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Motions to be discussed at next UGM

UGM AGENDA

Time:

17:00

Date:

24th January 2017

Location:

Atrium

Agenda

  1. Welcome
  2. Minutes & Matters Arising
  3. Report from Sabbatical Officers
  4. Report from executive officers
  5. Open Forum
  6. Condemning Journalistic Harassment of Democracy and Education Co-President
  7. Suspension of NUS Vice President, Richard Brooks
  8. Jewish equality act
  9. External organisations hosting events
  10. Emergency Motions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UGM MOTIONS – 24th January 2017

Title:

Condemning Journalistic Harassment of Democracy and Education Co-President

Proposer:

Dimitri Cautain - 593573

Seconder:

Benjamin Hitchcock - 642852

This Union Notes:

1. The Students’ Union has ‘Decolonising the curriculum’ as a 3-year priority educational campaign following a democratic vote at the end of 2015/2016 Academic Year;

2. The Students’ Union Sabbatical officers commissioned and published in November 2016 a report into and avenues to challenge the BME attainment gap at SOAS;

3. Students’ Union sabbatical officers, particularly the Democracy and Education Co-President, have been the targets of predatory journalistic behaviour, including unsolicited and repeated harassment of family at their home;

4. Students’ Union sabbatical officers have received online hate mail amongst other racist attacks;

5. Our sabbatical officers and ‘Decolonising the curriculum’ are democratic representatives of the SOAS Student body.

This Union Believes:

 

1. The ‘Decolonising the curriculum’ is a core component of any successful attempt to end the BME attainment gap at SOAS and beyond;

2. People of colour, in this case our elected Sabbatical officers, are targeted in public for holding progressive ideals that are shared by many;

3. The Daily Mail’s misrepresentation of a Students Union policy is coupled with a racist attempts to silence, intimidate and shame, those who represent the policy as well as those of who support it, i.e. all of us.

This Union Resolves:

1. To set-up a Working Group to demand a public apology from the Daily Mail for its harassment against our Democracy and Education Officer and their family, as well as to pursue avenues for challenging the reproduction of poor and factually incorrect journalism;

2. To condemn the Independent, the Telegraph and other media for recycling the Daily Mail story without addressing the Daily Mail’s harassment of our Democracy and Education Co-President, and condoning this racist harassment;

3. To pursue the recommendations made under the report “Degrees of Racism"";

4. To express solidarity and unwavering support for the ‘Decolonising the curriculum’ campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title:

Suspension of NUS Vice President, Richard Brooks

Proposer:

Mehdi Baraka (611190)

Seconder:

Dana Omar (624333)

This Union Notes:

 

1. SOAS SU subscribes to the umbrella of all student unions, the NUS and plays a key part in formulating national and regional policies concerning the wider student movement

 

2. NUS VP for Union Development Richard Brooks has been filmed as part of an undercover Al Jazeera documentary entitled ""Israel lobby infiltrates UK student movement'

 

3. In the filming, Brooks is shown to be plotting against current NUS President Malia Bouttia whilst using the student movement as a legitimate form of political organisation

 

4. The documentary also uncovers how Brooks has failed to mention a trip he had taken to Israel with the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) in his report during the National Executive Council (NEC), where officers report back on the work they’ve been doing and are held accountable

 

5. Brooks is shown to be willing to work alongside the Israeli Embassy to gain support for his political campaign against the current NUS President

 

6. It is Union policy to support the Palestinian cause through the call for an academic boycott of the Israeli state and reject such blatant attempts at dismissing the student voice within our political structures

This Union Believes:

 

1. The NUS should uphold the concerns of its members in dealing with such examples of external political lobbyists and continue to serve students first, not the interests of external organisations

 

2. It is upon students to express their political grievance over how the NUS has been allowed to be exposed in such a way, bringing into disrepute the integrity of our Union

 

3. Political lobbyists should not be given free access to our elected officials and that any form of participation with the Israeli Embassy goes against our support for the BDS campaign

 

4. Regardless of disagreements between officers, democratic structures should always be adhered to as they are the very same structures that helped elect Brooks

 

5. Brook’s actions demonstrate the lack concern of other officer’s safety, especially since Malia has been subject to extreme harassment including death and rape threats which have affected her physical and mental wellbeing

 

6. Brooks has failed to address the worries of students and sabbatical officers in the response to this allegation. This highlights his misuse of position and abuse of trust within the largest student lobbying organisation

This Union Resolves:

 

1. Richard Brooks is suspended from his post within the NUS and is held accountable for such dealings

 

2. An investigation within the NUS is ran into whether such political dealings have happened before and who was a part of them

 

3. Reaffirm our continued support to the Palestinian cause by continuing the campaign to impose BDS within our University

 

 

 

 

Title:

Equality for Jewish students act

Proposer:

Robert Avrahum Sanger 612177

Seconder:

Khulan Davaajav 636044

This Union Notes:

  1. SOAS commonly and fairly regularly gets attributed with the acronym as the School Of Antisemitism.

 

  1. As a university, we can go a long way to making minorities such as Jewish students feel more comfortable and welcome at SOAS.

