Document 435909

 Student Assembly Goldsmiths Students’ Union 18th November 2014 17:30 LG02 NAB All students must bring their student identification in order to enter the meeting 1. Welcome/Introduction [Union Chair] 1.1 Apologies 1.2 Minutes of the previous meeting (14.10.2014) 2. Motions 2.1 Support for Commemorative Events 2.2 Access to abortion in the north and south of Ireland 2.3 Standing up for student sex workers, supporting the decriminalisation of sex work 2.4 Disaffiliation from Socialist Workers Student Society 3. Campaign solidarity 4. Sabbatical Officer Reports 5. Any other business 1.2 Minutes Meeting of: Officers Present:
Apologies: Goldsmiths Students’ Union – Student Assembly 14th October 2014 Howard Littler (President), Sarah El – Afly (Education Officer), Bahar Mustafa (Welfare and Diversity Officer), Shay Olupona (Campaigns and Activities Officer), Ibrahim Abdille (BME Officer), Alex Etches (Campaigns Coordinator), Thomas Ankin (Disabled Students Officer), Marcia Hibberd (Mature Students Officer), Tara Mariwany (Palestine Twinning Officer), Greer Robinson (Sports Officer), Michelle Evans (Student Parent Officer), Libby Landenberg (Volunteering Officer), Siwan Ellison & Alexandra Crawford (Womens Officers) Cyd Thomlinson (LGBTQ Officer) Grace Morgan (LGBTQ Officer), Adrihani Sbd Rashid (International Students Officer), Setti Elrrakik (Palestine Twinning Officer), Margaret Jennings (Made in Goldsmiths) 1. Welcome, Introduction and Apologies 1.1 Jamie Green, interim chair, welcomed and introduced members to Student Assembly. Jamie went through the procedures and format of the meeting. Jamie made it clear that during the meeting the Unions Safe Space Policy was active. Jamie then read out the apologies of part time officers; Grace Morgan (LGBTQ Officer), Adrihani Abd Rashid (International Students Officer), Setti Elrrakik (Palestine Twinning Officer), Margaret Jennings (Made in Goldsmiths). 2.
Motion: All power to students and staff 2.1 Alex Etches (Campaigns Coordinator) introduces the motion and speaks in favour of the motion. 2.2 There was no speech against the motion. 2.3 Amendment: “Goldsmiths Students’ Union to support and mobilise for, the November the 19th free education demonstration”. Amendment accepted. 2.4 Amendment: “appropriate” to be put in front of “means”. Amendment accepted. 2.5 Motion voted on: 57 for. 0 Against. 0 Abstention. 3.
Motion: To increase Freedom of Information, Democratic Accountability, Institutional Transparency and Anti-­‐Corruption 3.1 Colin Cortbus introduces the motion and speaks in favour of the motion. 3.2 Howard Littler speaks against the motion the basis that the Union is always open to requests for information. 3.3 Colin Cortbus speaks again in favour of the motion and responds to the arguments against. 3.4 Thomas Ankin speaks against the motion on the grounds of access to the motions formation. 3.5 Comment from the floor, the motion seems to have three motions within it. It feels too long. 3.6 Comment from the floor, there is already strong accountability in place within the Union. This will create more work for already over worked officers. 3.7 Howard Littler explains that all of the Unions accounts are published, the Chief Executive presents the budgets to Student Assembly and is held to account. 3.8 Colin Cortbus summates in favour of the motion. Explains that this is about democracy and transparency. 3.9 Howard Littler waives summation against. 3.10 The motion was voted on: 1 For, 32 against, 8 abstention 4.
Motion for the Student Union to commemorate the victims of genocide, totalitarianism and racial hatred 4.1 Colin Cortbus introduces the motion and speaks in favour of the motion. 4.2 Sarah El-­‐Afly speaks against the motion, stating that it is not inclusive and to bring it back to the next meeting with improvements in collaboration with the proposer. 4.3 Comment from the floor, this motion does not include LGBTQ* remembrance 4.4 Amendment proposed, to add “on, but not limited too”, amendment accepted 4.5 Comment from the floor, this motion feels very limited and therefore it should be taken away and rewritten. 4.6 Comment from the floor, there needs to be far more genocides within the motion. 4.7 Comment from the floor, the new motion should be inclusive of resources and facilities for the commemorations. 4.8 Comment from the floor, the union seems to take a stance on being anti-­‐Zionist, does this affect the motion. 4.9 Howard Littler clarified that this point is irrelevant to the topic at hand and any such stance shouldn't be conflated with remembering Genocides. 4.10 Colin Corbus summates in favour of the motion, this is about collectively opposing genocides and human rights violations. 4.11 Sarah El-­‐Afly summates against, she says she is in solidarity with the motion and would like to work together with the proposer on a new motion. 4.12 The motion was voted on: For 1, against 27, abstention 9 5.
