Durham’s Students with Disabilities Association (SwDA) call for the withdrawal of upcoming controversial DSU assembly motion after revealing in a statement published at 3pm today that it breaches the SU’s own binding framework.
The SwDA have highlighted the separate accountability of Associations from student groups and have objected to the motion’s proposal to move their governance to the Societies Committee, to ‘which there is no Association representation nor is there any direct accountability to Assembly’. This move, without consultation or notification of the SwDA, is ‘a breach of the Open Student Consultation Framework, put before the University Senate by the Durham SU, which is binding on both the University and the Durham SU’.
The statement writes: ‘the framework specifically notes that consultation is required for major change (which this agreement is) at least two months in advance with representatives of marginalised groups such as disabled students requiring consultation in any decisions that may affect them.’
The SwDA has also stated that this motion is ‘undemocratic’ in its suspension of the ratification of other Associations after they have been ‘successfully and democratically ratified with similar constitutions’. The SwDA states that the Trans Association, Women’s Association and Working Class Association have had their ratification process suspended ‘until such time as this proposal has not only passed, but they are then in compliance with it’.
The SwDA’s statement further asserts that it is ‘essential’ for their Association to ‘criticise any activity that may negatively impact or further isolate disabled students, even if this comes from Durham SU or Durham University itself’. The statement expresses ‘grave concerns’ over the possible implementation of the motion’s new Student Group Agreement.
The SwDA also seeks ‘clarification as to the criteria’ of the clause that allows the DSU Board of Trustees to request the removal of an association or student group officer, concerned ‘that this cannot be used to discriminate against marginalised students’.
The statement affirms understanding for the beneficial effects of clear guidelines for student groups but calls for consultation ‘required by The Student Consultation Framework’ and that ‘meets the needs of all parties involved.’
The full SwDA statement can be read here.