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Motions to be discussed at next UGM





13th October 2016


Atrium, Webley Wing


  1. Welcome
  2. Minutes & Matters Arising
  3. Report from Sabbatical Officers
  4. Report from executive officers
  5. Does the Union's governance work?
  6. Changing the name of Black Officer to People Of Colour Officer and redefining the word "black" in union policy
  7. SOAS SU to twin with Al Quds University
  8. Justice for Cleaners to be a Priority Campaign for SOAS Students Union in the Academic Year 2016/17
  9. The Right to Sell Food in the JCR
  10. Motion to develop the SOAS Refugee Fee Waiver Scheme
  11. SOAS solidarity with Calais camp under threat of eviction
  12. Emergency Motions



UGM MOTIONS – 13th October 2016


Does the Union's governance work?


Ali Habib ah112


Roqiya Sabeg 612662

This Union Notes:

1.1 That the Union is currently undertaking a Governance review in which it will examine decision making structures within the Union. 

1.2 That SOAS SU is one of the only Students' Unions in the country that has the same members in both the Exec as well as the board of trustees.

1.3 In other Unions there are a certain number of external voluntary trustees with different areas of expertise which allows decisions to be undertaken with professional advice.

1.4 Having the exec doubling up as the board of trustees puts extreme pressure on them to make decisions they are not appropriately advised on and they are financially and legally responsible for the running for the union.

This Union Believes:

2.1 That the Board of Trustees should be holding the General Manager to account and making decisions that are informed.


2.2 External Trustees who are experts in their field can advise the Union officers on matters that are beyond their knowledge as well as advising them on the strategic directions and key decisions the Union undertakes.


2.3 In addition, having external trustees ensures that the General Manager isn't the only source of advice the board receives.


This Union Resolves:

3.1 To explore alternative governance structures in other similar organisations across the UK.

3.2 To consult the student body on how they want their Union to be led.




Changing the name of Black Officer to People Of Colour Officer and redefining the word "black" in union policy


Ninette Iheke 626566


Adwoa Darko ad76

This Union Notes:


  1. The current position and role of Black officer is defined as:


9.1 The Black Officer shall represent the interests of black students to the Union and the School.

9.2 The Black Officer shall be the liaison with the NUS Black Students’ Campaign.


  1. ""Black"" is defined in accordance with the NUS as students of African, Asian, Arab and Caribbean descent,


This Union Believes:


2.1. The collective term black misconstrues and conflates the issues and experiences of students of colour within and outside the university.

2.2.  There is a functional issue with confusion over who classifies themselves as black, with less than 180 voting in BO election despite 51% of SOAS being defined as ""politically black""."

This Union Resolves:


  1. That we use PoC a a collective term instead of black.
  2. The function of the Black officer will not change, merely the name.





SOAS SU to twin with Al Quds University



Abdulla Saad 544132


Ala Sawalha 610713, Alice Bonfatti 634959

This Union Notes:


This Union Believes:

1. That the SU has a responsibility to respond positively to the call for solidarity from Al Quds University.

2. That the act of twinning is a powerful symbolic step of aiding the Palestinian academy’s integration into global academia and bypassing the barriers imposed by Israel.

3. That the twinning of our SU with their institution is a step towards greater cooperation and friendship between students at SOAS and in Palestine.



This Union Resolves:

1. To respond to the call for solidarity and twin itself with Al Quds University.

2. To remain committed to standing in solidarity with Palestinian academia in the long term.




Justice for Cleaners to be a Priority Campaign for SOAS Students Union in the Academic Year 2016/17


Hamish Quinlan Anderson - 625365


Daryan Omer - 634536

This Union Notes:

  1. Justice for Cleaners has been an active campaign at SOAS for the past 10 years fighting for the justice, equality, dignity and respect of the cleaners, porters and other outsourced staff at SOAS.
  3. The campaign has already had many victories including obtaining the London Living Wage, Union recognition, pensions, holiday pay, and sick pay for the outsourced workers.


  1. However the school continues to reject the demand that all outsourced staff be brought in-house and in the last year pursued a new outsourcing contract with a multinational company, Bouygues. Rejecting the in-house bid, despite it being cost neutral.


  1. Over the previous year's Justice for Cleaners has had significant support from the Students’ Union, enabling the campaign to organise with all the resources available.


  1. Justice for Cleaners continues to fight for the demand that all outsourced staff be brought in-house.


  1. Justice for Cleaners is against all forms of outsourcing on campus including that of the security, catering, maintenance and cleaning.


This Union Believes:

2.1 The Justice for Cleaners campaign is a decolonial struggle by migrant workers to end the colonial tactic of division and exploitation which SOAS as an institution has been complicit in imposing the world-over, for 100 years. The goal of “One workplace, one workforce” as well as dignity, respect, equality and justice for all workers at SOAS is a struggle against the structural legacy of colonisation.


2.2 That the Justice for Cleaners campaign will continue to fight hard over the coming academic year for the demands stated above as well as any other issues that will arise during the year.


2.3 That the campaign needs all possible resources in order to campaign to the highest capacity.


  1. That outsourcing violates the core values of SOAS, including but not limited to: 1. Promoting equality and celebrating diversity, 2. Ethical standards, and 3. Transparency and accountability. These are plastered on the SOAS reception walls in the Main Building and on the SOAS website:



This Union Resolves:

3.1 The Justice for Cleaners be made a priority campaign for SOAS Students Union to pursue.


3.2 This is to be defined as:

1) Priority access to Union campaign funds.

2) The full support of the Union Executive, including but not limited to:

 -Support in organising events;

 -Use of all-student emails to spread the campaign’s events and progress.

