Student Council Results: tackling antisemitism, year abroad fees, sustainability

Image Description: A skyline of Oxford with the words Student Council a voting slip overlayed

In its recent meeting on the 2nd March, the Oxford SU Student Council passed a number of motions, including a motion to tackle antisemitism on campus, a motion for greater transparency of overseas compulsory year abroad fees, and a motion to support the University Environmental Sustainability strategy. All votes required a 2/3 majority to pass.

The first motion, to tackle antisemitism on campus, was proposed by a student from Wadham College and seconded by a student from Worcester College.

The motion passed:

44 in favour

1 against

0 abstentions

The motion noted a number of incidents and alleged incidents of antisemitism and resolved to mandate the Oxford SU Sabbatical Officers from 2021 onwards to undergo antisemitism training external to the SU, such as that provided by the Union of Jewish Students (UJS). It mandates the Oxford SU VP Welfare and Equal Opportunities to maintain regular contact with JSoc and arrange for a conversation between JSoc and the Advice Service at the SU to talk about supporting the Jewish community at Oxford before the end of Hilary term 2021. 

It also mandates the Oxford SU President to lobby People and Organisational Development (POD) to create a training module on antisemitism that all staff of the University can access, and that the President should lobby the university to establish a policy requiring heads of colleges, welfare staff, and racial equality staff to undergo the training. 

Moreover, the President must collaborate with JSoc/UJS to create online antisemitism training and upload it to the Oxford SU website and publicise it to Common Rooms, and at the next BAME RepCom they must organise antisemitism training within colleges, finalised before the end of Trinity term 2021. Finally, it mandates the SU President to proactively reach out and consult with JSoc when a matter relating to antisemitism arises within the SU or the wider university community before deciding on a response to the situation.  

The next motion to pass was proposed and seconded by students from Worcester College, and resolved for greater transparency of overseas compulsory year abroad fee, which is a tuition students on year abroad courses must pay, even in instances where they receive no tuition while abroad.

The motion passed:

39 in favour

0 against

6 abstentions

The President is now mandated to commence lobbying for the overseas compulsory year abroad fee in HumDiv to be set to the same level as the Home fee-status Year Abroad tuition fee with effect from 2021-22. They are also mandated to commence lobbying for the University to make public how the tuition fee for compulsory overseas year abroad students in Humanities Division (currently £10,625) is spent to individually benefit the student, and for the University to declare whether this fee represents the true cost of having an individual student enrolled at the university. Finally, it mandates the Oxford SU President to publish reports on lobbying progress once every 6 weeks.  

The final motion put before the student council to pass was proposed by the current VP for Charities and Community and a seconded by a student from New College.

The motion to support the University’s Sustainability Strategy, which commits the University to achieve net-zero carbon and biodiversity net gain by 2035, passed:

42 in favour

0 against

2 abstentions

The President is now mandated to speak in support of the Strategy at the next meeting of the University Council. The motion also mandates the VP Charities and Community to support the University to implement the strategy by providing representation on the newly formed committee and working with the University’s Sustainability team on projects relating to the strategy. 

The Student Council is the legislative assembly of the Oxford University Student Union (Oxford SU), made up of elected representatives of the study body, and represents more than 20,000 students at the University. Student Council convenes once every two weeks during full term, or 12 times a year.

Image Credit: anataman (overlay: Oxford SU)