Free speech ASM becomes most attended this academic year

An emergency All Students Members Meeting – which was called after a free speech protest earlier this month – became the first meeting this academic year to run in full last night.

Lincoln Students' Union (SU)Almost 90 students attended the ASM, which saw members pass motions on free speech, the National Student Survey (NSS) and the SU Disciplinary Panel.

The first motion – on boycotting the NSS – was proposed by Postgraduate Officer Bradley Allsop.

The proposal stated that the SU’s responsible for fighting for ‘the best deal’ for students, that tuition fees are ‘to the detriment’ of students, and that any promotion of the NSS is in conflict with the union’s ‘clear stance’ against tuition fee rises.

After a secret ballot and an amendment by postgraduate student Michael Daniell, the motion passed. It now calls upon the Students’ Union to “refuse to aid in the promotion of NSS and to ensure our policy is one of official opposition to NSS whilst it is still linked to tuition fees”.

It also says that the SU should continue engaging with the university and government about reforming NSS and the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) – a system used to recognise good quality teaching, with high scoring universities being able to increase their fees in line with inflation.

The passing of the motion comes after the House of Lords made an amendment to the government’s Higher Education Bill calling for the NSS to be separate from the TEF. The third reading in the House of Lords takes place tomorrow before it is passed back to the Commons.

In response to this, the proposal also calls for the union to lobby Karl McCartney MP, support Lincoln students engaging in national protests and join the National Union of Students in urging MPs to accept the Lords’ amendment.

Another motion also passed last night was one on free speech. Submitted by Joshua Grinsell, it described the temporary ban on the Conservative Society’s social media as being ‘misguided’ and ‘an unacceptable breach on freedom of expression’.

It also went on to add that the SU’s External Speakers Policy has ‘stifled’ sports and societies and that a review of free speech policy must take place immediately.

After passing by ascension with an amendment, some of the motion’s resolutions include the SU making a formal apology to the Conservative Society, and that dissent towards Union or University policy on its own should not be defined as ‘bringing the union into disrepute’, provided it is not racist, homophobic, sexist, ableist or transphobic.

The final motion passed was on the SU’s Disciplinary Procedure. It describes the rule of drawing three executive officers from a pool of five people as ‘perverse’ and that it ‘undermines confidence in the disciplinary process’. It also states that students should be able to be tried by other students, rather than SU Leaders.

The motion was approved with amendments, and amongst other resolutions, it calls upon the Trustee Board to review the SU’s Disciplinary Procedures ‘as a matter of urgency’ and that their recommendations should be presented to students at the next ASM next month.

More information about last night’s ASM can be found on the Lincoln SU website.