Student forum proposals put to panel

LUU votes unanimously to reject the NSS boycott, as well as to introduce compulsory equality and diversity training for all committees.

Leeds students put forward the leading forum proposals to a random panel of students at Thursday’s Better University Forum.

The forum, attended by idea proposers, student exec and school representatives, is a platform for students to change aspects of the university should their ideas convince enough of the 16 members of the voting panel.

Some of this forum’s most high-profile proposals included: should the LUU be boycotting the NSS?; should LUU lobby the University to provide spaces for students of faith?; and should Leeds University promote ethical companies whose values align with international humanitarian law, and limit participation of those who don’t?

The debate over boycotting the NSS was the forum’s highlight as opinions clashed in a heated debate. The boycott, called for by NUS last year, is being supported by some university unions around the country with the intention to derail the government’s imminent TEF ranking system.

The proposal, in a lengthy debate confused by the complex details of the Higher Education Bill and the recent Lords vote to sever the link between teaching standards and fee rises, was almost unanimously opposed by student reps and student execs alike. The panel voted 0-16 against the proposal.

The argument against boiled down to thoughts that joining the boycott at this belated stage would be ineffective, the NSS was too crucial to be warped unnecessarily and that the boycott would ultimately have little effect on the TEF.

The debate in support for prayer spaces elicited passionate responses by students of faith attending the forum. One student representative described her experience of having to use “corridors and empty classrooms” to pray, including one instance where students “stepped over my head while I was praying”. The proposal was passed 14 votes to 2.

The only proposal that went to referendum was whether the University should limit the involvement of companies that have breached humanitarian laws at careers fairs. The proposal split the opinions of students. While a slight majority of student reps reported their school was in favour, the School of Maths, Engineering and Biology showed strong opposition. Students had concerns regarding their future careers if big name employers had limited access to campus and that individuals should be making their own decisions. Those for argued that information about certain companies was too clouded to allow students to make informed decisions. The vote tallied at 10 votes for and 6 against.

The rest of the proposals and their outcomes are available on the LUU website.

Euan Hammond 

(Image: LUU)

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