Tuesday, December 13, 2005

University of Wolverhampton Students Union


On Thursday 8th December 2005 we had our second union council meeting. It was the first I attended as the last one was on the same day as Eid.


I had proposed two motions the Environment and Ethics motion and the National Identity Cards motion. I was very pleased to find that both were passed with huge majorities.


We also spent a great amount of time discussing a no smoking policy for our union. We decided to settle on a partial ban with a possible referendum on the issue in the future.


Other items and issues discussed were the Cry Wolf working Group to which I was co-opted along with another five councillors. We also discussed changes to the make up of Students Representative Council, I thought that there maybe some discussion on this but I think that everyone found that the recommendations made by Ceri and Kim were sensible and part of the tidying up process. We also discussed the Unions Equal Opportunities Policy, British Sign Language Awareness, union Policy on Drugs and Violence on premises and student healthcare rights.


Environment and Ethics

This Union Notes:

The Higher Education sector alone:
· Spends in excess of £3 billion every year on goods and services
· Consumes around £200 million worth of energy
· Owns 9% of all office space in the UK

In Britain:
· Despite the need to control climate change, use of oil, coal and gas has gone up over 10% since 1993
· Nearly 60% of all waste is still landfilled

Globally:
· Climate change is predicted to cause more frequent and severe droughts, floods and famines
· One percent of the world’s remaining tropical forests are destroyed every year
· 25% of mammals and 12% of bird species are currently regarded as “globally threatened”

This Union Believes:

· That each generation is responsible for the fate of our planet
· That each generation is responsible for safeguarding the balance of nature and the environment, for the long term continuity of life in all its forms
· That the education sector as a whole must promote positive solutions to the environmental issues we face
· Education has a key role in changing behaviour and action of both governments and individuals

This Union Resolves:

· To commit to environmental improvements by students, officers and staff
· To a review of the environmental performance of the Union
· To establish a environment and ethics working group consisting of students, officers and staff

This Union Mandates the environments and ethics working group to:

· To appoint a spokesperson to report to SRC regularly
· To carry out a review of the environmental performance of the Union and recommend environmental improvements
· To write an environmental statement for this union to be approved by SRC
· To develop a relationship with local, regional, national and international environmental organisations in order to advance the unions aims of being more environmentally friendly


National Identity Cards

This Union Notes:

· The Identity Cards Bill has now passed its Committee Stage, with the Government having blocked every significant amendment.

This Union Believes:

· That the disadvantages of such a scheme will outweigh any benefits to the students of the University of Wolverhampton.

· That the cards will do nothing to prevent terrorism, fraud, catch criminals.

· Government estimates the cost of such a scheme could reach £6billion, with independent commentators predicting costs of as much as £18billion, they estimate cards between £220 and £300 each.

· This will hit the most vulnerable and poorest in our society, those on low pay, who usually don’t drive, don’t go abroad and as a consequence have no need for a driving licence or passport, yet will be forced to pay up to £100 for a card they don’t want or need.

This Union Resolves:

· To support “No2ID” campaign, which is a coalition of Political Parties, NGOs, Other
· Make it a policy of this union to ensure that national identity cards would not be required to access union services or facilities unless specifically called to do so by an Act of Parliament
· Mandate the President to write to Rob Marris MP, David Wright MP and Bruce George MP asking that they vote against the introduction of ID Cards and that they encourage other parliamentary colleagues to do the same
· Mandate the President to write to the Home Secretary expressing these views and asking him to reconsider his decision to push forward this legislation.

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