Your Union Zone

Posted on March 21, 2012

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Tomorrow has the most ideas submitted to a democratic zone ever so there may be a fair shaping of the direction that Kent Union takes for the next year. I thought I’d post this just to make it easier to share all of the ideas that have been submitted.
 
It is scheduled for the Rutherford Junior Common Room at 6pm [behind Rutherford bar] but keep an ear out for a room change for tomorrow night.

Your Idea:
Medway students should have transport links or subsidies to travel to Canterbury so they can use their main campus facilities and resources, including the students’ union.
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Reasons:
Medway students pay the same in fees as Canterbury students yet get considerably less for it.

Your Idea:
The Universities at Medway Students’ Association urgently needs more funding, the zone should call for more to be done for Medway students – who pay the same fees as those on the main campuses.
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Reasons:
Currently we get 80% less Sports & Society development funding than Canterbury does for example. We also have less facilities and venue space (one 200 person student bar for a campus f almost 10,000 students).

Your Idea:
The Make Medway Matter campaign, a campaign currently running on the Medway campus to highlight the issues of Medway students and seeking to lobby the three institutions present at Medway needs the support of students and the unions at the main campuses but is finding it very hard to get. This zone should commit to offering the campaign its support in lobbying the relevant people and groups.
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Reasons:
Make Medway Matter is a campaign run by Medway student for Medway students and is aimed at giving the campus a louder voice. The fact it can’t even get support from the three students’ union when it is not only a popular cause but also a pure student-led movement just shows how Medway students simply do not have a proper voice in union issues, even with huge Medway issues.

Your Idea:
– Full time sabbatical officers for Medway (one per uni present on the campus)
– A more independent students’ union for Medway students
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Reasons:
– Current sabb officers will never dedicate enough time for the 10% of students at Medway, right now it’s like trying to convince MPs at Westminster to go to town council meetings

– What makes sense if fulltime officers down in Medway & elected in Medway by Medway students going to the relevant meetings in Canterbury

– Part-time officers as currently exist do not have the time to travel to each of the main campuses to attempt to address issues in their remit for the three universities at Medway; currently they’re trying to get to three times the amount of important meetings you’d expect a rep at Canterbury to be attending.

Your Idea:
Election candidates should have to gain a higher number of nominations, in a petition format, before they are declared a candidate. This would work by submitting two on the site and adding an additional deadline where the candidates submit a form signed by a required number of proposers.
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Reasons:
Increased participation, if you sign for a candidate you are possibly more likely to campaign for them and even vote for them.

Increased accountability in elections, when submitting the form the candidate is proving that their campaign will be a worthwhile one.

All the candidates’ ideas would have been heard by a percentage of the student body before the elections.

The signing of the form, makes it easier for the staff, rather than sending around 250 personalised emails.

Increases competition before the election run.

At the moment there is no accountability for nominations.

You can even use current student’s names taken from FACEBOOK, whether you know them or not, there is no communication from Kent Union to the proposers.

Making sure that the election process is transparent.

Your Idea:
Those elected to the ‘Your Union’ committee would be assigned a particular seat on the five sub-committees that are most prominent within its remit: SocFedCom, SportsFedExec, VolCom, Inquire and RaG. There would be two seats for ordinary members.
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Reasons:
Drawing together discussions that the five sub-committees have to give an informed view on policy brought to the zone.

The zone still remains open, as they are not elected into these roles. Only as ‘Your Union’ Committee Member.

It solidifies ‘Your Union’s remit, and can stop duplicating discussions, and highlights key issues that are shared between the five committees.

Increases the representation for these committees. For example from one voting member to two.

Your Idea:
Union Council should be once every 6 weeks. This being, 1 in Week 6, Week 12, Week 18, and Week 24 and one in the summer term.

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Reasons:
Increases accountability for elected officers.

Other than this, this is a discussion point. As it will have to go up Union Council itself.

Your Idea:
A new committee would be set up consisting of four elected Vice Chairs of Union Coucil each with a remit relevant to the zones. When the deadline for zone ideas has passed- the ideas are divided up by the committee and sent to the relevant zone meetings.

This committee would have the power to strike down an idea by a unanimous vote, send it to an all-student vote or pass it straight to Union Council.

The Union Chair would chair this meeting with support by staff.

The Vice Chairs would chair each zone meeting within their remit.

The elections for these Vice-Chairs would be done in the October part-time Student Elections.

No member of Union Council could run for these positions without forfeiting their vote.
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Reasons:
This can increase student control over ideas passed to the zones

This releases Sabatical officers allowing them to participate in the discussion in the zones.

The chair would be non-bias.

An amount of accountability of the sabbatical officers would be gained bvack if they are not chairing the meeting

These would be part-time officers for Unuion COuncil and thus increaeing the transparety of the council in the student body.

