On the evening of Thursday 10th October, The University of Nottingham hosted the first ever Extraordinary Union Council Meeting to cement the Union’s position as clearly holding pro-choice values.
Such a meeting occurs only when prevalent discussions of topic come to the surface. This Union Council meeting included the largest ever turn out evidencing the keen interest on this certain topic of discussion.
The meeting began with an introduction from the President of the University of Nottingham Students’ Union, James Pheasey, and Education Officer, Cassie Ulrich, who introduced the motion. The policy introduced positively affirmed the Union’s stance on the importance of reproductive autonomy and supporting members to enact that. This includes the recognition that abortion is legal as recognised by the United Nations in it’s sustainable development goals.
It was recognised by both the President and Education Officer that their core area of work is helping students find support and therefore signposting them to the services with the right expertise that can help them. Therefore, this came with the recognition that they do not possess all the knowledge, but, when appropriate seek expertise as misinformation can be dangerous.
In accordance to this, a peer reviewed and non-biased panel will be enacted to check any materials within the policy. Therefore, they will not be assessing the source but assessing that it is sourced with relevant scientific and factual information. The SU do not claim to be academic experts within this field and therefore academic referencing aims to combat any misunderstanding and misinformation.
When asked by an audience member what the purpose of the Student’s Union was, the President responded that,
“The Student’s Union is a charity with the objective to advance the education of students. An objective within that is the welfare of students. We are a membership organisation with a council here to vote. It is not just about us (pointing to himself and Education Officer, Cassie Ulrich).”
The pro-choice dictionary definition is as follows, “advocating the legal right of a woman to choose whether or not she will have an abortion”. Therefore, the beauty of this policy is that it supports you whichever side of the debate you are on. As Community Officer, Jacob Collier, noted,
“The SU is not imposing its will on people. We have a policy on Kosher meat but we don’t impose that on all of our students. This is about choice.”
An amendment to the motion to support women throughout their pregnancy if they choose to carry a baby full term was added.
The Council meeting ended with 19 votes cast and the motion passing unanimously. By the Students’ Union taking this stance, it recognises that they represent the collective democratic decision of its members.
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Featured image courtesy of Mia Haffety.
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