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Who are the Student Officers?

The student officers are eight students, elected by the whole student population, who work full time at the Students' Union for a year.

I WANT CHANGE!

Currently Policy

The current policies in place at the Students' Union are listed below.

 

Environmental

This Union believes climate change is one of the greatest threats facing human civilization and disproportionately impacts upon the poorest and most marginalised groups.

That this Union will undertake to:-

  • Ensure that it educates its members on the issue of climate change, and be responsible for motivating and mobilizing them.
  • Endeavour to implement the Environmental code of Best Practice and ensure that it is updated and kept relevant.
  • Raise awareness on environmental issues, and work towards achieving associated awards
  • Call on the University to reduce its environmental footprint and to increase its environmental sustainability
  • Proactively work with or lobby Sheffield City Council and regional agencies ensuring a constantly progressive agenda working towards achieving a sustainable city.
  • Aspire to be a leader of environmental commitment through acting locally and to help demonstrate and inspire a national movement.
  • Ensure relevant committees will be consulted to advise on environmental issues and to monitor the implementation of the environmental policy.

Passed by Referendum March 2009 (3394 votes for; 235 against; 400 abstentions).   It was renewed without amendment in October 2011 and is next for review in October 2014.

 

Nestlé

The Union resolved to have no dealings with, or facilitate the promotion of, Nestle, on the grounds of unfair exploitation of third world countries (based on an independent report by EIRIS which found the company to be “in substantial violation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes”).

Originally passed by referendum in May 2001 (1762 votes for; 706 against; 48 abstentions) and renewed on a number of occasions until March 2012. It was put to referendum again in March 2012 and passed (4,621 votes for, 965 votes against and 755 abstentions). It is next due for review in October 2014.

 

Education Funding

The government's decision to lift the cap on tuition fees to £9000 has created a market in higher education where choices will be made based on cost and not ability. The increased debt burden has made the cost of a degree seem unaffordable to many, dissuading prospective students from entering university.

These reforms have also done little to tackle issues of access, cost and support for post-graduate students, who are often forced to pay thousands of pounds without financial support.

Education is a public good, which benefits society, the individual and the economy, and the increase in fees coupled with huge cuts to teaching grants, has placed the responsibility to fund the system with the individual and not the state, which fails to reflect higher educations' public benefit.

This Students' Union resolves:

  • To campaign against all forms of tuition fees, and the marketisation of the higher education system
  • To campaign for the introduction of financial support for postgraduate students
  • To campaign against cuts to teaching budgets and education funding
  • To campaign for the reinstatement of public investment in education, emphasising education as a social good.

Passed by Students’ Union Council in November 2011 and due for review in October 2014.

 

Anti-Racism/discrimination/hate crime

The Students' Union notes:

  • Racism and hate crimes must be taken seriously as they pose a threat to Sheffield students
  • An inclusive nature and respect for and the celebration of diversity is at the heart of the Students' Union
  • A large number of our students come from ethnic minority backgrounds
  • A hate crime or incident is any behaviour perceived by the victim to be motivated by hostility, prejudice or hatred of their race, ethnicity or nationality; religion, faith or belief; disability; sexual orientation or gender identity

The Students' Union believes:

  • Every student has the right to live in an atmosphere that is free of discrimination, harassment and intimidation
  • Social and cultural diversity should be celebrated
  • Hate crimes and racism should not be tolerated by the Students' Union, and those who commit acts of hate crime or racism should be stopped and disciplined

The Students' Union resolves:

  • To adopt a ‘zero tolerance' approach to racism, discrimination and hate crime
  • To campaign locally and nationally to mobilise students against racism
  • To use the NUS Hate Crime Report to prevent racism and hate crime on campus
  • To ensure equal access to all aspects of University life for all students.

The original anti-racism policy was passed by referendum in March 2003 (4502 votes for; 203 against, 377 abstentions) and was renewed without amendment by Students’ Union Council on several occasions until March 2012. The amended policy (above) was passed by referendum in March 2012 (5,657 votes for, 186 votes against and 420 abstentions) replacing the previous policy. It will be due for review in October 2014.

