Abortion, no-platforming and freedom of information on the agenda at forthcoming Student Council meeting
Ain’t no party like a political party
Bristol Students' Union today released the five motions for student leaders to debate at next Tuesday's Student Council meeting.
The meeting- the last this academic year- is a staple part of the SU calendar and involves heads of societies, JCR Presidents, course and faculty representatives and sports captains casting votes to decide the official SU stance on a number of issues.
Following heated scenes at February's Annual Members' Meeting, one of the six motions for debate is on 'Confronting Transmisogyny On Campus'. Proposed by two staunch members of Bristol's LGBT+ community, the motion wants Bristol SU "to prohibit groups, speakers and topics which are reasonably foreseeable to produce hate speech or harassment towards trans people".
The co-sponsors argue that this is "in keeping with its responsibility
to promote the interests and welfare of students" and comes alongside a demand for Bristol SU "to commit to zero tolerance of hate speech/harassment". The motion requires that Union reviews the process for approving speakers to ensure that "they’re committed to not allowing hate speech or harassment and work with the standing committee in this process, as well as making this process more transparent to students."
Another motion proposed by Des Ibekwe, the Equality, Liberation and Access Officer and Fran Glusevic, Co-President of the Intersectional Feminist Society is titled 'Reproductive Justice on campus: Abortion, Maternity and Miscarriage'. This motion refers to Bristol SU’s recent ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’ survey which "made clear that the 2% of students that experience an unplanned pregnancy have inadequate support from both the Students’ Union and the University."
The motion asks that the SU "re-affirm its pro-choice stance" and prohibit material "relating to abortion which is of a type that is commonly understood as being likely to cause offence or distress. This should include pro-life material depicting a foetus etc." It also asks that Bristol SU "set aside funds for Northern Irish students to, when they’re at home, to travel to England to get an abortion with an upper limit of £200 a term".
Alongside motions to review Annual Members' Meeting (AMM) and introduce a full-time Welfare Officer, Epigram and The Tab have joined forces to propose an increase in the budget for Bristol University's Freedom of Information (FOI) team. Earlier this year, Bristol University failed to respond to a number of FOI requests within the 20 working day timeframe specified by the law. These requests enable members of staff and students to find out invaluable information about their institution.
There is currently one member of staff on the University's FOI team, compared to eight in the Press Office; the motion will encourage the University to consider hiring an additional member of staff, either full-time or part-time, to ensure that FOI requests are responded to in time, enabling Bristol students and staff to access information about the institution.
Alongside these five motions, students will also have the chance to ask their six sabbatical officers questions on how well they are fulfilling their role. In addition, the meeting will consider three motions rolled forward from AMM on boycotting the border industry on campus, establishing a Multifaith Network and making the Postgraduate Education Officer accessible to International Postgraduate Students.