 

  1. Currently some issues that concern the welfare of Jewish students or make it difficult for them to both practice their religion and fully participate in university can easily be fixed.

This Union Believes:

2.1 Jewish students pray three times a day and need a room for prayer especially in the short winter months for the afternoon service.

 

2.2 Jewish students have strict dietary requirements, kosher, and thus orthodox students can not eat anything from the canteen and there are not enough kosher sandwiches in the JCR shop.

 

  1. Jewish students observe Shabbat and orthodox students can not attend university from Friday sundown until Saturday nightfall.

 

2.4 Jewish students have religious holidays which mean sometimes they need to miss a majority of their lectures and tutorials in a significant proportion of term and exams in the final term or do not have sufficient enough time to complete readings.

 

2.5 SOAS deadlines commonly are set Friday 23:59, some sects of Jewish students are disadvantaged by this deadline.

 

2.6 As a minority group, Jewish students can be subject to Antisemitism and the current Anti-racism officers have not been proactive in combating Antisemitism

 

2.7 Jewish students currently are not afforded the right to freely express themselves and possible new students are hesitant about applying or accepting a place at our institution."

 

 

 

This Union Resolves:

3.1 To establish a multi-faith prayer room with a suitable prayer space for all Jewish students and publicise the existence and location of a Chaplaincy room

 

3.2 To bring more kosher sandwiches to the JCR shop so that Jewish students can keep Kosher.

 

3.3 To change the fresher’s fayre from Saturday to a different day of the week that all Jewish students can attend and provide representation too.

 

3.4 To incorporate the Jewish calendars dates into the main calendar with guidance from Chaplaincy on which dates the different sects of Judaism can attend university and which they can not.

 

3.5 On days that Jewish students can not attend university or on Friday in the winter months when Jewish students need to leave early, the university will be required to record the lecture and make it available so that Jewish students aren’t disadvantaged.

 

3.6 On coursework deadlines where Jewish students are disadvantaged the university will make Jewish students aware that they will extend the deadline for them.

 

3.7 Jewish students should be given the right to self-determination and be able to define what constitutes hatred against their group like all other minority groups.

 

3.8 The student union will organise and facilitate with the Jewish society a workshop on Antisemitism in fresher’s week and in refreshers week.

 

3.9 To incorporate an elected Jewish students officer by self-defining Jewish students into the body of the SU in order to represent Jewish students effectively and be there as the first person to be approached for students to report Antisemitism.

 

4.0 To mandate the Anti-racism officer to work with the Jewish student officer in implementing a project at least once a term to combat Antisemitism. "

 

 

 

 

 

Title:

External organisations hosting events

Proposer:

Daryan Omer 634536

Seconder:

Dana Sarkout Omar 634333

This Union Notes:

 

1.1           There is no clear policy on the type of organisations that can host events at SOAS through the Student Union. 

1.2           There is a clear issue of external organisations utilising SU societies to hold events that further interest their political agendas, i.e. Turkish lobby groups of the AKP’s fascist regime using SOAS to legitimise the narrative of AKP’s Turkey.

1.3           The issues stated above clearly contradict the values, principles and politics that the SU claims to espouse.

1.4           The above issues manifested themselves on Thursday 15th of December, when an accumulation of: unclear protocol, poor communication and a lack of political commitment and integrity, almost enabled a group of fascist institutions to hold an event at SOAS, which ostensibly claimed to look at the rising issues of racism and Islamophobia in Europe but it must be situated as part of a broader foreign policy initiative of the AKP government to legitimise and skew the narrative of Turkey. It is clearly a provocation to anti-fascist principles held by a majority of students, and particularity Kurdish students, here at SOAS, who have families and origins from south-east Turkey - Northern Kurdistan, where a brutal War on Kurds is being conducted. This event led to articles being published which threatened the Student Union’ sabbatical officers, the part-time officers and numerous members of the Student Union.

This Union Believes:

 

2.1           That these issues do not only pertain to Kurdish students, and a thorough no-platforming policy is required to uphold the Student Union’s values and principles.

2.2           That in the interests of protecting a safe space for our students, fascist and other organisations that seek to use SOAS’ image as a tool to legitimise their oppression of peoples all around the world, should have no place here at SOAS.

2.3           That allowing these types of organisations on campus, threatens the safety of members of this union.

2.4           All organisations deemed by the Student Union, that is the officers and the students, as fundamentally contradicting the politics of SU, are not welcome here.

This Union Resolves:

3.1 To use all its powers to prevent these types of organisations to hold events and have a presence here at SOAS.

3.2 To take the initiative and an active stance to ensure that organisations that contradict the values and principles of the Student Union are not allowed to have a platform to further their agendas, and the onus should not necessarily be on the students, but on the elected officers.

 

 

 

This webpage was last updated on: 23 Jan 2017 17:02