 

Living Wage

This Students' Union notes:

  • The Living Wage campaign is a national campaign to pay workers a fair wage.
  • 66% of employers reported a significant impact on recruitment and retention within their organisation after paying the living wage.
  • 70% of employers felt that the living wage had increased consumer awareness of their organisation's commitment to be an ethical employer.

This Students' Union believes:

  • The minimum wage is not enough for workers to provide their family with the essentials of life.
  • A living wage affords people the dignity to provide for themselves and their families.
  • All staff at the University of Sheffield and Students' Union should be paid a wage that allows them to live by their own means.

This Students' Union resolves:

  • To lobby the University to pay all its staff a living wage (updated annually by Centre for Research in Social Policy) and to provide funding for the Students' Union to do the same.
  • To ensure that a living wage is implemented without disadvantaging any current staff.
  • To seek accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation.
  • To lobby the government to replace the minimum wage with the living wage.

Passed by Students’ Union Council in April 2012 and amended in November 2012. It is next due for review in October 2014.

 

International Fees

This Students' Union notes:

  • International Students from outside the EU are charged increasing tuition fees.
  • These fees are currently unregulated and have no cap.
  • Tuition fees for overseas students currently range from £12,000 to £30,000.
  • Postgraduate overseas students may also have to pay additional hidden course costs.

This Students' Union believes:

  • It is increasingly difficult for overseas students to enter the UK for Higher Education.
  • International Students add great value to the University, Sheffield and the UK not just economically, but also culturally and academically in research and knowledge transfer, as well as enriching the student experience by providing an insight into different approaches and cultures.

This Students' Union resolves:

  • To oppose all tuition fee increases for overseas students that are above the rate of inflation or above the actual cost of the respective course.
  • To lobby the University to make their use of such tuition fees transparent and to give clear information to all international students before starting their degree about tuition fees for the duration of their course.
  • To work with the NUS International Students' Campaign to lobby the government to put a cap on how much universities can charge in overseas student fees.

Passed by Students’ Union Council in May 2012 and is next due for review in October 2014.

 

Anti-Sexism Policy

The Students’ Union notes:

  • Sexism is defined as ‘prejudice or discrimination based on sex or gender, or conditions or attitudes that promote stereotypes of social roles based on sex or gender’.
  • Sexism has a disproportionate effect on women and their lives, but can also impact men.
  • Any notion of superiority based on sex or gender is unjustified.
  • No student should be made to feel uncomfortable because of their sex or gender.

The Students’ Union believes:

  • University life should be free from sexism.
  • Students’ Union activities, facilities, services, and events operated through the Students' Union should be free from sexism.

The Students’ Union resolves:

  • To work with the National Women’s Campaign, Sheffield Students’ Union Women’s Committee and other relevant groups to actively oppose sexism and create an environment free of gender stereotypes and binaries in the Students’ Union.
  • The Students’ Union values the diversity of our students. Sexism, gender stereotypes and binaries are not acceptable.
  • The Students’ Union should work to deconstruct existing barriers to women’s participation.
  • To prevent the distribution of items that actively promote sexism and gender stereotyping.
  • To campaign against the negative portrayal of women’s representation and gender stereotypes on campus, in the media and in wider society.

Passed by Students’ Union Council in May 2012 and is next due for review in October 2014.

 

Postgraduate Students Policy

This Students’ Union Notes

  • Sheffield University has over 6900 Postgraduate students (2011) who make up nearly 25% of the student population.
  • Engagement in many areas of sports, activities and representation by postgraduates is disproportionately low.

This Students’ Union Believes

  • Many postgraduates feel the Students’ Union has nothing to offer them and is designed for undergraduates.
  • For too long postgraduates haven’t had a strong enough voice within the University or students Union on many issues
  • Whilst postgraduate issues are gaining prominence on the national agenda more needs to be done to reflect this within the University and Students’ Union
  • Due to the nature of their courses PGT students have less opportunity to engage or be involved in the Students’ Union Community

This Students’ Union Resolves

  • To work with the University to further develop Postgraduate engagement and representation across the University
  • To work with all departments across the Students’ Union to make sure the services we offer are relevant and accessible to postgraduate students
  • To work with postgraduates to produce a Postgraduate Handbook to provide key information to better help postgraduates assimilate into the Students’ Union Community.

