The Mancunion

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University of Manchester’s Students’ Union Senate Liveblog

Keep up to date with what’s happening at tonight’s Senate meeting

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Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:38 PM

And that ends tonight’s Senate. Thank you very much for following our liveblog, we hope you enjoy the rest of your evening.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:37 PM

The policy has passed.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:37 PM

Voting is now taking place on the original policy taking into account the amendments just passed.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:36 PM

The process of these votes have confused a large proportion of the room.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:36 PM

Senate has voted that this will be optional, not mandatory.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:35 PM

Voting has now opened for senate to vote whether this should be mandatory.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:34 PM

The amendment has passed with 42 voting in favour.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:33 PM

The first vote applies to this amendment:

“Challenging assumptions about gender is a key way of liberating trans students. Normalising the act of exchanging pronouns alongside other details (for example, at the bottom of emails) supports trans and nonbinary students in particular, as it reinforces that a person’s pronouns cannot be presumed from appearance or name.

Students’ Union staff should include pronouns in email signatures and alongside contact details.

The Students’ Union should also lobby the University to include staff members’ pronouns alongside their contact details.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:32 PM

Amendment split has passed.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:31 PM

Proposed split to policy.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:28 PM

Amendment: “Students’ Union staff should include pronouns in email signatures and alongside contact details. The Students’ Union should also lobby the University to include staff members’ pronouns alongside their contact details. This should not however be mandatory for staff in either case.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:26 PM

“It’s at your own discretion.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:26 PM

“Every single person in this room has a pronoun. Different people, different pronouns. It’s up to you put the pronouns which make you feel most comfortable.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:25 PM

“It’s about normalising it”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:25 PM

“Challenging assumptions about gender is a key way of liberating trans students.

By normalising the act of exchanging pronouns alongside other details (for example, at the bottom of emails) the university would be supporting trans and nonbinary students in particular, as it reinforces that a person’s pronouns cannot be presumed from appearance or name.”
Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:24 PM

“So basically, support this policy if you support trans students.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:23 PM

Final policy of the evening: The Students’ Union should lobby the university to include staff members’ pronouns alongside their contact details.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:23 PM

The Students’ Union will lobby the University to provide a
Printer Credit Allowance for Humanities students as voted for by 87% of Senate.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:22 PM

The policy has passed.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:21 PM

“The university profits from your printing.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:20 PM

“I believe a better option would be to lobby departments for online submissions as it would be more economical – as opposed to printing credits.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:18 PM

“You specify that it will be to other students. I don’t have a financial problem with printing” – a person present in Senate arguing against the proposal.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:16 PM

“This proposal will cover all years, not just final year Humanities students.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:15 PM

A clarification has just been made that Manchester’s Law school already has a printer credit scheme in place.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:15 PM

“Nobody should be made to suffer just because they can’t afford their printing.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:14 PM

The next proposal is: The Students’ Union should lobby the University to provide a Printer Credit Allowance for Humanities students.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:14 PM

This vote means that the Students’ Union will challenge the University’s corporate
affiliations that contradict their ethics and social responsibility policy.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:13 PM

The policy has passed.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:10 PM

“It’s just a way of getting some money, and I don’t think that’s good enough.” – a member of senate arguing for the proposal.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:08 PM

“It’s wrong to deny people the right to an education” – a member of senate arguing against the proposal.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:05 PM

“The University only has a policy to refuse deals with Tobacco.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:00 PM

“For example, the Manchester Business School has secured a contract to delivering teaching programmes for the company British Aerospace Systems. BAE Systems specialise in defence and security, including cyber intelligence and arms selling.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20168:00 PM

“The University lists social responsibility as one of its three core missions alongside exemplary teaching and world-class research. However, at the same time it affiliates itself with companies which have dubious moral reputations and ethics.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:59 PM

Next motion: The Students’ Union should challenge the University’s corporate affiliations that contradict the University’s ethics and social responsibility policies.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:55 PM

The final figure was 30 votes in favour and 8 votes against

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:48 PM

The motion has been passed

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:46 PM

Senate are now voting on the motion

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:38 PM

There have so far, been no heckles or any audience members or senators being ejected

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:38 PM

“Participation in BDS will make me personally, and other members of JSoc feel unsafe” – a vote no speaker

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:35 PM

“We are literally saying follow international law” – a vote yes speaker

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:34 PM

A speaker is pointing out that Manchester University Jewish Society opposes this motion, and that respecting autonomy of Jewish students is paramount.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:33 PM

A speaker is now highlighting his personal experiences in Palestine, and that Palestinians are treated “worse than second class citizens by Israel”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:30 PM

The wording of the motion is now being debated.

