This meeting focused heavily on supporting students in the areas of sexual health, gender and disabilityLucas Maddalena

Council votes unanimously to expand sexual health training and resources

Ben Dalitz, a member of the Women’s and LGBT+ Campaigns, proposed that the SU expand their sexual health resources and training, including making sexual health a component of the consent workshops provided by the Women’s Officer of the Cambridge Students’ Union (SU). The motion was passed unanimously.

In the meeting, Dalitz emphasised that having “LGBT inclusive and disability inclusive” training and resources was integral.

The proposal will build upon the existing Sexual Health Scheme run by the SU, through which sexual health supplies and resources are distributed to colleges and sexual health training is provided for JCR Women’s and LGBT Officers.

Majority vote in favour of supporting transgender students' rights

The motion, which was discussed at the previous meeting a fortnight ago (01/02), was voted upon and passed at the meeting on Monday evening (15/02), with 95% voting in favour, and 5% abstaining. 

The proposal was brought forward by the SU Women’s Officer, and its success means that the SU will lobby for the creation of a centralised Gender Expression Fund. This fund will allow students to purchase items to help them to feel more comfortable in their gender expression, which, due to high costs, can sometimes be inaccessible. 

This move comes in light of a recent announcement by Trinity about the creation of a college-based Gender Expression Fund. Apart from Trinity, several other colleges have introduced Gender Expression Funds over the past few years, including Christ’s, Girton, Selwyn and Clare. 

Following the successful vote, the SU will also promote gender-neutral options in all application and registration systems throughout the University.

Council votes to fund extensions for final-year PdH Students

The Student Council also passed a motion to fund extensions for current final-year postgraduates. The motion was proposed by Peterhouse MCR president, Jennifer Ward George, at the last meeting two weeks ago. It dictates that the SU will endorse a minimum of a 6-month extension of funding for final-year PhD students. The SU will also publish a statement of support for PhD students. 

At the last meeting, the Council heard how the difficulty of continuing research during the pandemic is jeopardising the University’s completion rates. International students, some of whom are facing visa issues, have been particularly affected.  


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Motion passed to support colleges joining the AccessAble scheme

The Council voted in favour of supporting colleges joining the AccessAble scheme. The scheme, which was described as “imperative” by Disabled Students’ Officer, Rensa Gaunt, ensures that information on accessibility is provided to students and staff. 

The meeting agenda emphasised that Colleges have a “legal responsibility to proactively enable access for disabled people,” and added that approximately 15% of students at the University are registered with the Disability Resource Centre (DRC). 

While the University has already signed up to AccessAble, the motion will involve the SU lobbying individual colleges to sign up as well. It was estimated in the meeting that around 20 colleges are signed up so far, with a deadline at the end of February.