The SU council was split down the middle, with several students speaking in opposition to the motion.Sarah Anderson for Varsity

An SU motion to make all its internal catering vegan narrowly passed through the student council on Monday (19/2).

The motion to serve “fully plant-based food” at all future SU events and meetings was adopted, despite opposition from the disabled students’ campaign.

Proposer Tommy Walker Mackay told the meeting he supports the motion on the grounds it is “a necessary step to combat the climate crisis”. He said it “focuses on institutional change, not individual change”.

According to the motion, the SU’s transition to fully plant-based food “would reaffirm its support for a more sustainable and just university” and allow the SU to “lobby for change most effectively”.

The council was split down the middle, with several students speaking in opposition to the motion. 15 votes were cast in favour of the policy, 14 against, and five in abstention.

The disabled students’ campaign urged students not to vote in favour of the motion, with their representative saying they were “very concerned about the impact of this policy on disabled students”.

They said the food provided at the SU should be “as broad as possible” for people who have autism, sensory issues, or eating disorders.

One student, who identifies as disabled, said “disabled students are not a monolith” and “plant-based food would not be removing food groups, but it would be adding so many more.”

Sam Hutton, Chair of SU’s Ethical Affairs campaign, spoke in favour of the motion, arguing it included “a robust framework to address accessibility issues”.

One clause takes into account individuals for whom vegan catering “leads to inaccessibility” and promises to “provide adjustments wherever possible”.

Fergus Kirman, SU Undergraduate President, “firmly urged” members to vote against the motion. Kirman said: “We’ve heard from people who have a structured campaign.”

Kirman told a previous council meeting that the SU is a “representative institution” and these nutritional rules are “probably not supported by the majority of people we are supposed to serve”.

Recent polling shows four percent of 18 to 29-year-olds in the UK are vegan.


Mountain View

Caius JCR criticised by Jewish students over Palestine motion

Patrick Carter Cortez, Vice-President of Fitzwilliam’s MCR, said the motion is “not aligned with students’ attitudes”.

“My constituents are capable of making their own decision about what they eat and the environmental implications,” he said.

Carter Cortez feared passing the motion would give the SU a “better hand to lobby for plant based food” in University catering when “many students do not have proper kitchens.”