The upcoming Union Forums are discussing some hot topics in the coming weeks. The Gryphon has cherry-picked some of the very best and interesting ideas to inspire you to get debating, get pro-active and get involved.
Namrah Shahid has proposed that the Edge provide female-only gym sessions for 1 or 2 hours each week.
The Edge already provides a female only swimming session which is attended by many female students – be it because they feel more comfortable without their male colleagues attending, they get a stronger sense of camaraderie with like-minded students, or it simply fits better into their schedule. But as yet, no female-only gym sessions are on the schedule, something Shahid wants to change:
“I want this for many reasons. As a Muslim female, I am very pro encouraging our Muslim girls out there to get into being fit, active and healthy. It’s so important to look after our bodies despite the fact that we cover it. And nobody should be deprived the privilege of exercising. My idea would also benefit females of other religions that require them to keep covered in front of males.”
However, Shahid’s incentives are not just from a religious standpoint as she thinks the proposed sessions would benefit all female students.
“[The sessions] will also benefit females who may be self-conscious and may feel intimidated by males in the gym who clearly know what they’re doing/how to gym.”
Alex, a second year biotechnology with enterprise student, said “I understand the reason behind this suggestion – women are not only a minority in parts of the gym (specifically the weights section) but also subject to the occasional stare or comment. Every person should have the right to feel comfortable in the gym and not intimidated. However, users of the gym are aware of how oversubscribed and busy the gym gets and preventing membership holders from using the gym only works to exacerbate this issue, but is also unfair and impracticable. The problem requires a solution but I don’t think one hour a week will solve it. Maybe instead a training room could be dedicated to becoming a women’s only section.”
The roll-out of the University’s new online check-in has been a rocky road at best.
An update to the UniLeeds app allows students to register in lectures and seminars with just the touch a button (or three). But the update has faced its fair share of resistance from the student community, many seeing it as an unnecessary and inferior departure from traditional pen and paper.
In particular, those who do not own an Apple or Android phone cannot download the app, and therefore have to register via the portal on a cluster PC within the university.
Nathan Blott, who has proposed the topic for the forum, summarized the animosity around the update:
“This system – imposed in the greater context of new stricter rules for international students – is draconian and infantilises the university community.
“Furthermore, [online check-in] unfairly impacts students with learning difficulties. I am not alone in feeling that often the recordings are more accessible than the lectures themselves. With this new system we are forced to attend the live lectures which are often too fast.”
With the government’s new Higher Education Bill looming, Education Exec, Melissa Owusu, poses the question of whether Leeds students should back opposition to proposed changes.
“These changes all culminate in the marketisation of the Higher Education system as opposed to a system that is publicly funded and driven only by academic curiosity – not money.”
Owusu goes on to ask whether quality of teaching in higher education institutions can be assessed on what she calls “a collection of vague metrics.” Last week’s announcement of the ‘medal-style’ categorisation of teaching quality has evoked a mixed response. Some criticise its simplicity while others have praise for new incentives for improvement within UK universities.
Owusu ends her proposal with a rousing explanation of her motives:
“As education should be a public good and not driven solely by the competition of the market, Universities should not be raising fees any further and we need to put pressure on the government to continue funding higher education. Education should be open to all and the recent proposals are not conducive of this.”
Other proposals include:
Should LUU campaign to protect the UK’s membership of the Erasmus programme?
Should the university offer free foreign language courses for all?
Adriana de las Cuevas Salgado
Should the union lobby the University to provide more mental health support?
Should LUU lobby the council to provide lighting by the Woodhouse Moor basketball courts?
Should LUU lobby the council to make it easier for students to register to vote?
Should LUU campaign to make PrEP [a drug which prevents HIV transmission] available?
(Images: MeetinLeeds; Leeds-List.com; University of Leeds; NUS)