Passed by Students’ Union Council in May 2012 and is next due for review in October 2014.

 

Gender Quotas for NUS Delegate Elections

The Students' Union Notes:

  • The under representation of women is a serious issue at the University of Sheffield Students' Union.
  • Statistically fewer women nominate themselves to be an NUS delegate compared to other cross campus elections (Council and Officer Elections).

The Students’ Union Believes:

  • The number of women we send to National Conference each year is not representative of the number of women students at the University.
  • If fewer women go to National Conference then statistically fewer women will run for National Executive Committee, meaning NUS remains unrepresentative of the 7 million students it is meant to represent.
  • These inequalities will not resolve themselves in the near future without firm measures being put in place to ensure women are being elected as NUS delegates.
  • Gender quotas are an effective way to redress the imbalance of women's representation on conference floor.

The Students’ Union Resolves:

  • For the Students' Union to actively work on the under representation of women and under represented groups in all elections.
  • For Sheffield Students' Union to adopt a gender quota for NUS National Conference delegates.
  • This quota will be to reserve 50% of elected delegate spaces for women and the remainder as open spaces.

Passed by Students’ Union Council in May 2012 and is next due for review in October 2014.

 

Bottled Water (current)

This Union Resolves:

  • To install a minimum of 5 free, clearly advertised drinking water fountains in convenient locations in the Union within 12 months.
  • To sell long-lasting, affordable, re-usable bottles in the Union Shop within 12 months.
  • To make students aware of the environmental and economic impacts of bottled water, in turn gradually promoting a culture change regarding bottled water.
  • To lobby the university to install free water fountains throughout campus.

Passed by Students’ Union Council on 16 December 2010 and renewed for one year by SU Council in October 2013.

Stop Selling Bottled Water (current)

This Students' Union Notes:

  1. 40% of bottled water comes from taps, but costs about 500 times more.
  • Producing a bottle uses up to seven times the amount of water it will eventually contain, as well as quarter of the bottle of oil.
  1. It is Union policy to install drinking fountains in the Students' Union and sell re-usable bottles in the Students' Union Shop within 12 months, and to make students aware of the environmental and economic disadvantages of bottled water.

This Students' Union Believes:

  1. Many students spend a lot of money on water which should be more freely obtainable through the provision of water fountains and the sale of reusable bottles.
  2. The University of Sheffield, as a leading university, should lead the way in environmental sustainability.
  3. The Students' Union should be active in assisting the global reduction of consumption necessary to avoid irreversible climate change. This is also in accordance with the Students' Union's Environmental policy that includes aims to reduce waste and energy consumption.

This Students' Union Resolves:

  1. To stop selling still bottled water in the Students' Union shops within 12 months.
  2. To lobby the University to replace bottled water sold in its outlets with long-lasting, affordable, re-usable bottles.

Passed by Referendum in March 2011 (3325 votes for; 2320 against; 411 abstentions) and renewed by SU Council for one year in October 2013.

Bottled Water (proposed)

This Students’ Union notes that 40% of bottled water comes from taps, but costs about 500 times more and producing a bottle uses up to seven times the amount of water it will eventually contain.

This Students’ Union Believes:

  • Many students spend a lot of money on water which should be more freely obtainable.
  • The University of Sheffield, a leading institution, should lead the way in environmental sustainability.
  • The Students' Union should be active in assisting the global reduction of consumption necessary to avoid irreversible climate change

This Union Resolves:

  • To continue to ban the sale of bottled water and ensure that reusable bottles are easily available throughout the building.
  • To ensure the maintenance of existing fountains so that they continue to be fit for purpose and that members are aware of where fountains are located.
  • To make students aware of the environmental and economic impacts of bottled water.
  • To lobby the University to replace bottled water sold in its outlets with long lasting, affordable and reusable bottles as well as ensuring adequate provision of water fountains across campus.
  • To work with Commercial Services to provide alternatives to buying bottled drinks.

