On Thursday November 1st, Student Assembly met to debate and create new, representative policy. During this meeting, LGBT+ Officer Finn Grice proposed a motion for the Union to formally acknowledge the unique challenges faced by LGBT+ students, to provide greater resources for the reporting of homophobic and transphobic hate crime, and to promote a platform that empowers LGBT+ students to report.
Finn gave a moving speech to support their motion, and detailed personal experiences of harassment. They also shared the stories of LGBT+ friends, all Brunel students, who have been on the receiving end of targeted physical and verbal harassment whilst on campus. Finn underlined the day-to-day lives of LGBT+ students and the necessity for greater support and resources to become available.
A featured mandate for this motion was the establishment and promotion of an accessible reporting platform. In the discussion that followed Finns’ speech, a suggestion was made to use and advertise the University’s ‘Report and Support’ platform. This tool allows students and staff members to report an incident or concern, with the option to do so anonymously. It also signposts reportees to specialised support available. This promotion of this platform, and more broadly, the overall reassessment of the current reporting and disciplinary system, will help LGBT+ students to feel that their voices are being heard, and ensure that they will be safer on campus. The motion passed, and subsequently, the Union will commit to abide by what has been mandated. The Union will be liaising with the University to advertise its’ “Report and Support” service.
The Student Assembly also voted in favour of changing the way in which it functions. There will now be three less meetings annually and the introduction of electronic voting. These changes will ultimately improve participation among members, and allow the Union to publish how members of Student Assembly vote. In addition, the Democracy and Scrutiny Committees within the Student Assembly will be merged and restructured. This will also improve participation, enhance the quality of discussion in meetings and streamline important decision making.