Student Assembly met for their second session of the academic year on Thursday November 29th. As the highest decision-making body of the Union, Student Assembly generates healthy debate on campus and ultimately creates important, representative policy. During this meeting, Union President Ranjeet Rathore proposed a motion for the Union to acknowledge the diverse religious commitments of staff and students, and to subsequently lobby the University for the creation of a Multi-Faith Room. Changes were also made to the eligibility for Part-time Officer roles.
Ranjeet detailed the current inadequate situation on campus for students who wish to practice their religion on campus, describing instances of students praying in-between book aisles within the library and experiences of hostility and harassment whilst doing so. He highlighted the severity of what is happening, and how current facilities fail to fulfil the needs of a multi-cultural, modern University. Ranjeet underlined the importance of religious identity to student and staff members, the requirement of Brunel to provide an inclusive studying and working environment, and the protected rights that everyone has to practice their own respective religion.
As a solution, Ranjeet proposed the creation of a Multi-Faith Room in a central area on campus, that both students and staff can access 24-hours a day. This room would facilitate personal religious or spiritual activity, catering to the needs of any person of faith at the University. This important addition to the campus, in Ranjeet’s view, would make the University far more welcoming and accessible for the students who want to practice their religion at Brunel, and better equipped for staff members. This motion passed and as such, the Union and Ranjeet himself will lobby the University for a Multi-Faith Room.
Student Assembly also voted in favour of Representative Electorates for Officer Positions. Previously, Part-Time Officer roles that were not within the Liberation category could be filled by students who are not a member of the group they would be representing. As a result, in this election cycle our elected Part-time and Mature Officer, who has now resigned, was neither a Part-time or Mature Student. The Disability Officer, Sean Cullen proposed a motion to amend this going forward, and to ensure that nominations are only from the group the post is intending to represent. As a result, there will be better engagement with and representation of the specific group. This passed unanimously.
Overall, the creation of a Multi-Faith Room on campus will enrich the University and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to freely practice their faith. This will be a collaborative effort with the University, and is expected to require a consultation period. Additionally, the new policy that now changes the eligibility for students nominating themselves for Part-time Officer roles will result in Officers that better reflect and represent the interests of their respective group.