Lincoln SU to hold a referendum to get UoL to stand with the BLM movement
Voting opens on the 17th June
As previously reported, Lincoln’s ACS society had been in talks with the Students’ Union about a referendum the society had created with help from members, students, and the community.
Last night, it was announced that “following a majority vote at the University of Lincoln Students’ Union Board of Trustees meeting, we are running a referendum to ask you, our members, whether you want to adopt the below policy ‘To lobby the University of Lincoln to stand with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement by providing more educational materials, engaging support and demonstrate positive activism.”
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> REFERENDUM NOTICE < This week, students approached the SU with a policy proposal asking that we lobby the University of Lincoln to stand with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement by providing more educational materials, engaging support and demonstrating positive activism. Following a majority vote from the Board of Trustees, we are now able to hold an ALL STUDENT MEMBERS referendum to enshrine this proposal into SU policy. To find out more about the proposed policy and how you will be able to have your say in this referendum, click here: www.lincolnsu.com/news/article/BLM-ref
There will be a debate held on this policy on Monday the 15th June from 12-1 pm to allow students the chance the discuss the policy. If you wish to join the debate, students are advised to email [email protected]. If you wish to run on the ‘NO” side of the campaign, you are advised to email [email protected].
The vote is to take place from 9am on Wednesday 17th June to midnight on the 21st June. Students can vote at lincolnsu.com/elections.
The Union notes, “We are living through an iconic period of human history. Worldwide popular protests have captivated the attention of all and especially engaged the world’s student population in activism and positive change.
“Even despite social distancing and the abrupt end of the academic year, hundreds of University of Lincoln (UoL) students turned up to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement within the City of Lincoln alone, countless more nationwide. The world and students demand lasting change for good. As a university and student body, it is our duty to recognise the right side of history and provide it.”
The Union believes, “These peaceful movements, local and international, cannot be ignored and their influence for valuable change cannot go to waste. […] Students must be shown their voices are being heard and their university stands with their most vulnerable.
“As a higher educational institution with a strong and diverse student community, we must acknowledge the lack of colonial or BAME history taught in UK secondary schools, which in turn causes greater misinformation and strife in students’ lives, especially in the current climate.
“Pride, Christmas, Easter and more holidays are hugely popular at the university, however Black History Month is not given the same support. Now is the time to use October to not only better integrate people with SU functions and University life but to celebrate black culture, arts, and history to a much higher degree, giving much-needed context and respect to the importance of the BLM movement to the new year of students.
“Debate on the subject is healthy, it is pointless if students and staff do not have access to all the facts and are not actively engaged in the subject. The only way to fight prejudice and misinformation is for it to be provided.”
The outcome for this referendum is to Decolonise the curriculum, to have more educational resources on BLM and the United Kingdom’s Colonial History, Closing the Attainment Gap, Employability, A Safe and Responsive Reporting Framework, Training and Posterity and a framework for future activism.
Decolonise the Curriculum
The Union resolves, “It is imperative that the University is proactive in decolonising the curriculum across its colleges. There are valid concerns that the current curriculum is not reflective of the diversity of students across the University. […] Decolonisation also requires the hiring and training of Black staff to ensure excellent research and teaching delivery.”
It was recently reported that only 15% of University of Lincoln staff are from BAME backgrounds.
Educational Resources on BLM and the United Kingdom’s Colonial History
It continues, “It is critical that BLM issues are brought to the fore through the availability of accessible educational materials. […] Education on BLM can be told informally through the ACS’s activities. Consequently, we implore the University to facilitate engagement with the SU to ensure the celebration of BLM, ensure ease of access to grants, and elimination of bottlenecks.”
Closing the Attainment Gap
“In November 2019, the University made a statement recognising that Black students have lower attainment than their non-black counterparts across the sector but highlighted that this gap is wider in Lincoln, especially with Black men. In light of this, we believe that the Universities owes a practical commitment to enable Black students to attain their full potential.”
“The University should facilitate engagement with local businesses for work experiences and placements whilst assisting students with the requisite documentation for job/placement applications.”
A Safe and Responsive Reporting Framework
“The University must have a working framework for reporting and resolving issues concerning racism. Students have expressed displeasure at the current framework which needs to be addressed. The framework needs to be standardised, enforceable, clear on its processes and also protect the student/staff making the report – granting them anonymity where desired.
“Zero Tolerance against lecturers using racially insensitive language and outdated material being shown.
“It is imperative that the University and Union CCTV footage is more accessible on request to investigate a claim of racial discrimination.”
“The University should institute mandatory training for all staff and students. Staff have a duty of care that should never be forgotten, and it lies within their responsibility to make the university as safe and hospitable for students.
“Training also mandates that the University provides an onsite therapist/counsellor trained to help those who struggle to cope with being discriminated.”
Posterity and a framework for future activism
“The University must create a third-party tribunal of Students and Staff not affiliated or legally coercible by either the University or The Union. […] This framework produced from this mandate must be promoted and prepared to use for other social BAME, LGBT+, etc movements so that the students can be best represented and supported.”
Abi Brown, the Vice President Activities, made the following statement: “Over the last couple of days have consisted of so many positive conversations with Hector on behalf ACS. We supported him through the process of proposing the new policy as we recognised how pertinent and time-sensitive this was. This is exactly what we should be doing as a Students’ Union; giving our students the platform and resources they need to make genuine, positive change for Lincoln students. This referendum needs 10% of the student body to vote on it, in order to go through, so it’s vital that students support their peers and use their vote.”
You can find more information on the referendum here.