This would be a non-voting position

Your Idea:
A full time Medway officer to sit on the same committees, and attend the same meetings, as other sabbatical representatives at Kent Union.
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Reasons:
Improving Medway is a big task. There are structural problems which come with shared university facilities and there are loss making ventures such as Cooper’s, as well as a lack of transport, and a general funding deficit. These problems need to be tackled by somebody who is dedicated to these causes and these causes alone. They need to be tackled, first and foremost, by somebody who can spend enough time on the campus to understand its failings as well as its scope for improvement.
We cannot expect the current system to deliver any kind of university experience to those at Medway because there simply isn’t anybody with enough time or resources to dedicate themselves to students in this way.

I talked to the Activities Officer at this year’s hustings and found out that last year he had spent a total of six hours on this campus.
To add insult to injury, these meetings were shared with UMSA, meaning that our only rep spent most of those six hours listening to unrelated grievances from Christ Church and Greenwich which were completely outside of his purview. This has to change.
As somebody who feels passionately about implementing a more effective system, I have spoken to many Medway students about this subject, and I have literally never met a student in this area who was aware of the difference between the Canterbury and Medway campus before they arrived. This is, in part, owed to the lack of clarity on your website. Many feel duped.
My friend came from a countryside town and was ostracised throughout secondary school for being gay. He thought that coming to university would be a chance to feel accepted and become part of the LGBT community which the University of Kent websites so proudly publicised.
When he started his journalism course two years ago, however, he was sent to Medway, where there was not so much as an LGBT society. There wasn’t even transport available to attend the very activities in Canterbury which influenced his multi-thousand pound decision. He was stuck in the same rut as before and felt like giving up his course, one of the best in the country, because of his surroundings. I know from talking to others that this is not a lone example.
It has become clear that things have not changed much. But, next year, they will. Students will be paying three times as much, and the duplicity will be much crueller.
There is no reason why Medway opportunities cannot be expanded; there is no reason why the range of successful courses such as Journalism, Sports Science, and Pharmacy at Medway cannot be increased. But we need we need to take action which will make this change efficient, democratic, quick, and fair. This will only happen if the decisions are made by people familiar with this campus.
I know many students upset with accommodation, educational facilities, funding, societies, and transport. Yet, when UMSA tried to hold a forum on these issues, the only Kent student to turn up was me. Why? Because students know what action makes a difference and which actions are ineffectual.
Please give 2000 students the right to have their voices heard and the right to take part in something meaningful. We paid the same amount of money as Canterbury students, we worked just as hard at A level, so let us a representative who can deliver us some of the same rewards.

Your Idea:
To find a more suitable space for a Laundrette in Parkwood and to lobby the University to build a facility ideal for all of Parkwood houses students.

There are areas in Parkwood more accessible and suitable for a Laundrette- and that are could be better utalised
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Reasons:
We in Parkwood Comitte think there is an issue with the Laundrette used for most of Parkwood students.

Machines are old and often break down, the room is not suitable to the student needs

Your Idea:
To make the union purchase and install a card machine in the library cafe.

I feel that as an avid library user, a card machine in the library cafe would be beneficial, not only to increase the revenue that the cafe could receive, as students instead walk to essentials. But it will also mean that students who have a lot of work on, don’t need to leave the library.
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Reasons:
Every other union outlet on campus has card machine availability. There is no reason that the library cafe should not have a card machine, as the reason for it being near the banks is mute. This is because both venue, essentials, extras, woodys and unique are all next to cash points.

Your Idea:
The university should pay for notice boards to be put up around Parkwood in areas that are commonly used by students, whether in the middle of courts, or on the ends of each courts. This will engage students more, gain more participation from Parkwood and also aid the collegiate selling point that the university strives for, by having college notices on there as well.
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Reasons:
Parkwood, as everyone knows, has the most students living in one area, and in the absence of the Master’s system, it is important that students are engaged and kept informed. The rest of the accommodation have notice boards around their areas, not just within the kitchens, which are provided for by the university. These notice boards are a key aspect of university life and Parkwood committee would like to see this extended to Parkwood as a whole.

Your Idea:
The Union should lobby the University, specifically the School of Arts to ensure that students are able to use rooms and facilities within the University for activities for free, or if not, at least at a reduced cost.
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Reasons:
It has been made aware that the School of Arts charges students to use its rooms, that would be otherwise unused, when booking activity space for societies.

Students of the university already pay for the facilities in an education capacity, however, where does the university draw the line on the remit of tuition fees?
With fees increasing dramatically, it is time that the university increased it’s value for money and flexibility for students.

Your Idea:
It is well known that there is a need for a communal computer room area in Parkwood, as although it is not technically a college, it houses the largest concentration of students.
I propose that Kent Union are mandated to lobby the University to provide a communal computer room in Parkwood.
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Reasons:
Parkwood Students currently have to go onto main campus to access computer and printing facilities, which is impractical for many.
A communal area would also help strengthen the community aspect of Parkwood.

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