The All Student Vote takes place once every Term. Students can propose motions that are put up to vote. If the motion passes, it is put into SU policy.
Image: Nick Alford / The Boar
Image: Nick Alford / The Boar
This term’s All Student Vote (ASV) run by Warwick Students’ Union (SU) has seen the highest voter turnout on record, while support for online teaching was overturned.
The ASV saw over 6,000 individual voters taking part, breaking the voter turnout record for the second time this year.
Last academic year’s Term 2 vote saw a record of over 3,000 voters. However, this term’s vote saw the number of individual voters more than double.
Just over five times more students voted this term compared to last year’s Term 1 ASV.
The number of votes cast was 21,405, almost 20,000 higher than last term’s ASV and almost 15,000 more than last year’s vote in Term 2.
All the motions received at least 3,000 total votes. Only one motion achieved this number across all the ASVs last year, with most failing to reach over 1,500 total votes.
A majority of the motions, three out of the five, failed to carry. This is a change from the previous two academic years. None of the ASVs last year saw a majority of motions not carried, and in the year 2018/19 all of the motions were undertaken as official SU policy.
Images: Nick Alford / The Boar
Warwick SU supports UCU's call for online teaching
The motion for Warwick SU to support the University and College Union (UCU)’s calls for the majority of teaching to be moved online saw a landslide vote with 4,344 students voting against the motion - nearly triple the number of votes for the motion.
The total number of votes cast in the motion was double that of last year’s highest-voted motion and it gained the highest number of votes out of all the motions proposed this term - 6032.
In August, the Warwick branch of the UCU called for the University to move the majority of teaching online, “except where pedagogically unfeasible, such as certain labs”.
Following on from this call, Warwick SU also issued a demand for Term 1 to be moved online.
The SU did not consult students on the demand for the campaign, as Education Officer Megan Clarke explained “SU bylaws mean we cannot run All Student Votes (ASV) outside term time”.
In opposition to the SU demand, two Warwick students launched a campaign called ‘Put Warwick Students First’.
The UCU has since voted to ballot on strike action if the University does not move the majority of teaching online.
Both the proposers of the motion and those opposing it used paid Facebook posts during the campaigning, something that has not been seen in recent ASVs.
In response to the ASV results, Warwick UCU tweeted: “You may be aware that Warwick Student Union voted against a motion ‘Warwick SU Supports UCU's Call for Online Teaching’.
“We are of course disappointed in this result, but we want to reiterate that UCU has called for teaching to be online in the interests of health and safety and with support of NUS.
“We would fully support increased face-to-face teaching if the public health situation improved considerably, but that’s not where we are right now. We do not believe that any students or staff should be required to take risks with their health by attending campus against their will in the context of a global pandemic.”
2. Alarichall / Wikimedia Commons
3. NurseTogether / Wikimedia Commons
The proposers of the motion, Megan and Democracy and Development Officer Akosua did not respond to The Boar’s request for comment.
Cam Hall and Sebastian Maxted, the students behind the Put Warwick Students First Campaign said: "We are very pleased that students have overwhelmingly rejected the online teaching motion.
“Students have finally been given the opportunity to express their opinion on this crucial matter, and have made it very clear in this landslide defeat that they support the current blended learning approach as both safe and the best for their academic progression in the current circumstances.
“We will continue to ensure that students are supported throughout the pandemic, and will continue to hold the SU, university and other key stakeholders accountable to ensure this.
“We would welcome any opportunity to engage with the SU and the university on working towards an approach to blended learning that can command a consensus amongst students and staff, ensuring their individual mental health and academic progression are prioritised."
We are very pleased that students have overwhelmingly rejected the online teaching motion
We are of course disappointed in this result, but we want to reiterate that UCU has called for teaching to be online in the interests of health and safety and with support of NUS
When was the ASV?
Before voting opens, an ASV meeting is held on the Monday of the week the vote is running. During the meeting, students can debate the motions that have been agreed to put up for vote by the Student Council.
Voting opened at 9am on Tuesday 10 November and closed at 12pm on Friday 13 November. The results were announced on Friday afternoon.
Image: Nick Alford / The Boar
Image: Nick Alford / The Boar
Remove Barclays from campus and invest in ethical banking
The ‘Remove Barclays from campus and invest in ethical banking’ motion was overturned, with 2020 votes against, 1509 votes for and 651 abstentions.
