Union General Meeting

Walter Moberly building

Table Discussions

Summary & Outcomes

21st March 2019

The Issue

How can we help students fight Climate Change?

The Issue

  • Lots of opportunities to support environmental schemes - Zero Waste Shop, Reusable cup levy; but need more opportunities to get involved and need to increase communication beyond just students interested in the environment
  • Weekly litter picking beyond campus and encouraging informal litter picking
  • Separate recycling bins rather than mixed recycling; people will follow these rules
  • On nights out, there is a large amount of plastic cups put into general waste; not just straws - cups are number one issue; ballroom is covered at the end of nights out
  • Increase staff are required (and additional costs) to recover reusable cups, but do have extra dishwasher
  • Electric Car use could be encouraged; given infrastructure problems with climate change; university is working on increasing charging points by William Emes; SU Car Park; and at Cauldwell Children’s Centre

Summary of Points Raised

  • Teaching environmental issues to more people than just environmental students
  • Environmental induction
  • Make Freshers’ Bags and Dig-in boxes on campus sustainable and plastic-free
  • Incentivise use of public transport, cycling and walking over students driving onto campus; lobby First on accessibility of single tickets
  • Regular litter-picking events
  • Improve recycling bins in number, separate bins
  • Increased EV charging point.

Summary of Action Points

How should the University record absences?

The Issue

  • Recording absences is a professional body requirement for some courses.
  • Tier 4 visa requirements- Separating British and international students is problematic. They have a legal requirement to record attendance for international students- The option of not recording attendance, is not an option.
  • Duty of care to students if students are not attending.
  • Recording attendance to lectures- takes away students right to decide own workload
  • No one should be forced to turn up to education. If your grades suffer- that’s your problem.
  • There are other ways to consider duty of care, not just attendance.
  • ‘Paying customer’ mindset.
  • Process of recording absence is really complicated- this needs to be simplified.
  • An amount of leniency for illness that you do not have to provide evidence
  • Long amount of time to approve absence.
  • Foundation Year- everything compulsory. Missing 3 sessions in a fortnight is a warning, sometimes you just forget to sign a register.
  • Considerations of moving to a system of using Keele cards to track attendance across the University. Can that be discussed?

Summary of Points Raised

  • Education officer to lobby for a simplification of the system.
  • Education officer to lobby for a system of ‘leniency’ where a student can miss a certain amount of lectures and seminars before having to provide reasons/ evidence.

Summary of Action Points

KeeleSU should provide information sheets at UGM

The Issue

  • Avoid information overload
  • Introduce video to explain to students
  • Important that outsiders coming in can understand what is going on, the importance of them and impact.
  • Safety Bus after back to Newcastle
  • Engaging and understandable

Summary of Points Raised

  • Explore creating video for 2019-2020
  • Introduce safety bus option after UGM
  • Commit to making a sheet for every UGM

Summary of Action Points

How do we better support Transgender Students?

The Issue

  • 3 different ideas submitted
  • Lack of staff awareness of trans student issues
  • Mx; neutral prefixes, there should be staff training for awareness of trans issues, students should be able to choose the name used on official documents at university and to see what has been sent home
  • Is there a way for students to report ‘microaggressions’ such as dead naming, also lack of awareness of how to raise transphobia
  • Ele has encouraged staff to use personal pronouns on email signatures and made pronoun badges
  • NeverOK campaign - does currently include transphobia
  • AU sports teams - in drag. What communication do we have around the appropriateness of this?

(Pt 1)

Summary of Points Raised

  • The need for GN toilets in the library and the SU
  • Will be problems converting single sex toilets in terms of nights out
  • Union GN toilets require radar key
  • Sports centre - Are there GN changing facilities
  • Current financial position of uni and SU makes any updates to buildings unlikely
  • Ele has been liaising with Manchester SU to ask about how their cublicled GN toilets work

(Pt 2)

Summary of Points Raised

  • The SU to create an email signature that includes personal pronoun options - could create a series of email signatures that students can use; for example SVR’s
  • For committee conference to include the appropriateness of ‘drag events’ for fundraising
  • The SU to provide more information: How to report; transphobic behaviour and microaggressions and encourage the uni to do the same

(Pt 1)

Summary of Action Points

  • To look at the current provision of GN changing facilities in the Sports Centre
  • Ele to speak to estates about provision of GN toilets in current buildings on campus and to lobby for ‘one GN toilet for every gendered facility’ in all new builds.
  • Ele to ask that the K2 toilet is left open without radar key on K2 only nights in the SU
  • To better promote the GN facility on the top floor of the SU for daytime use

(Pt 2)

Summary of Action Points

Does KeeleSU need a Safe Space and what does this look like?

The Issue

  • Safe Space does not reflect real-world ability to escape discrimination
  • Currently LGBT+ Society operates as a safe space
  • KeeleSU should always be a safe space, where people are able to be who they are free of prejudice

Summary of Points Raised

  • Help individual groups set up safe space policies, rather than implement an SU-wide policy
  • Increase amount of promotion of campaigns by #NeverOK

Summary of Action Points

How can KeeleSU support students in financial hardship?

The Issue

  • What funding is available?
  • At what point are you considered to ‘qualify’ for a hardship fund?
  • Website page showing all available options.
  • You might not know you’re going to face hardship- students may start off OK and then run out.
  • What you can apply for, how and when will it come in?
  • Law school CLOCK- could we have Accounting/ Financial equivalent from students studying those subjects?
  • Students tend to struggle financial- the SU/NUS need to campaign further on poverty.
  • Accommodation payments- students expected to -pay 40-40-20-we don’t need the money over the summer- need it throughout the year.
  • Non-UK students- funding available for these students?
  • How are we supporting estranged students?
  • Difficult for families to support students
  • Students on placements- petrol/ travel costs.
  • Parking charges and permits. Expected to pay before any loans come through.
  • University fund taxi to hospital if you injure yourself on campus- Equivalent emergency pot?- e.g. family member death.

Summary of Points Raised

  • The SU to review advertisement for funding channels. Creating a web page specifically dedicated to financial support available to students from the SU and University.
  • KeeleSU will explore the feasibility of establishing a system of providing financial and budgeting advice- perhaps in collaboration with Accounting and Finance courses.
  • KeeleSU to discuss with accommodation department the option of payments to be in line with how Student Finance is paid.
  • KeeleSU to lobby the University to establish an ‘emergency pot’ of funding.
  • KeeleSU to discuss with relevant University department how students driving to campus can be better supported financially.
  • KeeleSU to investigate financial support for students without access to a maintenance grant.

Summary of Action Points

Student Staff - A discussion on wages and communication

The Issue

  • Concerns were how 18 - 20 year old rates of pay could be left behind.
  • Given the financial situation will student roles be reduced next year.
  • Student DJ’s being paid a higher rate of pay than other staff.
  • DJ’s playing set list from Spotify and not taking requests.
  • Management structure confusing, only aware of direct control and creates disconnect.
  • Venues - Tech crew not using StaffSavvy
  • Benefits - clarity of benefits for all staff

Summary of Points Raised

  • Clarify student DJ rate of pay
  • Review Student Staff Induction and send via StaffSavvy information including structure.
  • Clarify with Paul - Tech crew using StaffSavvy
  • Issue Benefits available for all
  • Emails from StaffSavvy title - could it include “staff”

Summary of Action Points

What else are we working on?

More hot water available on campus

Timetables issue where Uni calendars cannot be seen by students when booking rooms anymore

One way system on Library stairs

Check out our Vote-o-meter and have your say!

UGM 21/03/19 - Google Slides