By Sam Honey
A proposal to introduce a sensitivity reader to review Mancunion articles and a 45% BAME quota to apply to the editorial team was voted down in a lively meeting of Students’ Union (SU) Senate last week.
The recommendations were made in an amendment submitted by the Liberation and Access Committee to a wider policy proposal to ring-fence Mancunion funding from Trustees (which include Exec Officers) for the next three years.
After a procedural motion moved the policy up to second in the running order, 71% voted against the proposed changes, meaning that the paper will retain the current status quo until May 2022.
The meeting was also the scene of debate regarding the recent SU Elections, as the fallout continues from the controversial results.
An indicative vote was passed with 80% in favour, calling on General Secretary Fatima Abid to write a letter to the National Union of Students (NUS), asking the Returning Officer to annul the results of the General Secretary and Postgraduate officer contests.
While Abid will not be bound by union bye-laws to request the annulments, Senate, as a representative student body, has clearly declared a will that nominations are re-opened in the two cases.
City Centre Community Officer Guilherme Lopes gave a passionate defence of attempts to re-run the Gen Sec and Postgraduate Officer elections, warning that the two candidates in question could face a no-confidence vote from Senate.
Senate included the standard steering report, in which Abid outlined the legal implications of the recent elections, as well as the Exec Officers’ scrutiny reports.
Alongside the evening’s headline Mancunion policy, a range of other proposals were comfortably passed.
The Liberation and Access Committee’s second proposal, which lobbied to improve trans inclusion in university sport, including non-binary changing rooms at the Armitage and Sugden centres, was backed by 84% of voting attendees.
The committee was also successful in a policy that called for the Freshers Fair to be made more accessible, passing with little debate.
Finally, two policies passed with unanimous support.
Firstly, a proposal called on the union to endorse and help implement the H.O.P.E project, a scheme that spreads awareness of sexual assault at universities was also passed. This represents a similar policy to support Survivors Unite, an organisation that supports sexual and domestic abuse victims.
In addition to this, the final order of business for the night concerned a motion to request that the union become accredited with the NUS Alcohol Impact Scheme, an initiative that has already successfully been implemented at neighbouring Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).
The policy’s proposer, Jack Swan, said: “I’m delighted Senate passed the policy supporting Alcohol Impact. While most students drink responsibly, it’s great to see the SU commit to tackling the excessive drinking behaviours which strain our relationship with the local community and cause problematic behaviour on and off campus. Now the real work begins of working constructively with bars, halls, clubs, and the University itself.”
Two policies were not discussed due to time constraints, with the meeting finishing 20 minutes late.
These policies will be placed on to the agenda for the next Senate meeting, that will take place on May 9th.
Senate agendas and minutes are available on the Students’ Union website, and can be found here.
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