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Passed Policies and Progress

Find out what Students' Union policies have been passed by students, and more importantly, what is being done about them.

Here you can find a list of all the policies which have been passed by student council. We're working on a live tracker so you can check the progress of each policy, but until we've got that up and running please contact your student president team to ask for an update on policies. You can also check out current ideas and rejected ideas.

Policy Idea

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  • 20 score
    22 voters

    Hybrid Council - Making democracy accessible

      Hybrid Student Rep Council - online and offline voting and attendance for Council and other relevant meetings.

      Why you think it is important

      The Student Rep Council help on November was the best attended Council on record. We believe a large part of the reason for this was reps were allowed to take part online without the requirement to meet in person. This shows that reps are keen to take part in democracy but online voting and attendance makes being a rep much easier for those with additional requirements, including but not limited to disabled students, carers, parents and those who live a distance from campus.

      Is there anything else you think we should know?

      This policy does not prevent or discourage reps from taking part in council on campus rather it means reps who choose to do so will be enabled to take part and vote in an accessible way for themselves.
    Hannah Eaton
    4:56pm on 7 Jan 21 The Accessibility to Education UWS society approves of this policy and encourages student representatives to vote in favour of it.
    Clare Hunter
    6:25pm on 7 Jan 21 I can appreciate that the last council attended was one of the best attended to date. Yes it was online, as it had to be. This fact can’t however be considered in isolation. The rep system currently has a substantial number of reps in it, but this number has been growing year on year through continued efforts of the student union team. Namely Sabina, who has this year worked mostly by herself to secure and recruit reps- despite this being an agreed partnership activity with UWS. It cannot be overlooked that Sabinas work to recruit reps could be the result of the increased numbers at council. Which we would have hoped to have seen in a non Covid world. Whilst I do want democracy to be open to everyone and I recognise that there are barriers to being a rep and engaging in all activities (I have children and studied distance learning and was a rep) there is a great value to meeting in a room as we have done with previous councils. Linking the campuses up via video link- was providing good coverage for the reps, and we where seeing increased engagement year on year. The hybrid element is difficult to execute when we have a small team and limited staff resource. It’s also not possible to my knowledge to have four campuses linked and then connections via a platform such as zoom/ teams. Although I would be curious to explore how this could be facilitated- in order to that all activity takes place at the same time. Having an option for online and offline voting makes it more complex to debate policies, and in a way makes it pointless to come together to debate at all- if there is an offline option. How do you ensure a democratic process when not all activity takes place at the same time? There are rules to reach quorum for council and these are based on real time interaction. Whilst I am in support of council and other meetings being more accessible, i feel that online and offline voting would muddy the waters and make the whole system more drawn out and complex, which the union don’t have the resource to facilitate. I think that a tweek to the policy to encourage for meetings other than council- to have an online option for attendance would perhaps be a good idea, as this will certainly allow for a positive change. Where voting is involved I would encourage as much as possible towards live in the moment voting, similar to what has been previously executed. Offline voting- will make the democratic aspect incredible complex. I would not be in favour of moving to a completely online council event as there are many advantages to meeting face to face and we will hopefully return to face to face teaching as desired by many and necessary for more. I would like to know if we can have a more dynamic online option linking campuses via video (as the main option) with video link available for those who would require it due to access barriers, parents and carers, disabled students and so on but I don’t feel the current policy meets what we need as one live vote is much easier to administer.
    Sarah Anderson
    11:28am on 9 Jan 21 Going to try to respond to each of your points Clare and I thank you for them. 1. I think its clear how hard Sabrina has worked to recruit reps. I dont want this to be diminished at all. When my class were having a discussion about who was considering standing the barriers were very clear to see. So much so that people who'd make excellent reps couldnt commit. Thats incredibly sad and is a structural failing which this policy aims to work towards rectifying. 2. This policy does not, in any way, suggest that solely online meetings should happen simply that virtual attendance should be encouraged alongside in person attendance. Disabled people asked for virtual working conditions for years prior to Covid and we were constantly told too expensive, too much work, too hard yet Covid has actually proven that accessibility is possible. This policy aims to encourage accessibility and remove barriers. If people who'd make great reps are saying they cant do it for access reasons then we need to fix that. 3. Software concerns should not be a reason to vote against this policy. As more companies and organisations are moving to virtual and remote attendance more software advances are happening. I've asked people who work in IT to suggest simple systems. By saying we cant do something because technology does not exist does not mean we should not do something. It just means finding a way. I dont see why Zoom would not fit our requirements for now. Larger organisations are using it for just this reason but I'd be very happy to have a conversation on this. 4. Voting can happen at the same time. It is for many organisations using current technologies. I do not see this being an issue at all. Zoom provides voting options. It would simply be adding one step to greatly encourage and enable accessibility and participation. 5. Resource limitations being a consideration is absolutely valid however I return to my previous point that for years people have been excluded from participation. This is not ok. It is a systematic failure which this policy aims to remove. 6. We do not know how many people would take part remotely so it could be that the majority still want to meet in person however if this policy enables one person being part of democracy and part of student life then that is absolutely worth the policy being passed.
    Sarah Anderson
    11:54am on 9 Jan 21 Have been informed that the previous system to zoom, webex, allows for virtual attendance and anonymous voting. So the technology already exists.
    Ellie Gomersall
    9:13pm on 9 Jan 21 If I recall correctly, there have been previous events held by the university which utilised Webex for hybrid meetings, where students were able to connect to the meeting from the comfort of their own home, or from one of the usual rooms used for student council at our five campuses. An example event which used this technology would be the Candidate Briefing Sessions for the 2020 Big Elections. I see no reason why this couldn't be utilised for student council.
    Ellie Gomersall
    7:08pm on 17 Jan 21 The UWS Greens have voted to support this policy and would like to encourage student reps to vote in favour of it.
    Sarah Anderson
    11:10am on 19 Jan 21 Thats brilliant. Thanks Ellie I really appreciate that. Obviously UWS SNP also does because access to democracy is important.