This new policy was considered by Students’ Union Council in October 2013 and it was agreed to submit it to referendum. It is due to go to referendum in October 2014.

 

Widening Participation

This Students' Union notes:

  • National progress in improving the participation of young people from lower socio- economic groups in Higher Education has been slow.
  • A recent survey commissioned by the Sutton Trust found that an increase in fees would deter many secondary schools students from progressing to university.

This Students' Union believes:

  • Education is a Human Right and confers key human capabilities.
  • Higher Education should be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit (in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights).
  • Higher Education should help generate greater equality of opportunity.
  • The University of Sheffield and its students have a responsibility to help young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds gain access to Higher Education.

This Students' Union resolves:

  • To engage directly with local schools, the LEA and the University to instigate mentoring schemes and other outreach activities designed to widen participation in Higher Education.
  • To lobby the University to ensure that widening participation is an institutional priority.
  • To campaign for Higher Education related information and guidance, and outreach and mentoring programmes, to be provided to primary school level onwards.
  • To campaign for a national bursary scheme.

Passed by Referendum in March 2011 (4459 votes for; 237 against; 977 abstentions).   It is due for review in October 2013. It was renewed temporarily by SU Council in October 2013 and is now due review.

 

University of Sanctuary

This Students' Union notes:

  • Asylum seekers and refugees encounter immense barriers to Higher Education.
  • Asylum seekers are charged international fees by Universities, cannot work in the UK and cannot access student loans and government grants.
  • Refugees often struggle to fund themselves through Higher Education.
  • Sheffield was the first ever 'City of Sanctuary'.
  • The University of Sheffield intends to sign up to CARA (Council for Assisting Refugee Academics) and to become a 'University of Sanctuary'.

This Students' Union believes:

  • Education is a Human Right and should be accessible to all on the basis of merit, not ability to pay.
  • Asylum seekers and refugees would particularly benefit from Higher Education because it would help them successfully adapt to life in the UK.
  • Asylum seekers and refugees culturally and intellectually enrich our campus, our city and the UK.

This Students' Union resolves:

  • To educate our members about the difficulties encountered by asylum seekers and refugees by working with student groups (including STAR, the Red Cross Society, Amnesty International Society, United Nations Youth and Students Association).
  • To lobby the University to successfully become a 'University of Sanctuary'.
  • To lobby the NUS to seek a national agreement on university provision for asylum seekers and refugees.

Passed by Students’ Union Council on 19 May 2011 and due for review in October 2013. It was renewed temporarily by SU Council in October 2013 and is now due review.

 

End Israeli Occupation

Israel is involved in a brutal military occupation of the Palestinian territories (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEukvh_Ajv4). The occupation is responsible for widespread and ongoing human rights abuses against the local Palestinian population, including destruction of homes, theft of land & water resources, imprisonment without trial, torture of prisoners, and construction of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
This is in violation of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights & the Charter of the United Nations. The settlements have also been declared illegal by the International Court of Justice and the UK government.
The Students' Union believes that Israel should end its occupation of the Palestinian territories and allow the return of Palestinian refugees in accordance with international law.
The Students' Union resolves to:

  • Inform our members of the background to the situation in Israel/Palestine and to commemorate Palestine Solidarity Day, working with relevant groups such as the Sheffield Students' Union Palestine Society.
  • Lobby our university to divest itself from and terminate any contracts with companies that are complicit in the occupation of the Palestinian territories.
  • Join the global movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it ends the occupation and complies with international law (http://www.bdsmovement.net/call).

The original policy was passed by Referendum in March 2004 (2095 votes for; 133 against; 2008 abstentions).  An amended version was approved by Referendum in March 2007 and renewed without amendment by Students’ Union Council in November 2009. The above amended version was approved by referendum in October 2012 and is due for review in October 2015.