Vote yes are saying that it only calls for a boycott of companies that endorse or benefit from war crimes.
Vote no are saying that despite this, BDS advocate boycotting all goods from Israel, and that it includes the divisive academic boycott of Israel.
Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:27 PM

“A lot of Jews on campus don’t feel comfortable saying I am Jewish” a vote no speaker, advocating that a boycott will not be a productive or effective means of ensuring peace in the middle east.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:26 PM

Another speaker is linking Black Lives Matter, and Nelson Mandela with BDS.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:25 PM

A speaker has passionately advocated voting no, based on their experiences in Israel, and that this polciy would also aid antisemitism.

This receives generous applause also.
Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:24 PM

A speaker has passionately advocated voting no, based on their experiences in Israel, and that this polciy would also aid antisemitism.

Thsi recieves generous applause also.
Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:21 PM

A speaker is now speaking on the similarities between Apartheid South Africa and Israel. This is a view that causes deep controversy and is incredibly divisive.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:16 PM

It is also being proposed that this will be a secret ballot, in order to allow members to vote on conscience. It has also been pointed out that it is a student safety issue, and not an accountability issue.

This has been passed.
Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:14 PM

The question has been asked on how this would affect Israeli/Jewish students, and the proposer has assured the room that it would not seek to promote division

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:13 PM

The proposal has been met with loud applause in the room

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:09 PM

The chair is warning that Senate is not totally sovereign and that all proposals passed must be legally sound. The chair is also warning about the strength of feeling on both sides of the debate.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:08 PM

The BDS campaign is a divisive issue on university and college campuses around the world, so we can at least expect this to be a livelier debate than the last proposal.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20167:03 PM

The next proposal is the motion calling on the Union to support the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions movement

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20166:58 PM

The policy has been passed overwhelmingly

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20166:57 PM

Nobody has spoken out against the motion.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20166:57 PM

The original policy is now being debated.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20166:56 PM

The next amendment is to give the option of rating all categories of the NSS a score of zero, alongside a boycott. Again for practical reasons. The proposer has admitted that it would be easier to just encourage a boycott, though it does not seem clear either way what this means.

The amendment has been rejected
Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20166:50 PM

The second amendment is another practical one, to focus on the NSS boycott, there should be no boycotting of the DLHE.

The amendment has been passed
Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20166:47 PM

An amendment has been tabled, based on the fact that the University has not decided to opt in to the TEF, and that boycotting the NSS would become unnecessary.

The amendment has passed
Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20166:45 PM

All details of proposed policies and amendments are available on the SU website

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20166:44 PM

Proposal 1: Boycotting the National Student Survey

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20166:42 PM

There will no amendments considered on the BDS motion

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20166:36 PM

Importantly, all proposals require a two-thirds majority (not including abstentions) to become Union policy

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20166:34 PM

The Senate chair is now warning the room about the Senate rules and regulations. A pre-emptive reading of the riot act is intended to temper what could be one of the most controversial debates of the year.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20166:31 PM

Senate is now starting, with an icebreaker activity for senate and the audience

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20166:23 PM

The Annual Members’ Meeting has just started

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20166:22 PM
“Members of the Student Union must not incite hatred against any individual or group”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20166:21 PM

“Students are expected to respect the right of all members and staff to enjoy the Students’ Union as a safe space environment, defined as a space which is welcoming and safe and includes the prohibition of discriminatory language and actions.”

