Thursday, 31 March 2011

Leeds Metropolitan - Leading the way on Student Union Drug Policy (part 2)

For the lead up to this, if you haven't read already, please see the story so far.

As you may be aware, a policy motion was submitted to Leeds Metropolitan Student's Union, achieving 83.27% in favour at the referendum in March. However, due to low voter turn-out the policy was not automatically accepted and was to be taken to the Student Representative Council (SRC).

The policy motion, if adopted would mandate the union;
  • To commit to a full, open and honest debate about drugs with as much of the membership as possible.
  • To involve relevant agencies in our decisions.
  • To seek to influence decision makers to review and radically overhaul the way the country views and controls these substances.
  • To campaign to decriminalise the possession of substances for personal use.
  • To oppose any cuts to primary health services which would be prejudicial to the public health.
On the 29th of March the SRC convened to discuss issues surround the running of the Union, including the two policy motions that received majority support at referendum. I had prepared a little speech for the meeting, however, due to the policy motion being discussed twice before at SRC, it was decided not to discuss these motions and to go straight to a vote.

I have to be honest, I wasn't too sure that the policy would pass. It's usually such an uphill struggle for institutions to accept what is commonly seen as a radical proposal. I was bracing myself for it to fail. Those in favour were asked to raise their hands first, a good number raised their hands but not enough to ensure it passing. Then followed those against, and for a few fleeting moments a real panic struck me as the first few hands started to raise. Luckily, after the initial few hands, none more followed.

The policy PASSED!

I have the great joy of being able to announce that after everything I've done to make this happen, Leeds Metropolitan University Student's Union is the first Student's Union in the country to accept the War on Drugs is a War on People and to oppose the victimization of millions of people every year. When I finish my time at university, and I still have at least two years left to achieve more, I can proudly say I made some level of a difference in trying to change our system in what can sometimes feel like an endless war.

I'd like to give a special thank you to Jo Johnson (Community and Well-being officer at LMUSU), and those at Leeds Metropolitan who've supported me over the last couple of months.

Love, peace, and all things nice,
until next time,
Ashley. x

No comments:

Post a Comment