 

Housing

The Students’ Union believes that students have the right to live in safe and affordable housing in Sheffield.

University and partnership housing

The Students’ Union will lobby the University to provide:

  • A range of contract lengths and accommodation types so that no student who is eligible for accommodation under the first year or graduate guarantee is priced out of University accommodation;
  • Sufficient family accommodation and support for students with families;
  • Good welfare and social provision for students living in University and partnership accommodation, with fair and transparent procedures for disciplinaries, contractual disagreements and deposit returns.

The Students’ Union will:

  • Oppose increases in University rents above the RPIX inflation rate unless for agreed improvements;
  • Advise, support and represent students living in University and partnership accommodation through the Welfare Officer and Student Advice Centre.

Private rented housing

The Students’ Union will:

  • Help students make informed house hunting decisions with advice and information through the annual Welfare Officer led Smart Move campaign;
  • Support students through the housing advice offered by the Student Advice Centre;
  • Ensure that the interests of students living in the private rented sector are represented at a local and national government level.

Original Housing policy passed by Referendum March 2004 (4323 votes for; 39 against; 144 abstentions).  It was renewed in March 2007 and amended in March 2010.  The new policy (above) was approved by Students’ Union Council in February 2013 and is next due for review in October 2015.

 

Fund Education Not War

Since 2001, Britain has spent over £20 billion waging wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Over 1,000,000 people have been killed. The cost of renewing the Trident nuclear weapons system is £100 billion. It would have cost just £2 billion annually to abolish university tuition fees. Instead they were trebled. Furthermore, Sheffield University maintains a large share portfolio in companies who arm the world's most repressive regimes and lobby the government to prioritise funding war over education.

This Union is opposed to the government funding bombs instead of books, and opposes Sheffield University's investments in the arms companies that profit from this arrangement. Reducing Britain's military spending to the same level as Germany would save £15 billion annually for funding education and other public services.

This Union resolves to:
• make the case for 'funding education, not war' in our education funding campaigns
• declare opposition to the University's dealings with all arms companies
• lobby the University to divest of its shares in arms companies
• work with Stop the War Coalition and Student CND to raise awareness of money wasted on war and nuclear weapons
• end all dealings with arms companies, including at careers fairs and in advertising.

The original ‘University Relations with Arms Companies’ policy was passed by Referendum in March 2007 (2,116 votes for, 675 against, 739 abstentions) and renewed without amendment by Students’ Union Council in November 2009. During 2010-2011 Students’ Union Council set up a Select Committee to consider this policy. The new policy was submitted by a petition of over 500 students in 2012 and passed by referendum in October 2012. This is due for review in October 2015.

 

Pro-Choice Union Policy

This Students’ Union Notes

  • That individuals often have difficulty gaining access to contraception and abortion due to inaccurate information, inconsistencies in NHS provision and the influence of those who wish to restrict access to family planning services

This Students’ Union Believes

  • That access to contraception and sexual health services is imperative to good health and wellbeing for all
  • That a woman’s* right to choose protected by the law is a fundamental right – an essential aspect of women’s bodily autonomy – and central for guaranteeing the maternal health of women worldwide
  • Women should be provided with objective information, advice and – if necessary – financial support in order for them to make genuinely informed and free choices

This Students’ Union Resolves

  • To take an active stance in defending a woman’s right to choose and to uphold the legal limit of 24 weeks
  • To campaign for the ‘2 doctor rule’ to be removed
  • To campaign for abortion and contraception to always be easily accessible and free
  • To publicise to all students the family planning and sexual health services available in Sheffield 
  • To publicise the financial support available from the Student Support Service for students experiencing unforeseen costs in pregnancy

*For the purpose of this policy, the term ‘woman’ refers to a person who can get pregnant, of any gender.

Approved by Students’ Union Council in November 2012. Due for review in October 2015.

 

No More Page 3

This year has seen the launch of the national 'No More Page 3' campaign that seeks the removal of 'Page 3' from 'The Sun' newspaper. The Students' Union at The London School of Economics has passed a motion to boycott the newspaper by banning its sale in Union outlets, and the University of Edinburgh Students' Union has demonstrated intent to do the same.