Solidarity 5.1 Howard Littler proposes a letter of solidarity to the RMT workers (National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) This was accepted by student assembly and an open letter of solidarity will go out. 5.2 Howard Littler proposes solidarity to Hong Kong Protestors. This was accepted by student assembly. 6.
Elections/Co-­‐opting of Part-­‐time officers 6.1 Union Chair elections were conducted. Ziggi Szafranski was elected as Union Chair. 6.2 Societies Officer elections were conducted. Annie Surak was elected as Societies Officer. 6.3 Post Graduate Officer elections were conducted. Rebecca Bittner was elected as Post Graduate Officer. 2.1 Support for Commemorative Events Proposer: Sarah El-­‐Afly Seconder: Libby Landenberg Notes: 1. The huge loss of civilian life due to totalitarianism, colonialism, fascism, and racial hatred; the unspeakable horrors caused by the Holocaust and other genocides. 2. Recently there have been ‘increases in all five of the monitored hate crime strands (race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender identity) between 2012/13 and 2013/14.’1 3. The most common motivating factor for hate crimes is race, followed by sexual orientation and religion.2 Believes: 1. The current rise of racism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-­‐semitism, xenophobia, misogyny, Islamophobia, and general bigotry is due to the current rise of the far-­‐right. Groups such as UKIP, BNP, and EDL are being a disproportionate amount of time on mainstream television. 2. We should represent Goldsmiths’ students in public discourse by supporting students to hold commemorative events. 3. These events will be a part of a wider, inclusive educational campaign, which will counter the rise of the far-­‐right in a society loaded with many histories and narratives. 4. There is a wealth of academics and students at Goldsmiths whose primary research and cultural interests include the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, Trans Remembrance, as well as other lesser-­‐known and lesser-­‐studied atrocities. Goldsmiths therefore has great number of people from whom they can seek advice on the relevant subjects. Resolves: 1. To encourage and give our resources in support of those wishing to organise events. 2. A total budget of £150 will be set aside as an option for students who wish to hold commemorate events. 3. To ensure any remembrance days and commemorative events held are there to educate and open up learning opportunities to a diverse student body. 1
Hate Crimes, England and Wales 2013/2014, pg.3,
An Overview of Hate Crimes in England Wales, pg.6-7,
An Overview of Hate Crimes in England Wales, pg.6-7,
To respect and uphold the rights of all Goldsmiths’ students and staff to commemorate historical anniversaries by not tolerating any bigoted opposition to such important events. 2.2 Access to abortion in the north and south of Ireland Proposer: Aisling Gallagher Seconder: Bahar Mustafa Notes: 1. The current laws governing abortion in Northern Ireland are the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act and the 1945 Criminal Justice Act. 2. The current laws governing abortion in the Republic of Ireland are the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act and the 2013 Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act. In 1983, the Eighth Amendment was added to the Irish constitution, which acknowledged the “right to life of the unborn” as being “equal to” the right to life of the mother. 3. In practice, this means it is almost impossible to access an abortion in the north or south of Ireland. 4. Thousands of people travel from the island of Ireland to the UK every year to access abortion services, and many buy illegal (and often unsafe) abortion pills online3. 5. These are conservative estimates, as those who buy pills are not included in official statistics and it is likely that many people give fake addresses in England to help conceal their identity. Believes: 1. Bodily autonomy is an inalienable right. 2. Reproductive justice is not just about accessing an abortion – people should have a real choice when it comes to their reproductive healthcare and whether or not they wish to have children. 3. This includes (and is not limited to) access to free childcare, flexible working hours, a living wage, affordable social housing and sufficient maternity & paternity leave. 4. The laws governing abortion in the north and south of Ireland are entirely unfit for purpose. 5. A person should not legally have to prove that they “deserve” an abortion in order to access one (which is the case in the UK). Resolves: 1. To support activists across the island of Ireland fighting for reproductive justice. 2. To support Irish and Northern Irish students studying at Goldsmiths who are at a distinct disadvantage to their British counterparts when it comes to accessing an abortion, particularly out of term time. 3. To campaign against any proposal to roll back any aspect of the current abortion laws in the UK. 4. To campaign against any proposal to make international students pay to access abortion services on the NHS. 3
