Tara's November Update

CW: sexual harassment/violence

At the very start of this month we recruited Amelia, our Admin Assistant for the upcoming Against Sexual Violence Campaign. She’ll be managing a group of student trainers - more info on that below!

That same week I also attended a really interesting training session by the Refugee Support Network titled ‘Access to HE for young refugees, asylum seekers and survivors of trafficking’, giving an oversight of what local councils as well as other HE institutions have been doing to support those students, sharing best practice and getting some new ideas. Plus, as the only SU rep in the room, spreading propaganda of the value of including SUs in that work!

After Goldsmiths ISOC (Islamic Society) brought forward the issue of space during Friday Prayer, I’ve been in conversations with the University on finding a new temporary space. We’ve begun to look at prayer spaces in general and what possibilities there are for new and improved spaces - so keep an eye out for more on that.

The following week I attended the UUK (Universities UK) 'Tackling Violence Against Women, Harassment and Hate Crime Affecting University Students', the third conference by UUK on the topic and the second conference after they published their report on sexual harassment last year. Although I was only able to attend in the morning, it was really encouraging that (compared to last year's conference) the discourse around sexual harassment and violence was less focused on the criminal aspects and more on how best to support survivors.

I also attended a really interesting workshop (pictured below is the amazing Alison Phipps) by a group of academics from Sussex where we dissected our relationships to the concepts of power and trust, and specifically within our institutions (hmu if you wanna hear my thoughts lol).

Also very happy to have heard some (though not enough) speakers acknowledging the work of students and the student movement in pushing universities to recognise the duty they have to support students. Finally, huge shout-out to NUS Women's Campaign who unfortunately weren't enabled to present their work at the conference but have been doing amazing work over the past few years. Together with the 1752 Group they’ve also launched the first ever national survey into staff-student sexual misconduct.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to stick around all day, but instead came back to be at our Part Time Officer training. I gave a quick overview of Liberation and its importance, as well as the history of and context behind the Liberate My Degree campaign - from a few of us Women of Colour complaining to each other about the University's lack of representation, to it now being the first point on the Goldsmiths Learning and Teaching Strategy 2017-2022. Blog post on the context and timeline of the campaign will be up soon.

That same week I also began to think about a strategy for Liberation at the SU. What does Liberation at Goldsmiths look like? How can we improve? Consultations with Part-Time Liberation Officers soon come!

Last week I joined the National Demo for Free Education in Central London with a number of SUs around the country (and had a bunch of old white men tell me to go back to my country after making a joke about fees and debts loooool). Really great to see the NUS Liberation Campaigns be represented there too, and NUS VP UD Ali Milani.

 

UPCOMING:

I’ve also been planning various things for Liberation Months. Next up is a panel on the 30th of December to wrap up Islamophobia Awareness Month - more exciting info on that soon!

We're now advertising for five (paid!) Student Trainer opportunities to deliver a Bystander Intervention and Consent Programme in the next term for New Joiners. This is a completely new thing we’re developing, in partnership with the Uni and Rape Crisis South London. Here's the link to find out more about the roles and apply! Apart from that we will be organising an open meeting for all those who’d like to be involved in the bigger Against Sexual Violence campaign.

On Tuesday (21st) I’ll be out to do some surveying on sexual harassment and what students think of the University’s response to sexual harassment.

I’ll also be presenting to the University’s Council with Eva on who we are as an SU, what our priorities are, and what they can do to support us (£££? whaaaat?)

Also - BIG IMPORTANT EVENT - the Warden’s Open Meeting!! If you’ve got any questions you’d like to ask Pat the Warden then submit them here in advance, or tweet us on the day @goldsmithssu!

Last week, an article came out in the Guardian with the title ‘Do Universities have a problem with promoting their BAME staff?’ Yes. 100% they do. Can’t count the amount of times that I’ve walked into a committee meeting and I’ve been the only PoC (person of colour) in the room. This week I’m gonna attend a University-provided Unconscious Bias training session to explore what more we can do to ensure that this doesn’t happen anymore. Cause... promise this is me every time:

Working on various other projects: BME attainment, and following a BBC article on Library fines - Goldsmiths is ranked #6 in London, with earnings of £218,806 over a 3 year period. If you divide this number by the number of students here, it puts Goldsmiths at the very top for library fines for every student!!

Tl;dr: I been doing things.