This Union notes:

  • 'Page 3' presents an unrealistic, and potentially damaging picture of what women's bodies look like.
  • Newspapers with 'Page 3' type content regularly place the successes of women in other areas (such as sport) in a significantly less preferential position in the newspaper to the women on 'page 3'.
  • The 'News in Briefs' aspect of 'Page 3' found in 'The Sun' presents a view of women as unintelligent and passive, which may be interpreted as misogynistic and/or patronising.
  • Newspapers with 'Page 3' type content are easily accessible outside the Union to those members who might wish to purchase them, and would remain so even with a Union boycott.
  • The objectification of women in the media is more widespread than these newspapers.

This Union resolves to:

1.   Remove newspapers with 'Page 3' type content from sale in all of its outlets until such a time as 'Page 3' is removed from them.

2.   Support the national 'No More Page 3' campaign in lobbying 'The Sun' to remove 'Page 3'.

Approved by Students’ Union Council in February 2013. Due for review in October 2015.

 

Disabled Students

This Students’ Union Notes:

  • Disabled students include all those that self-define as disabled; including but not limited to physical disabilities, learning difficulties and mental health issues.
  • Some activities can be more difficult when a student has a disability.

This Students’ Union Believes:

  • All students, regardless of disability, are entitled to equal opportunity when participating in all aspects of University life and differing needs of students catered for whenever possible.

This Students’ Union Resolves:

  • To ensure all of its facilities and services are delivered in ways that are accessible to disabled students.
  • To support both staff and student volunteers to have a good awareness of additional support needs and how best to deliver their services/activities in ways which fulfil these needs.
  • Not to tolerate any discrimination on the grounds of disability.

The original policy was passed by Students’ Union Council on 22 May 2008.  The above revised policy was agreed by Students’ Union Council on 28 November 2013. It is due for review again in October 2016.

 

LGBT Friendly Union

This Students' Union believes:

  • In this Students' Union, the term LGBT includes students of all minority sexual and gender identities
  • That university life, and society at large, should be free from prejudice and discrimination towards all people of minority gender and sexual identities, and that no student should be made to feel uncomfortable because they are LGBT.
  • That this Students' Union is LGBT friendly, has some of the best provision for LGBT students, and that this is a point of pride for the university and its students.

This Student's Union resolves:

  • To ensure that all activities, facilities, services, organisations, and events operated through the Student's Union are LGBT friendly, and are open to all LGBT students.
  • To provide support and resources for LGBT students, such as through giving them access to gender-neutral toilets, and an LGBT lounge which will be a safe space and a place from which to run campaigns.
  • To give LGBT students fair representation within the Students' Union, and to allow their voices to be heard.
  • To publicise the fact that this is a university that welcomes, and provides excellent support for, LGBT students.

The original Gay Friendly Union policy was adopted in 1996. The above revised policy was agreed by Students’ Union Council on 28 November 2013. It is due for review again in October 2016.

 

Child Friendly

The Students' Union notes that student parents make a valuable contribution to our student community and diversity, that higher education should be accessible at any stage of life and that the inclusion of student parents is important to widening participation.
This Students' Union believes:

  1. Where possible and appropriate, services, activities and facilities should be child-friendly.
  2. No student should be discriminated against because they have children or are pregnant.

This Students' Union resolves:

  1. To lobby the University to be more accessible for student parents and work with the University to develop a student parent policy.
  2. To use the Student Parent Charter (reviewed annually by the Student Officer team in consultation with those with student parents and those with caring responsibilities) as a guiding document for our own practice and to lobby the University to improve its accessibility and support for student parents.

Passed by Students’ Union Council on 16 December 2010 and amended in February 2013. It was renewed for three years in October 2013 and is due for review again in October 2016.

 

Twinning with the Islamic University of Gaza

Since 2007 Israel has imposed an illegal blockade on Gaza, restricting people, goods, and aid from entering or leaving the territory. Many basic necessities, including food, medicine and fuel, are becoming increasingly scarce.

