At their latest meeting Union Council banned sports clubs and societies from being sponsored by arms companies. Union policy on top-up fees was also amended.
Under the previous policy on the arms trade, clubs and societies were allowed to accept sponsorship from companies involved in the manufacture and sale of weapons. Union Council have now approved an amendment to the policy which bans clubs and societies from doing so. The debate in the Council meeting centred on the issue of freedom of choice. Stuart Thomson, Union President, opposed the amendment.
Last term, Council passed a controversial policy stating that the campaign on top-up fees was no longer a priority for the Union. The policy also stated that since there was a wide range of views on the issue, an open forum would be held to determine Union policy.
In the latest Council meeting, Mo Surve, the Students’ Union Education Officer, proposed a motion to modify this policy. Council unanimously approved the changes he suggested. The new policy states that the Union remains opposed to an above-inflation increase in fees, and the clause stating that the campaign on fees was no longer a priority was removed. The new policy also states that a debate about the National Union of Students’ Alternative Funding Model will be organised after the model is published. Surve said that any increase in fees was unlikely to happen before the next general election.
Thomson was also asked to reply to a letter signed by fifteen members of Union Council and published in the Boar. The letter criticised Thomson for branding the decisions of the Council “irresponsible.” Thomson replied by saying that he was going to follow Union Policy but that this would not prevent him from saying what he thought. The letter also questioned why Thomson was judging a talent show instead of attending the previous Council meeting. He replied that he did not regret attending the W-Factor, the talent show referred to in the letter, as this allowed him to communicate with students who do not normally interact with the Union.