Tonight: student council reviews SU democracy

University of Lincoln Students' Union building

The democratic process of the union, which represents thousands of students, will be under scrutiny at tonight’s council (Photo: Gregor Smith)

Tonight sees the first student council of 2015, where student representatives will vote on two major issues: a change in the Students’ Union’s democratic process, and the blacklisting of organisations that have been deemed discriminatory.

The latter, titled ‘No Platform to Discrimination, Bullying, and Harassment’, is common in many students’ unions across the country. If passed, it will mean that “sabbatical officers and other members of ULSU will not share a platform in the union with any members of extremist groups and these groups will also be banned from accessing the Students’ Union building, standing in elections or forming a society in the union”.

However, of the five organisations that have been proposed to be put on the new “no platform” list, one is primarily banned under the Terrorism Act 2000, and another, the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, was actually responsible for halting the publication of BNP magazine Voice of Freedom.

The list consists of organisations that have been banned by the National Union of Students (NUS), on votes dating back to 2005.

On whether Lincoln students should be allowed to choose their own organisations to blacklist, VP Welfare and Community, Olivia Hill, told The Linc: “The policy they [the NUS] sent us was approved at NUS conference by elected representatives of Lincoln Students’ Union.

“We are a democratic organisation and so we take any new policies through Council, allowing our students to draft their own list of organisations is exactly our intention, therefore the student council can make any changes or amendments to the initial document provided to us.

“Most Students’ Unions that are affiliated with NUS will use this policy as a basis for their no platform policy.”

The other issue is based on a 17 page review of the democratic structures of the Students’ Union, the recommendations of which could be approved by representatives tonight.

These include the creation of a new sabbatical role – VP International – and would see each officer adopt “zones”: at least one of Sports Zone, Societies Zone, Academic Zone, Welfare Zone, Community Zone, and International Zone.

As well as on student council, consensus would have to be adopted across all the zones – otherwise the decision would go to a campus-wide referendum.

Societies and Sports Council would become “more issues-based rather than rubber-stamping”, the report recommends, and an online system of putting forward ideas would be made available to all students throughout the year (rather than just at student councils).

The SU would also aim towards better representation for postgraduate students and develop better communications for the promotion of student council and other representative bodies.

Students can also hear reports from all the SU sabbatical officers as well as their college officers and other elected representatives.

All are welcome to Moot Court, on the first floor of the David Chiddick Building, from 6pm tonight. Those who can’t attend can keep up to date by following @thelinc on Twitter, or using the hashtag #LincSUCouncil.

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