Higher education has also been severely impacted. The economic devastation caused by the siege means many students can no longer afford tuition fees, whilst those that can often lack books, desks, and paper. With the crossing into Egypt regularly shut for extended periods, many are unable to take up university places abroad.

Our students should do their utmost to support the education of Palestinian students, whose responsibility it will be to rebuild Palestine.

This Students’ Union resolves to:

  • Formally twin with the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG), Gaza’s largest university, and provide a physical recognition of and dedicated webpage to the partnership
  • Lobby the university to foster links with the IUG
  • Lobby the university to turn the current scholarship provided for a student from Gaza into an annual programme
  • Inform and educate our students of the issues facing Palestinian students, and lobby other Students’ Unions to take similar action
  • Work with students at the IUG to campaign against the blockade of Gaza.

Original Solidarity with Gaza policy passed by Referendum in March 2011 (1754 votes for; 959 against; 1146 abstentions). Revised policy passed by referendum in March 2014 (3905 votes for; 1763 against; 1384 abstentions). It is due for review in October 2016.

 

Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment

This Students' Union Notes:

The NUS Hidden Marks report found that 68% of women students had experienced sexual harassment and 14% had experienced serious sexual or physical violence. Many students reported persistent harassment in bars/clubs and reported that this kind of behaviour was seen as normal. This is seen as normal partly due to material that condones rape and sexual harassment and therefore contributes to ‘rape culture’ as defined by the NUS.
The NUS' defining characteristics of sexual harassment are that 'it is unwanted, persistent and of a sexual nature', including:

  • Unwanted sexual comments/invitations.
  • Groping, pinching or smacking of your body.
  • Having your clothes lifted without agreeing.
  • Someone exposing themselves to you without consent.

This Students' Union believes:

  • All students should be able to enjoy the SU without experiencing sexual harassment.
  • That sexual harassment should not be tolerated by the Students' Union, and those who commit acts of sexual harassment should be stopped and disciplined.
  • Material that condones ‘rape culture’ contributes to the problem of sexual harassment.

This Students' Union resolves:

  • To adopt a 'zero-tolerance' to sexual harassment policy.
  • To use the NUS definition of sexual harassment.
  • Not to sell, play, advertise, or endorse any material that condones ‘rape culture’.

The original policy was passed by Students’ Union Council on 19 May 2013. The above revised policy was agreed by Students’ Union Council on 28 November 2013. It is due for review again in October 2016.


Internationalisation

This Students' Union notes:

  1. Internationalisation is defined as the process of bringing an international perspective to every aspect of the student experience
  2. Over 25 per cent of students at our University are international students
  3. In the modern job marketplace, having understanding of the world is viewed as a key skill

This Students' Union believes:

  1. Every student at our University should have access to an international experience that will enhance their social life, academia and career prospects
  2. International students enrich the University through the diversity which they bring to Sheffield
  3. Integration is the active process of students from different backgrounds educating each other about their cultures, thereby expanding their understanding, tolerance and appreciation of the world we live in

This Students' Union resolves:

  1. To promote and deliver the ideal of internationalisation by implementing the SU strategic plan “Global Perspectives” goal
  2. To work with the International Students’ Committee, “One World” group, staff and Officers to deliver international opportunities for students
  3. To work with the University in putting internationalisation at the heart of their future planning
  4. To promote and encourage integration within our student community.

The original Internationalisation policy was passed by Students’ Union Council in 19 May 2011. The above new policy was passed by SU Council in May 2014 and is due for review in October 2016.

 

Companies Involved in Animal Testing

This Students' Union believes the adoption of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV's) 'Go Cruelty Free' standard will allow the easy identification of cosmetics, toiletries and household products that are free from animal testing.

This Students' Union resolves to:

Where possible, stock a BUAV approved product before an equivalent non BUAV approved product.

The original policy was passed by Referendum in March 2007. The above revised policy was agreed by Students’ Union Council on 13 February 2014 and is due for review in October 2016.