3) Sabbatical Officers to pressure SOAS Executive Board and Board of Trustees at any available opportunity.


3.3 The sabbatical officers and Union Executive sign a letter to SOAS Director Valerie Amos and the Board of Trustees condemning their lies and actions over the last year which has resulted in the continuation of outsourcing and oppression of the cleaners, porters and other outsourced staff.


3.4 To support the cleaners in their rejection of the latest offer by SOAS Management to bring only a select few outsourced workers in-house by September 2019 as a ‘test-run.’ Cleaners, porters, and all outsourced workers represented by the Justice 4 Cleaners campaign must be brought in-house now.






The Right to Sell Food in the JCR



Camilla Rechchad - 611431


Dimitri Cautain - 593573

This Union Notes:

1. That SOAS Students Union has recently told some sellers of food in the JCR that they are no longer welcome to sell their food.

2. This includes non-student who come once per week to sell food which is not on offer anywhere else in SOAS, including the SU shop.

3. One food seller who has been told they can no longer sell hot, vegan food in the JCR is Maame.

4. Some of the sale of proceeds from the Vegan Food sold at SOAS JCR goes to the Pan Afrikan Women's Liberation Project (PAWLU) in Akropong/Ghana. Supporting the women in growing their own food, books, school fees etc for their children and managing themselves effectively. Maame has also given £40 towards the Justice for Cleaners campaign. Maame also offers free food to hungry students who cannot afford a meal and cleaners/porters.

5. Maame was invited into SOAS Students Union by a SOAS student. Maame is also a SOAS Alumnus.

6. The reason given for preventing Maame from selling food in the JCR is that the SU Shop will lose ‘£300’ each time Maame sells food.

7. The SU has lost the proceeds and income that it was making with the Vernon Square Shop since SOAS moved into Senate House.

8. SOAS Management rejected SU initiatives to create student-run spaces and SU businesses in the Senate House building. "

This Union Believes:

1. That people who sell food in the JCR cater for a different culinary audience compared to the JCR shop offering, for example, hot vegan meals which the JCR shop does not.

2. That preventing students, alumni, and other members of the SOAS community from raising funds in the JCR goes against the spirit of SOAS Students Union and the JCR as a space which prides itself on being a space for good causes and initiatives.

3. That Maame supports SOAS Students by purchasing ingredients from the food SOAS COOP for example.

4. That it goes against the wishes of the SOAS Students who eat her food and enjoy it as well as finding it more nutritious than the sandwiches in the shop. "

This Union Resolves:

1. For Maame to be allowed to continue to sell food in the JCR.

2. For all students and non-students to be allowed to sell appropriate food for a good cause in the JCR.

3. For a the Students’ Union Executive to discuss renewing the efforts to create Student run-spaces and businesses in Senate House."





Motion to develop the SOAS Refugee Fee Waiver Scheme


Charlie Lawrence Jones 629358


Amira Rady 592038

This Union Notes:

  1. This year, for the first time, SOAS waived the fees of seven refugees, giving them the opportunity to study at the university. There were approximately 50 applicants for the waiver scheme in total.


  1. The waiver is currently available to refugees and those with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and not to others affected by forced migration such as asylum seekers, people who are stateless, and people with temporary protection."

This Union Believes:

2.1. That SOAS should be committed to providing access to education for people affected by displacement and forced migration.


2.2. That the current eligibility criteria for the waiver scheme excludes vulnerable people affected by forced migration that are deserving of the waiver.


2.3. The fee waiver costs the university little and therefore should be available to more applicants.


This Union Resolves:

3.1. To support the current waiver scheme being made more inclusive to allow asylum seekers, people who are stateless and people with temporary protection access.


3.2. To support an increase the number of waivers available, representative of SOAS' commitment to helping displaced peoples.


3.3. To provide funding for a workshop/ participatory discussion to inform SOAS students and SU members about the scholarship program and how wider educational policy affects displaced people.





SOAS solidarity with Calais camp under threat of eviction


Frances Grahl 326734


Leonetta Luciano 611131

This Union Notes:

  1. The French government has committed to demolish the entire refugee camp known as the Jungle
  2. 10,000 people including elderly and unaccompanied minors (around 900) will be displaced
  3. The UK government intends to build/fund a new wall to prevent refugees and migrants from crossing through
  4. This year there have been at least 13 deaths, including that of a 14-year-old unaccompanied minor


This Union Believes:

2.1 The French and English governments are both complicit in enforcing a murderous border control policy as well as causing and aggravating the present humanitarian crisis on the UK/France Border and elsewhere.


2.2 The present inadequate and contradictory plans made by the Mayor of Calais, the Prefecture and the French government, regarding the future of those in the camp are NOT up to standards and will result in further human rights abuses.


2.3. The British government has failed to accept its responsibility and should act immediately to carry out family reunification and offer asylum to unaccompanied children as per the Dubs Agreement.


2.4. Both the French and UK authorities are causing preventable deaths in Calais and elsewhere.


This Union Resolves:

3.1 To support, financially and politically, the solidarity work of Soas Goes to Calais and Beyond and SOAS Solidarity with Refugees and Displaced People in Calais, Dunkirk and from London.


3.2. To support direct intervention by these groups acting as per the wishes of migrants and refugees in Calais, including but not limited to travel to Calais, demonstrations and publicity.


3.3. To promote, publicize, and work to raise awareness of these issue in the SOAS community and beyond, in the long term.

4. To make migratory issues one of the union's top priorities this year and support campaigns both on and off campus especially in regards to the well being of refugees, asylum seekers and all migrants on SOAS Campus.








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