Safe Space Policy Update
Passed by Student Council on 25 September 2014.
1. Members are expected to respect the right of all students attending Student Council (and related meetings) and staff to enjoy EUSA as a safe space environment, defined as a space which is welcoming and safe and includes the prohibition of discriminatory language and actions.
2. EUSA operates a Zero Tolerance policy towards discrimination based on:
d. Gender and Gender Identity
e. Marriage and Civil Partnership
f. Political Affiliation
g. Pregnancy and Maternity
h. Race and Ethnicity
i. Religion and Belief
j. Sexual Orientation
3. EUSA does not discriminate against anybody on the grounds that they are a sex worker (whorephobia).
4. All Council meetings shall be conducted with an assumption that the meeting shall constitute a ‘safe space’ for the conduct of debate, discussion and decision making.
5. A meeting shall be deemed to be a safe space where no-one is disadvantaged or discouraged from contributing, so long as they respect others’ ability to contribute; and where the principle of equal opportunities is respected.
6. All members are expected to conduct themselves in a manner which is respectful and considerate of the contributions of others. This is defined as:
a. Allowing Council members to speak when called upon by the chair.
b. Refraining from speaking over, interrupting, heckling, laughing at or otherwise distracting from the speaker who holds the floor.
c. Refraining from hand gestures which denote disagreement or in any other way indicating disagreement with a point or points being made. Disagreements should only be evident through the normal course of debate.
d. Avoiding using gestures which are not generally known or accepted by Council.
e. Gestures indicating agreement are permissible, if these gestures are generally understood and not used in an intimidating manner.
f. Applause is acceptable when a motion is passed only, not if a motion fails to pass. Otherwise, agreement should be made clear within debate contributions.
7. Where any member of the meeting (including the chair) is violating safe space policy any student can call for a vote on their expulsion from the meeting.
a. In the event that the expulsion of a member is called for, a vote shall be held amongst those members present.
b. In the event that this vote passes by a simple majority of those in the room, the member shall be required to leave the meeting and the meeting shall not resume until the member has left.
c. Such an expulsion will not last beyond the particular meeting concerned, unless the procedures laid out in the Good Conduct Regulations are invoked.
Members are asked to pay attention to the effect that use of social media can have on whether EUSA and EUSA-related meetings constitute a ‘Safe Space’ for all members.
While social media is of necessity partly a ‘private’ space – someone’s Facebook or Twitter account are their own space, and therefore cannot be regulated by EUSA’s Safe Space policy in the same way as meetings; they also are ‘public’ spaces in that, particularly in the case of twitter, they are publicly available and searchable.
Social media messages, whether sent directly from meetings or related to what was said in those meetings can have the effect of making meetings regulated by the safe space policy feel unsafe to some members. Members are, therefore, asked to bear in mind the following guidelines:
o Members in a semi-public forum when discussing matters relating to EUSA are also representatives of EUSA.
o Disagreements should be aired in a respectful manner: it is often good to disagree; it is rarely productive to be disagreeable.
o Disagreements, where they are to be aired, should focus on differences of opinion and not on individuals.
o When posting on social media sites, consider whether what you are posting would be something that you would say in a meeting regulated by the Safe Space policy, or directly to the person(s) affected. If not, consider the impact that this may have on other members and whether you really wish to post this comment in this way.