 

Food Policy

This Students’ Union notes:

  • Many of its members have dietary requirements due to religious observations, ethical choices or intolerances.
  • Products that seem appropriate may contain an unexpected unsuitable ingredient, making clear and correct labelling vital.
  • Where products lack an ingredients list, verifying that the labelling is correct isn’t possible.

This Students’ Union resolves to:

  • Request listing of ingredients on products stocked from external suppliers, or to implement listing on products produced by the Students’ Union.
  • Maintain clear labelling of Kosher, Halal, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free foods at Our Shop continuously.
  • Educate staff working at all outlets within the University and Union about different diets and which foods would qualify under certain diets and which wouldn't.
  • Liaise with relevant groups (including but not limited to USIC, JSoc, VegSoc, Coeliac Society) to obtain a list of common mistakes, or for guidance and suggestions.

The original policy was approved by Students’ Union Council in May 2013. The above amended version was approved in May 2014. It is due for review in October 2016.

 

Library Policy

This Students' Union notes:

  • Public libraries are a valuable community resource, providing safe spaces, information and support free at the point of access.
  • One in five UK adults has low or no digital skills. Those who are digitally excluded are often also affected by other inequalities.
  • Children who use public libraries are twice as likely to have good literacy skills.
  • Over 1,000 public libraries could close or be given to volunteers. Hundreds of professional staff are losing their jobs.

This Students' Union believes:

  • Closing public libraries will permanently damage literacy, social cohesion, the welfare of vulnerable people and the future of young people.
  • The socioeconomic benefits of libraries far outweigh their cost.
  • Public libraries help uphold the right to internet access, tackling socioeconomic and digital divides.
  • Public libraries improve child literacy levels and contribute to educational development.
  • We have a responsibility to tackle social inequalities and champion the provision of information to all people.

This Students' Union resolves:

  • To educate our members about the benefits of libraries and the dangers of a reduced service
  • To engage directly with the community, the NUS and the University to act against cuts to public library services, on both a local and national level.

Passed by Students’ Union Council in February 2014 and due for review in October 2016.

 

Accessibility on Campus

Students’ Union Council notes:

  • That often access issues can only be spotted by a person with access needs.
  • Money can be saved by picking up issues at the design stage, rather than rebuilding.

Students’ Union Council believes:

  • All of campus should be accessible.
  • That we should be striving for more than the minimum standards of accessibility in new builds.

Students’ Union Council resolves:

  • To lobby University management and accommodation services to make accessibility a priority in all new builds.
  • To lobby University management and accommodation services to consult a panel of disabled students and staff on access issues at the design stage of all new builds and relevant modifications to old builds. These modifications include but are not limited to; ramps, disabled toilets, lifts, maps and powered doors.
  • To aid University management and accommodation services in finding these students/staff if necessary.
  • To ensure the Students’ Union also follows the guidelines above.

Passed by Students’ Union Council in February 2014 and due for review in October 2016.

 

Ten-to-One Pay Ratio

 The Students’ Union notes:

  • Vice-chancellor Keith Burnett recently accepted a 39% pay increase, at a time when many staff are still being denied the Living Wage. Institutional pay disparity has led to strikes, direct actions, and damage to staff morale, all of which are disruptive to the student experience.
  • Burnett now earns £374,000 a year, whilst staff employed on grade 1, level 1 of the University’s pay spine currently earns the equivalent of £13,353 a year.  This is a pay ratio of 28:1.

The Students’ Union believes:

  • Universities are communities in which all students, academics and workers contribute to the financial success and sustainability of the institution – not just the vice-chancellor and senior managers.
  • That the highest-paid members of the University of Sheffield should not be earning salaries which are more than ten times the salaries which the lowest-paid members are earning.

The Students’ Union resolves to:

  • Lobby the University for a ten-to-one pay ratio for permanent salaried staff and equivalent for non-permanent staff.
  • Lobby high-paid University employees to reject pay increases which would exceed ten times the lowest salary the University pays.
  • Lobby for a Living Wage or better for all University and Students’ Union workers.

Passed by Students’ Union Council in May 2014 and due for review in October 2016.

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