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The students' voices matter!
Student Parliament 6 took place on Thursday 16 April 2020 via an online meeting on Zoom. The topics that were discussed were mainly around five policy proposals and the situation at Strathclyde during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The submitted proposals consisted of the Halls Representation Act (2020), Lecture recordings for all, Sustainable Futures Policy, Access to Education, and supporting Care Experienced Students.
The first policy proposal took into consideration the creation of an additional Non-Executive Officer Role to represent students living in student accommodation provided by the University and the private sector. However, the second policy proposal included audio recording of lectures. According to the policy’s proponent Chelbi Hillan, this will help students to revise and will be particularly useful for disabled students, carers or parents who may not be able to attend lectures due to circumstances without their control, and for international students whose English is not their first language. Strath Union President and President Elect for NUS Scotland Matt Crilly fully supported the policy. However, he suggested that lecturers should retain ownership of intellectual property since Trade Unions are concerned that local trade union’s lecturers may feel loss of ownership of work.
The third policy was presented by Kayla Megan-Burns and encompassed Fair Trade products as part of Sustainable Futures policy. It aims at increasing the implementation of Fair-Trade options and widening it to general ethical and sustainable products in all cafes and bars across the Union. Also, the fourth policy covered the topic of Opening the Borders of Education. Actually, there are a number of scholarships that are given out every year to asylum seekers and refugees who want to study at Strathclyde. Due to the high number of applications that come in during the year, VP Inclusion Rachel Cairns wants to ensure the long-term provision of living allowances that would enable asylum seekers and refugees to access higher education on a basis equal to that of domestic students. Finally, the fifth policy suggested supporting Care Experienced Students by engaging with, supporting and growing the Care Experienced Society.
All the five policy proposals were successfully passed and approved by the Student Executive and Non-Executive Officers.
Votes on Zoom during Student Parliament 6 on 16 April 2020
The meeting also covered discussions and debates over the lapsing policies including the following:
- Education Provision in Public Hands, for Public Good Opposing Privatisation and Supporting our Lecturers
- Free Periods
- Bringing attention to Detention Centers
- Campus Wide Nestlé Ban
- Boycott, Divestment and Sanction & Stand Up for Palestinian Rights
- Summertime Blue Student Counselling Provision
- Smoke Free Outdoor Space on Campus
The officers also retained the aforementioned lapsing policies.
And finally by the end of the Parliament, some of the Officers expressed discontent over the university’s lack of communication regarding courses and assessments since the start of the pandemic. The Covid-19 discussion also shed light on international students, notably tier 4 students. Consequently, the Student Executive will carry forward the questions asked by Faculty Reps and clarification will be provided within the next few weeks.
Student Parliament is the main democratic decision-making body of the Union. Therefore, students are given the opportunity to propose and discuss new policies with the Student Executive as their elected representatives. The Parliament is open for all students to debate policy proposals with the Student Executive. However, only the Executive and Non-Executive Officers are able to vote and approve or disapprove these proposals.
All students can submit policy proposals to the Student Parliament beforehand. For a policy to be considered at the Student Parliament, you will need to collect 20 signatures from students. Please check out this guidance on submitting policy. For further information, you can always contact a member of staff at email@example.com
Written by Sara Galy, Content Writer at Strath Union.