This motion argued for the removal of the Barclays branch located in the SU building.
The proposer of the motion argued that the University should invest in ethical banking, in order to remain more in line with their earlier declaration of climate emergency.
The University had previously pledged to become more carbon neutral by 2030, by reducing emissions on campus.
The motion refereda called on the SU president to declare that “the presence of Barclays on campus is incompatible with the declaration of a climate emergency”.
According to the motion, Barclays is one of the biggest funders of fossil fuels among banks globally and the biggest in Europe.
The motion proposer maintained that instead of Barclays, a more ethical branch such as the Coventry Building Society could be opened.
Several students voiced their concerns about removing the Barclays as the bank allows international students to receive money from abroad without a transaction fee, and the motion did not guarantee this service being protected.
- GroupEditor / Wikimedia Commons
- Roger Davies / Geograph
- Nick Alford / The Boar
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Motion: Divest, Break the links & Pledge to be Apartheid Free
The ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Motion (BDS): Divest, Break the links & Pledge to be Apartheid Free’ was not carried, with 1917 votes against, 1665 votes for, and 831 abstentions.
The motion, proposed on behalf of Warwick Friends of Palestine, called for the University to divest from “all companies which finance Israel’s illegal settlement economy and Israel’s arms trade”, as well as for the University to pledge to be Apartheid free, “including a commitment against all forms of discrimination, including Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights”.
According to the motion, the University of Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) and the Chemistry Department have partnerships with BAE systems, a corporation that have produced drones which are used to maintain siege on Gaza.
The motion argued that despite Warwick pledging to commit to a Social Responsible Investment Policy, to “reduce and ideally eliminate corporate behaviour”, the University continues to partner with corporations that support “human rights violations”.
The National Union of Students’ Executive Council had previously voted to support the BDS movement in August 2014, with the NUS Black Students’ Conference endorsing the movement as well.
In reaction to the failed motion, Warwick Friends of Palestine said: “We are proud of how close the vote was despite our opponents’ campaigns that were filled with lies, smears, and baseless accusations.”
“Our activism continues as the Students’ Union is now mandated by the Divest motion to help us campaign against the university’s investments in companies like BAE Systems.”
Warwick’s Jewish Israeli Society (JiSoc) has been contacted for comment.
Image: Warwick Media Library
Warwick University to fully divest from all unethical industries and release all investments
The ‘Warwick University to fully divest from all unethical industries and release all investments’ motion was the only proposed motion in this term’s ASV to pass, with 1,713 votes for the motion and 1,143 votes against the motion. Out of a total of 3,378 votes, the lowest number of votes cast of all the motions, 522 individuals abstained from the vote.
The motion called for the University to divest fully from all unethical industries and release all investments.
It argued that despite a pledge to divest from fossil fuels, the University has not reinvested any funds into renewable energy, insisting that they should do so if they want to find solutions that have a “measurable, real world impact”.
The motion also contained a controversial section, imploring the University to divest from companies that are “directly complicit in human rights violations” including “companies that are complicit in massacres against and displacement of Palestinians, maintaining the Israeli Apartheid regime”.
This initiated some debate over social media platforms, especially regarding the terminology used to describe the motion.
The motion received criticism in the pre-vote debate over claims it was similar to the BDS motion.
This motion was proposed by the Environment and Ethics Officers, Eseosa Akojie and Kimia Talebi, who wish to exert pressure on the University “to allocate 10% of all investments to directly finance solutions to environmental and social challenges, such as renewable energy or social housing projects”.
The Environment and Ethics Officers have been contacted for further comment.
- Warwick Media Library
SU Affiliations 2020
The only other motion that was carried in this term’s ASV was the SU affiliations 2020.
This motion is put forward at every Term 1 vote to reaffirm the SU’s current affiliations which are: National Union of Students, British Universities and Colleges Sport, AdviceUK, Child Poverty Action Group, National Council of Voluntary Organisations, UK Council for International Student Affairs and Coventry and Warwick Chamber of Commerce.
This motion passed with 1726 votes for, 547 against and 1129 abstentions. This motion received the highest number of abstentions of all the motions proposed at this term’s ASV.
Image: CGP Grey / Wikimedia Commons