People and Planet solidarity statement

People and Planet, the student social justice and environmental group have just released this statement condeming the SU’s cuts and supporting our campaign:

“People & Planet stand in solidarity with students at Leeds Beckett campaigning against the backwards step of removing liberation officers from the students’ union. Replacing 9 paid roles with 1 role is damaging to student democracy and will only serve to hinder the students’ union and what it aims to achieve in the long run. Liberation roles are a vital part of a union and enable students’ voices to be represented on a range of issues, ensuring improvement in student life and driving forward social change”. people-and-planet_59

Statement from Young Greens

The Young Greens have released a statement in solidarity with our campaign.

“It fills me with cynicism when the first thing to go in budgetary crises are the hard won positions for minorities. Particularly when all evidence of Leeds Beckett SU finances indicate it is in anything but a budgetary crisis..The Young Greens wholly supports students attempting to reverse these changes and urges Leeds Beckett SU to reconsider”

The full statement can be found here.

Statement from NUS Black Students’ Campaign

*****Statement from the NUS Black Students’ Campaign*****

“The NUS Black Students Campaign is incredibly troubled at the nature of the restructure at Leeds Beckett Students Union that has occurred this past year, and at the manner in which is has been passed through.
We note that there has been a replacement of nine paid part-time representatives with one ‘Equality & Diversity’ VP, and that these changes have been introduced top-down, with the Trustee Board approving them before SU Council, who had been given only two days notice even then.


We find it highly problematic that the newly created ‘VP Equality and Diversity’ is not required to identify with any of the liberation groups whose officers the role is replacing.
The nature of having liberation officers sit on the executive board of Students’ Unions is to ensure that they have an equal and participatory role in the direction of the SU, and self-determination of liberation roles and groups is paramount for this, so that their liberation is led on their terms and in the interests of those that they represent.
Relegating them to external representatives on SU Council, and placing them into ‘scrutiny’ roles, undermines this, robbing them of the ability to lead campaigns and actively take liberation issues to the University.

We recognise that the union cites the previous rumuneration of part-time officers as an incentive that doesn’t lead to equal work output, however we believe that providing part time officers with adequate training and staff support can help to dispel this trend, as well as regular accountability procedures.
Liberation officers in particularly face issues of under-resourcing and under-support on an almost nationwide basis, and from years of reports, anecdotes and experience we know that many unpaid, part-time liberation officers regularly sacrifice their time and degrees for the role, irrespective of whether it is or is not paid. Taking away the payment to these officers in particular because ‘some people may run for the money’ is thus deeply offensive and counterintuitive.

We urge Leeds Beckett SU to review these damaging changes, and to take seriously the reports of intimidation and the alienation of students who expressed concerns about the restructure.
We echo the concerns that students have flagged up, that making part-time roles entirely voluntary will mean students will have to find income elsewhere, severely limiting the time they can give to the roles. We maintain that students deserve to attend a University that accepts their varied experiences due to protected characteristics, and be part of an SU that wholly encourages representation of oppressed and marginalised groups.

We will continue to work alongside Black students at Leeds Beckett SU to support them on the issues they have raised, and hope that the outgoing and incoming officer team take into serious consideration the voices of their students and make moves to reverse this damaging change”.

So the SU do have money….

The cuts to our Liberation Officers and other PTOs were justified again and again because of a lack of SU money.

This isn’t true. Their total income for this year was almost £2million. So they didn’t have to make the cuts. And even if they did – as we argued at the time – they could make cuts elsewhere if they only bothered looking (we once suggested they cut their free bar at Their Christmas Party That Can Not Be Named*. They told us this question was “highly inappropriate”).

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Why doesn’t the SU listen to it’s students?

We found out about the proposals to cut out Liberation and other Part time Officers 2 days before it was debated at SU Council. In those 2 days we ran a poll to see if students were for or against this. I made the poll. Students or staff could answer it, anonymously or not, and had the option to agree or disagree with the proposals. I posted this on various SU facebook pages.

Poll

Basically most (78%) were students and most were against this. Preview above and the full results can be found HERE.

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