Statistics for the Republic of Ireland:­‐Topics/Abortion/Statistics. Statistics for Northern Ireland:­‐ireland-­‐abortion.pdf. 5. To affiliate to the largest pro-­‐choice campaigning organisation in the UK, Abortion Rights. 6. To publicise the work of the Abortion Support Network (who help women in Ireland pay for abortions in England) and Women on Web (a Netherlands-­‐based organisation who distribute safe abortion pills to people living in countries where access is limited). 2.3 Standing up for student sex workers, supporting the decriminalisation of sex work Proposer: Aisling Gallagher Seconder: Bahar Mustafa Notes: 1. Sex work refers (and is not limited) to escorting, lap dancing, stripping, pole dancing, pornography, webcaming, adult modelling, phone sex, and selling sex (on and off the street). 2. The current regime of austerity, and cuts to services and support have disproportionately affected women and women’s services. 3. Whilst sex work is not illegal in the UK, sex workers who work on the street can be picked up on soliciting or anti-­‐social behavioural order charges, and sex workers who work together indoors for safety can be charged with brothel keeping. Believes: 1. Sex work is work. Sex work is the exchange of money for labour, like any other job. 2. People should be free to choose what they do with their time, their labour and their bodies. 3. With the rise in living costs, the increase in tuition fees, and the slashing of benefits for disabled people, it is highly likely that some students at Goldsmiths do sex work alongside their studies in order to survive month to month. 4. The lack of funding for postgraduate education makes it likely that some students at Goldsmiths use sex work as a means to fund their postgraduate degrees. 5. Financial reasons, and any criminal record gain due to the criminalisation of sex work, are often the main reasons for staying in sex work4. 6. Stigma against sex work means that sex workers are less likely to seek out help and support if and when they need it. 7. Regardless of the reasons for entering into sex work, sex workers of all backgrounds deserve to have their rights protected and to be able to do their jobs safely. 8. Goldsmiths have a proud history of standing for social justice and for the rights of workers across the world to do their jobs safely and to unionise, regardless of their student status. 9. The pushes for legislation which would criminalise the purchase of sex (and introduce what is known as the ‘Nordic Model’ on prostitution) are often spearheaded by anti-­‐choice, anti-­‐LGBT right-­‐wing fundamentalists, working with radical feminists. 10. Often, legislation of this kind is brought forward in the name of anti-­‐trafficking programmes, when in reality they are laws which aim to control what people can 4
of_the_Literature_on_sex_workers_and_social_exclusion.pdf and can’t do with their own bodies, combined with dangerous anti-­‐immigration initiatives. 11. Criminalising the purchase of sex puts sex workers, especially those who work on the street, in danger. 12. It is impossible to criminalise an aspect of someone’s job without it having a negative impact on the person at work. Resolves: 1. To support the full decriminalisation of sex work. 2. To resist and campaign against any proposals to introduce the Nordic Model in the UK. 3. To provide new Goldsmiths students with information about where they can go to get support if they are a student sex worker. 4. To support the work of the English Collective of Prostitutes and Sex Worker Open University. 2.4 Disaffiliation from Socialist Workers Student Society Proposer: Bahar Mustafa Seconder: Stacey White Union notes: The Socialist Workers Student Society, currently an official society of Goldsmiths Students’ Union, is the student wing of the Socialist Workers Party. Approximately 85,000 women are raped on average in England and Wales every year (Rape Crisis England and Wales: 2014)5 1 in 5 women (aged 16 -­‐ 59) has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16. (Rape Crisis England and Wales: 2014).6 1 in 7 women students experience sexual and/or physical violence on campus in the UK (NUS Hidden Marks Report, 2012: 11) Union believes: Since accusation(s) of rape and sexual misconduct surfaced within the Socialist Workers Party in 2013 around 700 members have resigned, citing their opposition to how the allegations were dealt with and allegations of a cover-­‐up. Goldsmiths Students’ Union has a duty to protect its members and has historically taken a pro-­‐active stance on issues of liberation and safe spaces. We can’t claim to take liberation and safe spaces seriously whilst giving a platform and resources to a party which, in their own words, did not deal with the rape allegations adequately (Simon F from Birmingham, and Rita M and Viv S from Hackney: 2013)7 Union resolves: To disaffiliate from the Socialist Workers Student Society with immediate effect. Campaign to keep their presence off campus and show solidarity with survivors. 5
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