The Best Student Life. Bristol SU

Equality, Liberation & Access: Jason Palmer

 

Hey, I’m Jason and I’m your Equality, Liberation & Access Officer!  My role is about ensuring that all students have a dignified, supportive and inclusive university experience irrespective of their background or identity.

I represent a broad range of groups, including students in the LGBT+ community, BAME students, disabled students, women students, students of faith and many more.  I also work with other officers on issues such as wellbeing, academic issues and extracurricular life!

I just finished my undergraduate degree in Politics and International Relations, and I hope to work in activism in the future. As a student I was really involved with a whole range of extracurriculars:  I served on 6 committees ranging from DramSoc to Debating and working on the Democratic Standards Committee with the SU.  I’ve previously worked in the charity sector, having worked in UNHCR, set up my own LGBT+ policy writing charity and worked in fundraising for disabled access to public spaces. This mishmash of student involvement and activism has let me meet so many new people from diverse backgrounds and with unique stories and has made me cognizant of the various needs of students on campus. 

Being a student can be really tough and there shouldn’t be barriers to any one of us feeling comfortable here at Bristol. Whether it's in a lecture hall or a nightclub, I’ll be pushing for an inclusive environment all year round. It’s not all doom and gloom though! Our many networks provide a space for students and are a great way to meet new people and have some fun during your years at Bristol!

I can’t achieve this without talking to you though! If you have an idea for a campaign, an irritating obstacle you need assistance overcoming, or just fancy a cup of tea and a chat just pop over to my desk, slide into my DM’s on Facebook or drop me an email!

See everything your SU has been up to here.

What am I working on this year?

 

Violence and harassment reporting and support

  • Push for a hard launch and the promotion of Report and Support, with more counsellors to support students.

  • Establish SVLO's team independant of schools and faculties

More inclusive university spaces

  • Ensure new University buildings or redevelopments include seperate prayer spaces for muslim students, gender neutral toilets, and are fully accessible to disabled students

Diverse and inclusive academic experience

  • Push for an academic oriented response to the BME Attainment Gap.

  • Push for a review of HR practices to ensure that we have a diverse academic staff body.

EDI education for student leaders

  • Roll out guidelines to student groups, student leaders on making their groups inclusive to LGBT+ students and disabled students.
  • Develop a wholistic strategy to tackle sexual-harassment and violence on campus pro-actively

More inclusive wellbeing support

  • Ensure wellbeing support staff (counsellors, wellbeing advisors, personal tutors) have comprehensive training on the EDI issues facing  students and how they can support them effectively.

What have I done so far?

 

March

  • I have continued to work on tackling Sexual Violence, overlapping with responding to Sarah Everard's death and concerns with security. This work is being undertaken with Ruth, FemSoc and the Women’s Network.
  • I am supporting students to engage with and reform the complaints process.
  • I am continuing the Personal Tutor work with Leah, David and Ruth with a specific focus on EDI guidance for Personal Tutor’s and related training modules.
  • I am continuing to work on the equality impact and communications of campus security.
  • I am working to increase access to space for communal prayer on campus and in the SU as student spaces gradually re-open.  This is happening alongside work on supporting students in access to services impacted by COVID (e.g., access to gender-affirming care or increasing access to STI testing and contraceptives).

December

  • I am working with Ruth to set up a working group to review the University’s debt collection and rent arrears policy after the University’s bursary U-Turn.
  • I am working with Student Leaders to tackle transphobia in the staff body and support Trans Students' wellbeing. 
  • I have confirmed the delivery of a research project looking at sexual violence in the student body.
  • I am supporting students that have been unfairly punished by security.
  • I am working with teams and students across the University to plan to tackle isolation in students staying in Bristol over the holidays, including working with the Alumni Office to relaunch Bristol Voices.
  • I have worked with the University to get holiday gifts to Care Leavers and Estranged Students over the Winter holidays.

October

  • I worked to increase accessibility on our online learning platforms, and pushed for the return of captioning for hard-of-hearing students; and that Blackboard navigation be more intuitive for students with learning disabilities.
  • I pushed the University to introduce mandatory consent for all new students, expanding reporting avenues, and bolstering support for victims of sexual misconduct.
  • I worked with Leah to challenge identity-based assumptions of work, such as the treatment of women students in STEM.
  • I developed a framework of support for Equalities Officers in student groups to be directly supported. 

September

  • I supported Care Leavers and Estranged Students by delivering the first set of graduation bursaries. Off the back of training with ResiLife, Care Champions have also been established in each Village and the training may (fingers crossed) be developed into a stand-alone EDI module for all student-facing staff.
  • I ensured Widening Participation students were prioritised in the admissions process following the A-Level Results fiasco, and organised a picket outside the Department for Education building in Bristol for a national day of action.
  • I worked with Ruth to ensure student induction content included content on consent and drug harm reduction, acting as a platform for further work.
  • I worked with the Student Inclusion Team to introduce an inclusion module for students, to later develop into in-house compulsory training.