In Other News
 

RCASU spring term report 2020

As part of our commitment to make our work transparent and accessible, we want to share with you all of the things we have been up to this term...

Covid-19

We are aware this has been a challenging and unprecedented time for all. We've been working closely with senior management to respond to the pandemic, and have been keeping students up to date via email and our website including posting useful self help information. We have been responding to the immediate issues arising and are continuing to support students via online platforms and organising online events for next term.

As the Students' Union, we have a duty of care towards our students and want to assure you we are taking your healthcare and well-being seriously. We are here to support you, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us should you have any questions or concerns at students-union@rca.ac.uk. Please also remember Student Support are working remotely and are available for calls - you can get in touch with them via email on student-support@rca.ac.uk or through Moodle to book appointments. 

 

The General Election 

Each year we call an election to vote in the Co-Presidents of the Students’ Union. The role works to represent you and your views independently of the College, as well as providing a whole range of services and support across campuses. Due to recent events the election has been postponed. New dates will be confirmed at the start of next term. You can find the job specs and further information here.

 

Reps

Massive thank you to all of our reps for your amazing work this term. We recognise how challenging it has been and hugely appreciate all your input. Together, we have taken part in Campus Assemblies, School Assemblies, College Wide Assemblies, and Equality, Diversity & Inclusion assemblies. We take minutes and action points for students and staff after each of these meetings, which the Reps were distributing to their cohorts. If you haven’t seen them, just ask your Reps - they know how important it is to be kept updated!

This term we have also introduced rep meetings with the Vice Chancellor's Office. We will continue these for the rest of the year - please keep reps updated of anything you would like to be discussed. 

 

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity Support Officer

We're very pleased to introduce you to Halimo, our new Diversity Support Officer. In this role, Halimo will be developing strategies and initiatives to create a more supportive and enriching experience for students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Halimo will be working closely with the Co-presidents and the E,D & I reps on campaigns and activities to address inequalities and barriers that exist at the RCA.

If you have any issues, concerns or ideas you’d like to share, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, you can drop Halimo an email at halimo.hussain@rca.ac.uk

 

Anonymous reporting

Following a joint recommendation made to RCA Council by the Students’ Union and Student Support the College is going to launch a new Anonymous Reporting Tool. 

It is being launched on a trial basis, allowing members of the College community to anonymously report behaviour which causes concern, upset or feels like harassment, discrimination, bullying or is harmful in any other way. The findings will allow us to gain a better understanding of patterns or trends of behaviour occurring across the College. The tool will sit in addition to the current ‘on-the-record’ reporting procedure, as well as the external whistleblowing mechanism.

Trials and student feedback has taken place this term with further consultations in the pipeline - Launch date TBC. 

 

Changes to the Misconduct Policy 

We are working with the College’s Changing the Culture Working Group to change the Misconduct Policy for the better. The Policy has had a thorough review. Changes include the recognition of sexual harrassment and sexual violence as misconduct and closing the loophole of non-existent procedures to tackle misconduct between staff and students. The updated Policy is due to go live by the end of the academic year. 

 

Active Bystander Training 

We have worked with the College to arrange Active Bystander Training for both students and staff. Active Bystander Training aims to empower students and staff across the College community to challenge poor behaviours, and bring about cultural change through the reinforcement of messages defining the boundaries of unacceptable behaviour.

We had initial training sessions scheduled for March, which due to recent events have been postponed. 

 

Strike Debrief 

From the 20th of February to the 13th of March, there were 14 working days of University and College Union (UCU) industrial action in the spring term. You can read the SU strike debrief here.

 

Complaints 

If you are a student who has a complaint against the College, we have put together some guidance to help you understand the complaints procedure as well as the options and support available to you. You can read the full article here

 

SU Cafe 

The Kensington SU Cafe is now back in ownership of the SU and students (woohoo). You may have noticed some work going on - decorating and snazzy new orange shutters! We were set to open the Cafe in March, however this will now be postponed until the College reopens. 

 

Events

 

Charlie Craggs talk 

Way, way, wayyyy back in February, in collaboration with ‘Don’t Worry I’m Sick And Poor‘, Gabi sat down for a chat with noted activist Charlie Craggs as part of LGBTQ+ history month to discuss all things trans. We’re still chasing the footage which you’ll be able to view on our website and on Babeworld’s YouTube channel as soon as we get our mitts on it.

 

PGR Workshops

We have teamed up with postgraduate research students to lead a series of student led workshops.  

The first workshop Organs of Thought: Diagrammatics and Visual Organiz was led by Ameera Kawash & Adrian Gouet. It was a well attended and engaging evening - thank you! 

We are looking to move the rest of the series online so keep an eye out for further workshops next term. 

 

Green Week 

Each year the SU hosts ‘Green Week’. This year due to the UCU strikes we decided to postpone planned events then, due to Covid-19 we have had to reschedule and now we are planning online alternatives. Thankfully, we were able to support SustainLab, who curated (Eco)logical Sense an exhibition that took place in the Hockney gallery. 

 

Time to Talk Day 

We teamed up with Student Support to host a Time To Talk day on all 3 campuses. We offered drinks, snacks, and resources to encourage dialogue and support surrounding mental health. 

 

Battersea South Consultation 

We met with students and staff to discuss plans for the new Battersea South building. Thank you for all your input!

 

Black student Forum

The first black student forum will be held next term with our new Diversity Support Officer. This was scheduled for this term however postponed due to Covid-19. 

 

WIP show bars

We were pleased to provide bars at the WIP shows on all three campuses during their private views.

White City Pop-up bar

We hosted the first White City pop-up bar which was a great chance to socialise and chill out a bit together. We are excited to continue running these once the College is open again… hopefully figuring out a way to establish a bit more mood lighting! 

Artbar

We helped to facilitate many student-led events in the Artbar and elsewhere in the College, from exhibitions to karaoke nights, film screenings to experimental performances. One major event organised by Red Plate Society was the Spring Festival, they curated an excellent exhibition in the Courtyard Galleries and a Gala in the Gorvy LT. 

 

The Pluralist 

The Pluralist is the RCA’s newspaper, written and edited by students for students and funded by us. Two new pluralist issues came out this term. In response to Covid-19 we made these two issues and all previous issues available online. You can find them on our website here

 

College committees 

We sit on many different committees across the College and support them with working on; sorting building and estates issues, a sustainability strategy, improving mental health, cross cultural dialogue, a student charter, health and safety, organising the shows, supporting staff unions - just to name a few! 

 

Like what you’ve read? Wish we were spending more time working on something else? We are here for you - so let us know what you want to see us doing :) Get in touch with us at students-union@rca.ac.uk.