student.union@newcastle.ac.uk

End of Term Report - May

Reflections and updates on my last term at NUSU!

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What have you done this term?  

Support for Student Sex Workers 

  • My main project for this term has been focused on supporting student sex workers. This began by researching and attending training on the subject. I then wrote a ‘Supporting Student Sex Workers’ council motion, policy and am currently working on a toolkit for staff and students so they can gain more understanding on sex work, legalities, support networks and handling disclosures.  

Responding to the crisis in Ukraine  

  • The situation in Ukraine has undoubtedly affected many of our students and offering support has been a huge priority for the Union. We have supported student fundraisers, held a vigil, liaised with the University on various matters for students such as, accommodations, visas, mental health support, helping students abroad return home, affiliations with Russia, CARA fellowships, being a twin university, Homes for Ukraine Scheme and lastly, Abbie has been working on joining up with STAR to provide direct support to refugees.  

LGBTQ+ Safe Space  

  • After finally gaining acceptance of our project request, the proposal now has a project manager and we are making money moves on the LGBTQ+ Safe Space. The finish date must be no later than the 31st of July.  

PEC Review  

  • Throughout the course of the year, Livia and I have been reviewing the PEC system and making changes where we can. After an in-depth consultation period, the final changes go to Executive board this month. My involvement in this has been centered around removing barriers to PECS, language and shining a light on how different marginalized students would interact with and use PECs.  

Improving conditions for BAME students in uni accommodation 

  • A collaboration project with Unite Students and the University Accommodation, this initiative aims to make student accommodation more inclusive for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Students and improve mental health provisions for all students. I have fed into this through using student voice and bringing ideas to the table on policy, practice, and communication to students.  

Review Decolonisng NCL campaign 

  • The Education Officer and Postgraduate Officer and I have been renewing the Decolonising NCL campaign started last year and how we can progress it further. Our ultimate goals are for the University to take on the ownership of this project, implement the necessary structures for its success and permanently employ an expert to provide guidance to staff and students looking to decolonise. To ensure this we began by updating and refreshing the website. We then sent emails to heads of school and any other relevant bodies, asking them to visit the website and make a pledge. I am delighted to announce that two additional schools have pledged to decolonise with more working on pledges currently. We also invited staff to take part in a quick survey on the campaign which would be used to inform a report asking for the goals above. At the same time, we have been championing these goals in meetings which has lead to the University giving more ownership of Decol to the REC and Inclusive Newcastle.  

Racial Equality Charter Student Work Stream  

  • As co-chair I have worked with the team creating the Student Work Stream submission. Being a multipronged approach, the plan has an ambitious number of targets, but is focused on recruitment, sense of belonging, academic experience, and financial support. 

Spiking Incidents 

  • Following the meeting with licensing departments, they have agreed to look into creating a sexual violence and harassment protocol that factors in spiking. They have also agreed to take on board many of our suggestions and ensure that future policy reflects the diversity of our community. My priority following the meeting has been ensuring there is a succinct mitigation plan for summer and next Freshers.  

Officer Handovers 

  • I have been working on my handover document for the lovely Aleena!  

University Meetings and Charters  

  • Racial Equality Charter  

  • Racial Equality Charter Student Workstream  

  • Mental Health Charter  

  • Mental Health Charter Support Workstream  

  • Athena Swan   

  • Inclusive Newcastle   

  • University of Sanctury   

  • Alcohol and Drugs Working Group  

  • Senate  

  • EDI Committee   

  • Children and Youth NUCORE  

  • Students in Newcastle Forum   

  • Students in Newcastle Forum Health and Wellbeing Sub-group. 

  • Environment and Sustainability Committee   

  • Changing the Cultures   

What has been your biggest achievement? 

The Sex Worker Policy and Toolkit for sure. It means a lot to me to shed light on such an important but highly stigmatized career. Due to the lack of protection for sex workers and the secretive nature of the industry people engaging in sex work can easily become an incredibly vulnerable population – so to help where I can is definitely a huge achievement.  

What could you have improved on? 

I only work two days a week at the moment so truthfully my email inbox has been neglected. In addition, time management and tying up loose ends in the short period I have left has been a bit intense.  
  

What piece of advice would you pass on to your successor? 

Well, I’ve already wrote a page of advice for her so I won't ramble on, but I would say the top three are:  

  • Trust Yourself  

  • Take Care of Yourself  

  • Don’t forget to HAVE FUN! 

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