Liberation Policy Proposals

Following the policy ballot which closed on Friday 15 May at 12 noon, we can now reveal the policies you chose to be discussed at NUS Liberation Conference. The policy proposals you selected are:

Decolonisation
The Gender Recognition Act
Liberating Education.

The policies put forward were:

Brexit

This policy proposes that the least consenting groups, young and marginalised groups including students who identify into all five liberation campaign, will be negatively impacted the most by the UK leaving the European Union. Additionally, the educational and economic impact of additional barriers for EEA nationals will affect students academic communities, research, and learning. The policy proposes that freedom of movement and students identity as European citizens should be upheld, in particular on human rights grounds; student and knowledge movement opportunities such as Erasmus+ and Horizon should be maintained; and the Charter of Fundamental Rights should become UK law.

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Careers Education

This policy proposes that the model of careers provision is inequitable, and replicates socioeconomic, institution and systemic discrimination. Students in liberation groups experience Solutions include institutions taking responsibility for inclusive careers education, linked to social mobility and representation agendas. Careers reform should be linked to existing work on race and gender equality strategies. The policy notes it is particularly key to involve all liberation groups working collectively on reform, including when engaging with wider stakeholders such as local government and business groups.

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Climate Activism

As acknowledged in policy passed at the 2020 NUS conference, the Climate Crisis is one of the greatest issues of our time. Climate activism is, therefore, rightly becoming more and more prominent across campuses. It is, however, necessary to acknowledge the ways in which such activism can exclude or even negatively affect liberation groups. This policy calls the NUS to encourage student activists, SUs, and HE and FE institutions to consider the disableist, classist and racist aspects of climate activism as it stands. Furthermore, it is vital to ensure that the effects on liberation groups are taken into consideration before any climate policy is passed.

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Decolonisation

The policy proposes that present day colonialism has shaped the structures of oppression in society; this includes misogyny, queerphobia, and ablelism as well as racism. As decolonising education has become a widespread discussion, the policy proposes widening the discussion beyond reading lists and to colonial institutional structures across our entire education system. The solution proposed includes accessible political education on decolonisation and relating to all our liberation groups, and adopting collective responsibility.  This education should highlight the links between historical and present day colonialism, destructive capitalism and the environmental crisis, and marketisation.

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Disability Discrimination

This policy states that many disabled students face discrimination regarding their impairments every day, and many have experienced bullying, including from teachers, tutors and lecturers. Disabled students should have arrangements made accessible for them. The policy proposes that accessibility requires teachers, tutors and lecturers need to undertake training to understand disability, and that disabled students are enabled to feed back the issues they experience. The policy also proposes disabled activists must inform the reform of disabled rights in Northern Ireland.

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Gender Recognition Act

This policy highlights risks to transgender people’s access to healthcare following government announcements, in particular 16 and 17 year olds in further education. The issue is current in the context of Gender Recognition Act reform, coupled with transphobia within the British Press, and parties hostile to trans rights on healthcare. The proposal brings together the LGBT+, Women’s and Trans campaigns to address and undo the narrative that these groups have mutually exclusive rights. The policy highlights that political education and a national effort are required in order to ensure access to healthcare for trans students.

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Healthcare

Despite the Uk’s free at the point of use system Healthcare is not an inclusive and universally accessible service. The inequalities that persist in the healthcare system across the UK are vast and affect the students we represent across all liberation groups within the student population. These range from access to reproductive healthcare, sexual healthcare, transition-related healthcare in addition to barriers for migrant women and women of colour in mortality rates across the health system. NUS should be campaigning for a variety of interventions in the provision of healthcare in the UK to increase and improve provision of healthcare services that affect students of all backgrounds and identities.

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International Solidarity

Policy was passed at National Conference 2020 in relation to climate justice. This is a proposal which aims to complement that by looking at other issues where students can input into international campaigns in relation to three specific countries, Hungary, Brazil and Palestine. In these countries, we see violations of students rights to education, principles of academic freedom and the human rights abuses more broadly. In this context, we need to campaign to get students educated and motivated to work on these issues, and develop relationships of solidarity with relevant organisations in the UK and in each relevant country.

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Liberating Education

This policy proposal aims to radically change our education system to put liberation issues at its core. It would seek to carry forward improvements to accessibility post Covid-19.

Inequality and inaccessibility are rife in our education systems. This can be seen to manifest in awarding gaps between Black and white students, and disabled and non-disabled students; it can be seen in the physical inaccessibility of university buildings and accommodation; in the justification of transphobia in academia as “freedom of speech” in the gender and ethnicity pay gap across the sector; to name only a few examples.

This policy addresses issues such as unfair hardship fund criteria, the expensive and time consuming admin work we have to do to access support, and to challenge the government and our institutions on ensuring work is produced with us, for us.

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Amendment to Liberating Education: Hate Crime Reporting

Hate crime and harassment are challenges faced disproportionately by black, LGBT+, Trans and Women students. Nationally, data suggests that the number of hate crime incidents have increased drastically over the last few years, especially in offenses linked to sexual orientation and transgender identity. In the Higher Education sector, the number of racial harassments reported to universities are also rising. A number of high-profile cases of racial harassment and gender-based violence have been reported at a number of universities such as Exeter, Warwick, and Cambridge. We also know that inadequate support is in place to ensure victims of hate crimes and harassment get justice and ensure these vulnerable students are safeguarded. This needs to change.

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Neurodiversity

This policy proposes that practice enabling access to adjustments relating to neurodiversity systematically excludes individuals on the basis of gender and race. This has ongoing impacts around education, financial and mental health for students. There are systemic barriers around accessing information and that information is not suitable for all neurodiverse people. These barriers contribute to stigma. The policy proposes mandatory screening for all, and compulsory training on multiple oppressions neurodiverse individuals face, as well as a broader institutional responsibility for the impacts of individuals’ neurodiversity in education, such as additional costs and stigma.

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Polyamory/Non-monogamy Discrimination

This policy highlights that polyamory/non-monogamy, where individuals enter into relationships with more than one person with the informed consent of all involved, are not recognised by government, are not protected from educational discrimination, and are not referred to by equality rights frameworks. This policy proposes that in order to address discrimination or abuse polyamorous people experience, the Equality Act or other delegates legislation regulating equality rights across the United Kingdom should be amended to include and protect polyamorous and non-monogamous people, including in education.

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