At our Annual General Meeting on Thursday 21st November over 800 students took part in a debate on a number of issues, one of which was in relation to reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. In line with our democratic processes, this motion was proposed and seconded by students as members of the Students’ Union. The meeting overwhelmingly resolved that the Union should take a pro-choice stance and advocate this to its members. The trustees shall ensure that, in enacting the motion, appropriate measures are maintained to protect freedom of speech and expression in line with the law.
Many Students’ Unions across the UK will have a pro-choice stance as well as multiple affiliated student groups who hold differing views. This stance does not resolve to censor any student or student group, nor deny their right to affiliate, no matter what their views are on this subject.
Since the motion was approved last Thursday the Students’ Union has met with some of the Societies who believed that they might be negatively affected. These Societies were reassured about their future in the Union. It is our hope that they will continue to exist with the support of the Students’ Union, as with all affiliated groups.
We recognise that some concerns have been raised about the divisions that such debates create on campus. The Students’ Union encourages all students to engage with sensitive debates in a respectful way and condemn any behaviours that could cause threat or abuse. We acknowledge that this debate is emotive, however, we urge all students to consider the potential impacts of their words and actions on others, whether in person or online. We must remember that democracy within and outside of the Student’s Union is founded on healthy and respectful debate. We will investigate all reported incidents and will not tolerate abuse of any kind. Any individuals who are affected in any way will continue to receive our support.
As the Students’ Union is an independent part of the University, this debate has no impact on the teaching students receive, or their ability to question and challenge the world they live in.
Students’ Unions have a proud history of debating both political and sensitive topics. Freedom of expression and the ability to form such stances have ensured our organisations have contributed to key debates in society. We will defend vehemently the freedom of expression for future generations of students.
Elected Officer Team 19-20
Cardiff University Students’ Union