Freedom of speech is important, yet intention to incite hatred is never acceptable.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20166:08 PM

These warnings have been handed out by the SU prior to Senate

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20166:07 PM

The Vote No grouping in opposition to the BDS motion have responded with these flyers

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20166:00 PM

It looks like things will be a bit late starting here. The AMM is supposed to start at 6pm and Senate at 6:30, but a substantial number of senate and audience members are still yet to take their seats.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20165:42 PM

These are the organisations that have handed out the flyers.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20165:40 PM

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20165:40 PM

As people are waiting to enter these flyers are being passed around.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20165:28 PM

Sent on behalf of the Vote No team

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20165:26 PM

“Help us to promote debate, vote against the motion.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20165:25 PM

“If this motion passes today, I’m no longer going to feel as if I can identify myself comfortably within a union which has previously always been so supportive of my community.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20165:25 PM

“I am a British Jew and I’ve never been ashamed to identify myself as such.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20165:25 PM

“Please help us to do this, whether it’s by showing your support for a referendum on the matter or supporting an open forum (such as a dinner) whereby people can openly discuss their views but whatever format you support, we urge you not to vote for the motion.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20165:24 PM

“I propose to any senator, regardless of your political leanings, to vote to serve those who have mandated them. The whole team opposing BDS today want to form a coalition with all parties to facilitate a greater debate on the issue, we want discussion, not divide.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20165:24 PM

“As students who define themselves as supporters of a progressive solution in Israel, BDS stands against everything we believe in. BDS is in relation to such a contentious issue but with so little time to prepare an active opposition to the motion, those opposing it are now deeply afraid it may pass without a true gauge of the demands of the student population. “

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20165:23 PM

“Whilst I respect the right of the committee to pass any motion they may so wish to, BDS goes beyond that.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20165:22 PM

Item 4 at the Senate today is discussing making BDS the official policy of the Student Union, a policy which is going to have a detrimental effect on general life on campus.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20165:22 PM

“Today those values may be breached.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20165:21 PM

“I believe you support the value of free and open debate, the value of creating a Student Union that welcomes everyone and the value of making sure that whatever a union does, its representative of the students whom it may serve.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20165:21 PM
“Dear Senator,
I’m writing to you in the hope of you standing up for the values I know we share, something I believe we do without even having met you.”
Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20165:18 PM

A letter was sent to all senators today ahead of tonight’s BDS debate.

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20165:14 PM

“We are keen to make sure everyone feels confident to express themselves without fear of abuse or harassment.”

Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20165:13 PM
“Due to the sensitive nature of some of the topics being discussed, we are happy for the Mancunion to live blog the event provided that two conditions are met:
1. The liveblog does not mention any students or staff by name or other identifiable information
2. The liveblogging is done by someone who isn’t a member of Senate, or if this is unavoidable, the person doing so sits away from other members of Senate (i.e. in the audience seats)”
Alex Whitcomb 8th December 20165:09 PM

Tonight’s liveblog is brought to you with two conditions.

  • A jewish student

    As a Jewish student all I can say is what a truly shameful and disgusting display of anti-antisemitism. Making BDS the official policy of the Union is atrocious, you should all be ashamed of yourself. It’s a vitriolic movement, unsupported by the actual Palestinians, that feeds the hatred and vilification of Israel and in turn, Jews. This is the Union way overstepping its boundaries and doing so because of a deep running anti semitism – this is the Union purposefully siding with one side of a two sided narrative. By there will certaintly be more hatred of Jews and they risk further hate crimes committed against Jews. They fucking know that is what will happen, but they don’t care, if they did, they wouldn’t have passed the motion. It’s anti-semitism. It’s so fucking obvious. For all their progressive lefty shit – they are as racist as the fucking worse of them. They have no place to pass such a motion, and they only do it because their own racism and the widespread pervasive cancer of anti-semitism gives them power to do so. We all KNOW that if anything of the sort was proposed in regard to their beloved trans people – or god forbid blacks or women – they would be up in arms, crying to the heavens, crying transphobia, bigotry, racism, sexism. But when it comes to Jews – they endorse a fucking disgusting hate filled right wing narrative. They are anti semitic, it’s so obvious and its shameful. 1.2 of the Union’s own policy – in that picture posted by the blogger – says: “The Student’s Union is committed to providing an inclusive and supportive space for all students.” This is their own fucking policy but clearly it doesn’t apply to Jews. It’s an obvious act of anti-semitism that should deeply offend any Jewish student – and frankly – any student at all. The people who voted for this should all be ashamed of themselves and I hope the Mancunion or whoever has any platform doesn’t let them get away with what it is – a most blatant, vile and offensive act of anti semitism.