February 2016

Voting for the February 2016 Yes or No referendum took place between Monday 8th and Friday 12th February 2016, and the seven ideas and the voting results can be found below. Click here for the recap!

 

Should the Students’ Union take a stance against the PREVENT agenda?

Submitted by Sayed Alkadiri: The government’s Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a statutory requirement on public bodies – including universities – to ’prevent people being drawn into terrorism’ and to implement the ‘PREVENT’ agenda. Under the PREVENT agenda lecturers across the country have been known to report students as being ‘at risk of radicalisation’ for anything from taking an interest in political affairs in class to observing their religion more closely, whilst politically active students have found themselves visited by counter-terrorism officers.

As charities, Students’ Union are not legally bound to comply or engage with PREVENT. Universities should be places for education, not surveillance. Any expectation by the state for academic staff to be involved in monitoring their students is deeply worrying, and will have a chilling effect on relations between staff and students. The implementation of the PREVENT  strategy on campus will not only isolate Muslim students but undermine the civil liberties of other groups such as environmental, political and humanitarian activists.

MDXSU should take a stance the PREVENT agenda by:

  • Not supporting the PREVENT strategy unless legally required to do so.
  • Issuing a public statement condemning the PREVENT strategy for the impact it has on Middlesex students.
  • Lobbying the university to be more open and transparent about how they are engaging with PREVENT and other similar initiatives.
  • Joining the NUS ‘Students not Suspects’ campaign and raise awareness on campus about the dangers of the PREVENT strategy.

Result: Passed

 

Should the university provide temporary accommodation to homeless students?

Submitted by Aman Siddiqi: Student housing is a huge concern at Middlesex and the University doesn't do enough to support students who are homeless or may be in an accommodation crisis. 

17% of Middlesex students drop out every single year. While we know that drop-out rates in halls are slightly lower, this still suggests that at least 1 in 10 rooms are vacant. What are the university doing with these rooms? 

These rooms should be kept vacant and allocated to students in crisis. This may include students who are temporarily homeless, estranged from their parents or families.

MDXSU should lobby the University to provide temporary accommodation to homeless students.

Result: Passed

 

Should the university provide microwaves for students on campus?

Submitted by Camilla Silva: Not every student wishes to buy food from the outlets on campus. Some students may have food allergies which mean they can’t eat the food on campus or they simply can’t afford to buy a meal on campus every time they come to a class. However, because the University does not provide microwaves for students on campus they have to eat cold meals or eat the food cold because they can’t warm it up.

Having microwaves available on campus would be an easy and fast solution for students with special food requirements such as allergies, intolerances, coeliacs, vegans or simply people that want to bring their own food. 

MDXSU should lobby the University to provide microwaves for students to use on campus.

Result: Passed

 


 

In line with our constitution, to ensure that the results of the referendum are representative of the views of the MDX student body as a whole, each idea needs to receive a certain number of votes as a percentage of the entire student population. If it passes this threshold it is deemed "quorate".

 

Unfortunately the following ideas didn't receive the required number of overall votes (whether in favour or against), and so cannot be passed.

 

Should the Students’ Union have a zero tolerance stance towards sexual harassment on campus?

Submitted by Sayed Alkadiri: All Middlesex students have the right to live, study, work and relax in an environment where they feel safe and are free from any form of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment should not be tolerated by MDXSU & Middlesex University, and those who commit acts of sexual harassment should be stopped and disciplined for their actions. Everyone has a responsibility to make MDXSU and our University a safe space for all students.

MDXSU should take zero tolerance stance to sexual harassment by:

  • Reviewing and strengthening disciplinary procedures for acts of sexual harassment at MDXSU events.
  • Adopting of a ‘Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment’ policy that applies to the harassment of any and all genders and extends across all SU activities and events.
  • Mandating and supporting the MDXSU ‘Call It Out’ Campaign to educate on and act against harassment
  • Calling on the University to develop robust and effective measures to improve the safety of the campus environment and the wellbeing of our students, including issues such as CCTV and security staffing, training and procedures

Result: Did not reach quoracy (the threshold number of total votes to be deemed representative)

 

Should the Students’ Union have a zero tolerance stance towards ‘Lad Culture’?

Submitted by Sayed Alkadiri: According to the National Union of Students’ (NUS) Lad Culture report That’s What She Said, ‘Lad Culture’ is defined as a group or ‘pack’ mentality residing in activities such as sports and heavy alcohol consumption, and ‘banter’ which is often sexist, misogynistic, and homophobic.

All students should be free from intimidation or harassment resulting from prejudice or discrimination on ground of age, disability, marital or maternity/paternity status, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, trans status, socio-economic status, ideology or culture, or any other form of distinction.

Lad Culture encourages ‘banter’ that is sexist, misogynistic, homophobic, racist and classist. Lad Culture is a term that attaches a veneer of respectability to what’s really “sexism with an alibi”, and produces the fatalistic “boys-will-be-boys” dismissal.

MDXSU should take a zero tolerance approach to ‘Lad Culture’ by:

  • Supporting the MDXSU Women’s Assembly campaign to tackle Lad Culture at Middlesex
  • Supporting the MDXSU Women’s Assembly to develop workshops on Lad Culture, and help deliver them to key stakeholders within the university and the students’ union – including University Senior Management, MDXSU Staff & Sports Captains.
  • Developing a joint action plan with the University to tackle lad culture at Middlesex University
  • Working with the University to integrate Lad Culture into existing university policies on equality & diversity and bullying and harassment

Result: Did not reach quoracy (the threshold number of total votes to be deemed representative)

 

Should the Students’ Union campaign for the resettlement of Syrian refugees into our local community, Barnet?

Submitted by Sayed Alkadiri: Since March 2011, an estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes to take refuge, and these numbers are constantly increasing.

The UK has a moral obligation to help those fleeing conflict and violence by providing a place for refuge.

In July 2015, MDXSU Vice President Sayed Alkadiri launched a joint campaign with Citizens UK to convince Barnet council to resettle 50 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees residing in camps in Lebanon. On the 20th of October 2015, Barnet councillors voted unanimously in favour of a cross party motion to resettle 50 Syrian refugees in Barnet.

MDXSU should continue the campaign for the resettlement of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees into Barnet by:

  • Mandating and supporting the Syrian Refugees Campaign, by supporting its development as it goes into the next stages of preparing a welcome for the refugees.
  • Lobbying  Middlesex University to provide open classes and lectures (i.e. English language support) for refugees who wish to access educational facilities, as well as facilitating social learning in community environments to welcome refugees and help them access public services.
  • To lobby Middlesex University to look into an annual humanitarian scholarship scheme for refugees
  • To oppose and condemn the demonisation of innocent refugees coming here for shelter, and ensure the debate around the crisis is not neglected once mainstream media coverage ceases

Result: Did not reach quoracy (the threshold number of total votes to be deemed representative)

 

Should there be more vegetarian and vegan options on campus?

Submitted by Jack Allan: The current choice of vegetarian and vegan food options on campus is lacking. Within MDX House there are multiple outlets which sell food but most of the meals are meat based dishes. If there are vegetarian options then they are not delicious dishes but rather meat dishes minus the meat.

Middlesex University has a diverse student population and so food options must reflect those students who follow plant based diets for religious, cultural or personal reasons.

MDXSU should lobby the University to provide more vegetarian and vegan food options on campus.

Result: Did not reach quoracy (the threshold number of total votes to be deemed representative)