The Student Union Council convened this Thursday evening, 26th November, in order to determine key motions.
Each motion passed, according to Student Union Council rules, will stand for the duration of three years. The 427th Student Union Council meeting largely focused on environmental issues.
The first motion in favour of the University of Nottingham campaigning against fracking was presented by Elisabeth Charbonneau, a member of Frack Free Nottinghamshire, that addressed the environmental as well as the economic aspects of this issue.
The controversial process that would be used to obtain shale gas was put under scrutiny by the Council with points raised by many members, including Environmental & Social Justice network officer, Tom Parker.
The Council evaluated the stance that the University should take. This comes in response to Government plans to increase onshore fracking that could directly influence Nottingham.
Nottingham County Council stated, in a fracking information document, that “developing onshore oil and gas reserves…could provide greater security of energy supply”. The United States of America has implemented a similar model in recent years.
Currently, areas under consideration include Chilwell, Beeston as well as Wollaton. These proposals do not hold any special safeguarding for park areas such as Wollaton park.
The Student Union Council unanimously passed the motion to campaign against fracking.
The next two motions also developed on from the environmental theme to discuss whether the University should consider divesting from fossil fuel companies and reinvest such investment in renewable energy.
The motion taken forward by Rachel Eyles, a second year Natural Sciences student, declared that it is “unethical and conflicts with the policies set out by the University” to continue such investment. The University and the Student Union have two separate investment portfolios as the latter is set up as a registered charity.
The University Park Campus has consistently been awarded for its sustainability winning the Civic Trust Green Flag Award every year since 2003.
The University of Nottingham’s current portfolio totals nearly £4 million pounds worth of investment in fossil fuels at the market value of 31st July 2014. This constitutes 11.08% of all investment.
The University currently states that its ethical investment procedures that it refrains from investing in companies whose main part of business involves environmental damage, sale of armaments to military regimes and sale of tobacco products amongst others key ethical commitments.
Both motions in favour of divesting from fossil fuel were also unanimously passed.
Finally, the Council looked at the motion put forward by Scott Jennings, Societies Coordinator for the Environmental & Social Justice network, to review democratic structures reforms and engagement. Some degree of support for the motion was shown but a split vote occurred in large part because of the raft of different points within the motion.
It will therefore be put forward as a referendum to the larger student community. Impact News will provide more details on this proposal as this develops as well as details on how and when to vote.
Image: blinking idiot via Flickr