Campaigning begins ahead of next week’s SU referendum on hall changes

The vote is being held Monday-Wednesday


A university wide referendum is set to be held next week on the proposed changes to pastoral care in halls of residence. Following a petition signed by over 400 students, Bristol Students' Union will hold a two day long ballot on the SU's stance on the changes.

Currently the SU is broadly in favour of the proposed new model, although they have released a lengthy statement identifying six areas for improvement. Under the new model, the existing network of 150 Senior Residents and individual hall Wardens and their Deputies will be replaced by a hub based 'Residential Life Service'.

There will be three hubs in Clifton, City Centre and Stoke Bishop. Each of the three hubs is set to have one Residential Life Manager, one Residential Life Administrator, five Residential Life Advisers and around a third of the 54 student Residential Life Mentors.

Bristol SU was petitioned by over 400 students to hold a ballot

Campaigning officially began at 9am this morning with voting set to be held over a 48 hour period between 9am on Monday 12th February and 9am on Wednesday 14th February. The question to be put before UoB students is as follows:

"The University of Bristol has proposed changes to the pastoral support system in residences which include a change from managing pastoral support in each residence to managing pastoral support in clusters of residences (‘hubs’).

Should Bristol SU oppose any model for pastoral support which includes this change?"

A 'Yes' vote would thus result in the Students' Union changing its current stance on the proposed model to oppose the introduction of hubs. Whilst a simple majority is sufficient for the SU to alter its position, a quorum of 5% of the student body is required for the result to be valid.

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Some of the 400 signatures that triggered the referendum

In a tantalising turn of events, Tom Phillips and Student Living Officer Lucky Dube are set to head the respective campaigns for a 'YES' and 'NO' vote. Phillips, a fourth year Physics and Philosophy student, is a close friend of Dube and was an integral member of his successful 'Get Lucky, Vote Dube' election campaign last March.

In a public comment today, Dube said that: "Informing our response to the current iteration of the residences service model, I sought to consolidate as many views as possible. I believe I was successful in doing this when I sent off a formal response to the model to the University."

"The referendum will be a chance for students to tell the SU whether they feel a principle underpinning the proposed changes, managing halls in clusters, is one they agree with."

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On Saturday afternoon there was a 'Hands off our Halls' march

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the rival 'Keep Our Communities' campaign told The Tab: "The Keep Our Communities campaign is very happy with the fast turn around on this referendum. Given the exceedingly fast timeline that the university is proposing to move to a hub-based system, it is essential that this vote is held now to give all students the opportunity to have their say on how residences should be run."

"The aim of this vote is to stop the implementation of ‘hubs’ in September 2018 and to demonstrate how important halls staff are to Bristol students. We want to show our SU officers that the bulk of the student body is opposed to a hub-based model and that they should be representing these views to the university."

"In the words of the Deputy Registrar today, the SU “campaigns on the issues that matter to you and represents your views to the University and the city.” We hope students join us in sending a loud and clear message to the university by saying YES to the SU changing their position to oppose hubs."

"This is a purely democratic exercise, and we look forward to engaging with as many students as possible from across the university to hear a wide range of views, and work together to ensure the wellbeing, safety, and happiness of incoming students."