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I'm your Union Development & Democracy Officer!

Photo of Tom Snape looking into the camera smiling

Email me at su.uddofficer@keele.ac.uk or contact me on social media below:

Hi I’m Amy and you elected me to be your Union Development and Democracy Officer. It’s my job to help develop KeeleSU to make sure it’s responding to the needs of students while acting as a voice for Keele students on issues and campaigns they care about in the University, local community and nationally.

I graduated in 2018 with a BSc in Biochemistry with Medicinal Chemistry. When I joined Keele I wanted to try something new, so I decided to start playing rugby and I became Team Captain in my final year. I also represented my cohort in Biochemistry as a 2nd year SVR.

Twitter logo: Click here to be directed to Tom's Twitter profileFacebook logo: Click here to be directed to Tom's Facebook profile

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In Response to University Cuts

A few weeks ago, the Vice Chancellor announced that due to the University is on track to make a deficit this year and was projected to start making loses in the coming years. As a response to this they launched three year financial plan to reduce their costs and increase their income. This plan involves around £8 million of 'savings' in staff costs through a voluntary severance scheme and a plan to significantly grow their student numbers in targeted areas. You can read an outline of that plan here.

We have significant concerns about the impact this will have on teaching quality, student support and the overall student experience. Staff regularly report feeling overworked. Having less of them and more students is not going to help this.

Our initial response has been to work with the trade unions on campus to get a better understanding of the situation on the group and make representation at the highest possible levels of the university to express these concerns. This included an ‘all unions meeting’, in which students and staff discussed the issues they were concerned about together and the potential ways forward. We've already started to see some schools start to implement wider cost saving plans and have been working with student voice reps to support them in escalating this on a case by case basis. 

Last night at KeeleSU’s Union General Meeting, we agreed on policy which outlined how we will engage with this problem moving forward, it had the following key actions:

  • KeeleSU will seek urgent improvement in the transparency of the University with the wider student body.

  • KeeleSU will lobby for no decrease in the provision of student support services, particularly mental health, disability support and support for international students’ and liberation groups.

  • KeeleSU will lobby for postgraduates who teach to be protected from cost saving measures.

  • KeeleSU will commit to regular and transparent communication around our specific lobbying efforts and the developing situation.

  • KeeleSU will lobby for senior staff to receive pay freezes or reductions.

  • KeeleSU will commit to providing regular opportunities for students to feed into the work we are doing around this specific effort.

  • KeeleSU will continue to collaborate with campus trade unions and the postgraduate association on areas of joint concern.

  • KeeleSU will work with any and all parties in order to seek alternative solutions to the problem faced by the University.

  • KeeleSU will set up a working group of full time officers, part time officers and interested students in order to provide those who want to with the opportunity to scrutinize the work of the SUs' in this area. (This group will be organised via facebook and is accessible here)

  • Keele SU will support an independent financial audit as commissioned by the UCU to give a broad account of the University’s financial situation.

  • KeeleSU will provide material support to the Save Keele media group formed at the Emergency Cross Union meeting and promote their activities through social media and email in a timely manner, provided all information is accurate. (Save Keele’s facebook page is here)

Between them these actions outline our rules of engagement for our work on this issue and outline what we view as the key issues that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

As the situation develops we will continue to talk to students about what’s going on, what it means for them and what we’re doing about it.

If you have any concerns about this situation or have any questions, get in touch via facebook, twitter or drop me an email at at su.uddofficer@keele.ac.uk.

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