passed on to the next Sabbatical Officers, but if there is something that future committees would like to highlight, it is worth messaging the next VPs just to mention it again.

Fiona added that a lot of it is stuff we were virtually ready to do but everything was put on hold, like with storage. Knocking down walls is something the University have to do, as this is the University’s building, so the University has put a hold on that, so that is something the next VP Activities will pick up. 

Emily noted that with the Handovers it was made sure that the Senior Leadership Team and other core staff are involved with that explicitly. The Handover document that is going out to the new team, are also shared with the staff team as well, so they are aware of all the outstanding work going on.

Q. I want to ask about democratic engagement. The fact that everything is moving online, we don’t have a physical presence, what is being done in order to ensure that SUSU remains democratic? It seems like the democratic aspect of our Union is falling apart.

A. Emily confirmed that all Sabbs are elected democratically so obviously although we want to get as much student consultation as possible, Sabbs can make decisions and that is in itself democratic because we are elected, so it is not the case that we are undemocratic if we make decisions. In some cases it might seem as a barrier that we are not on campus and engagement might be more difficult, but Iit could be possible, because there is less stuff going on on campus, so actually people might be engaging more with online stuff, and it can be easier to reach out to people. Is definitely something that we are mindful of and that we would put in extra resources planning into making sure that we are engaging with students digitally.

Adrian added that there are democratic processes happening behind the scenes as well. One student attendee added that it is also the student body’s responsibility to be involved in decisions and to participate more; not only the Union’s. Emily agreed and said that the Union should do their best to reach out to students but in the end it is up to students if they want to be involved. Laura also added that she has seen some increase in student engagement with neurodiverse and disabled students because they are finding this virtual environment more accessible.

Q. Students do not engage but I feel that sometimes they do not engage because they feel that they are not listened to and especially when it comes to the black student community.

A. Laura commended that this does not have anything to do with our democratic processes because those are the rules and regulations in how we hold Sabbatical Officers into account. What this is eferencing is more to do with a reputation or a relationship issue, which we are very aware of; we are talking to the relevant students about it and we are dedicated to working on.

Q. If I talk to one student, and asked if they know what Senate is, I don’t think that they would say yes.

A. Adrian stepped in to say that as this is not related to COVID-19, and that this has already been discussed in the previous Senate, it is a constant battle and efforts were made this year to make Senate more public.

Q. I was doing some research into how the support fund can help students, and I found out that it was a requirement for students to use all of their savings before they can access help from the student support fund. My concern is that because of coronavirus, we are now in an incredibly difficult financial situation. Students graduating over the next few years are going to be in a very difficult financial position if they use all their savings. Should we really be asking this from them?

A. Laura explained that there is a finite amount of money that goes towards student hardship. So she understands the frustration with the help to buy ISA and wanting to go on the property ladder but at the moment this is a luxury and the student fund wants to prioritise people who are genuinely about to be homeless. Laura commented that she is happy to feed this back.

Action: VP Welfare and Communities to clarify with their University-staff contact how students can access the student support fund without first going into hardship or going through their savings. [Note from Chair - this action has been completed and information sent to the student who rasied the issue 6/17/2020].

Q. How is COVID going to affect next year, particularly clubs and societies, especially those clubs and societies who have specialised equipment, and things that you cannot do at home? As the situation develops is the Union’s stance going to be like hard and fast rules for the clubs and societies or is it going to be more of a suggestion provided that we can provide adequate protection for our members?

A. Fiona confirmed this is something we are looking at. There was recently an induction with the new Presidents. There is a blanket rule ‘No activity’. We are going to look at specific individual cases until the situation develops. We are working with the University about how we can return to activities safely, so we are trying to finalise the process this week for clubs and societies. Basically we are going to have very thorough Risk Assessments, and it is going to be individual. You can’t do stuff until we have individually approved it. So it is something we are looking at and a gradual return safely. Obviously for things that are contacts based, it is not looking likely that this will be possible, but it depends how things can be done for each club/society as well (extent of contact – extent to how this can be minimised).  So it will need to be risk assessed and on an individual basis.

Olivia added that we are going to take an individual account of each club and sport and also relevant to the time, but we cannot make any commitments now for what is going to be happening in September, because we just don’t know.


13. Any Other Business

Q. I don’t want to keep circling back to those recent articles, because they are unpleasant for people to read, but I think it is an important discussion to have, because it makes a lot of points about institutional issues, and I feel that there needs to be some assurances to these students that there is going to be stuff put in place, because nobody should feel alienated from a place that represents them.

A. It is currently at an SLT level. Laura explained that we are looking at reflecting on the environment that we produce as well as how we are creating environments and the way that we are acting within them. A lot of these issues start with a lot of introspection, which SUSU is doing. It could be actioned and say how we have reflected and what measures we are taking, but there are also more stuff that is going up about the practical actions that we are taking.  Laura explained that there are a lot of the things which have been done, especially Laura alongside the Activities Team, around why we would expect respect. Those are policies that have been written and have been approved. Obviously the culture does not change immediately, it takes years for these things to be sorted out, and we recognise our place in that. So, yes we are looking at it.

Q. From the last Senate meeting it was said that the audiology report said that it was inconclusive and that contrary to University statement it is uncertain whether the ’N’ word was used or not, and I was wondering if SUSU are doing anything to continue following up the investigation?

A. Laura explained that we are not going to continue going back to Mayflower, it has been resolved and SUSU has explained our role in it. Emily has still been chasing the University for that, but unfortunately COVID had made things more of a priority, not that racism is not a priority, but there have been some really urgent things that have demanded Emily’s attention. But within the race equality charter work, it comes up pretty much in every meeting, when we talk about how we are going to make sure that doesn’t happen again, how we can make sure that people can report. From the auditing data we can see that we are at a very good level of reporting. These things take a long time to gather, to analyse and actually sort out, but it has not dropped off our radar.

Emily stepped in to say that the University has conducted an investigation and will review how that was handled. There is acknowledgement that this could be handled much better. It is something she has put in her handover for the next Union President to follow up with, so that will be followed up.  Emily has also been in touch with Mark Spearing, who is the Head of the Discipline Committee, and this really needs to be taken up with him.

Adrian thanked the outgoing Sabbatical Team and wished good luck to the incoming team and thanked everyone for coming to Senate.

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