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Students can affect meaningful change on campus and beyond, making your university experience brighter. Here are just a few of your campaigning wins; achieved by students, Student Officers, Course Reps, Societies and more…

Current Campaigns

Fossil free careers

Our university careers department needs to stop putting new workers into oil, gas and mining industries, and take responsibility for building the sustainable, ethical workforce we need to transition to a just and equitable energy system and low-carbon economy.

Educational Psychologist Assessments

As a UK student, if you are diagnosed as having Dyslexia, ADHD, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia or another Specific Learning Difficulty, you can access support from the government and the University. However, to access this support, you must first be formally assessed by an Educational Psychologist.

These diagnostic assessments cost hundreds of pounds, and we are exploring whether students are pushed into economic hardship or don’t seek disability support as a result of the high cost.

Guild campaign work has fought for the University to fund the full cost of these assessments, as other institutions such as the University of Sheffield, UCL and Queen Mary’s London already do.

UCU Strikes

The Guild has stood in solidarity with the UCU, the University and Colleges Teaching Union, as one union to another and supported UCU’s industrial action in the form of strikes in 2019-2020, 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. This support has been decided by Summit, one of the Guild’s democratic decision-making processes, and Preferendums (all student vote) in 2020 and 2021 respectively. Each round of action has centred around pensions, pay and working conditions.

NB: Industrial action must be voted for by UCU members and the mandate for each vote is only valid for six months from balloting, meaning repeat industrial action must be voted for in six-month periods (though often consecutive periods of industrial action is not the norm). Each year the Guild will decide anew whether to support any industrial action that the UCU might take. This decision is made in response to UCU action.

More Than a Month (MTAM)

The Guild’s awareness calendar activities (including, but not limited to BHM, Disability Awareness Month, LGBT+ History Month and Women’s History Month) have been reformed under the “More Than a Month” initiative by Vice-President Jamilia during the 21/22 academic year. This campaign aims to ensure the Guild accommodates all identities, groups and lifestyles throughout the year, going beyond their designated month or days, to be a truly inclusive organisation in alignment with the Guild’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Plan. Bringing these miscellaneous dates together under the MTAM initiative is also enabling the Guild to address intersectionality, and ensure that the spectrum of people within each date’s groups are fully represented. 21/22 MTAM work includes our Strong Black Women Panel Talk for BHM, “A Black Christmas Market” in December for local, black owned businesses to come and sell in the Guild and Black Queer History resources for LGBT+ History Month.

Tackling Sexual Violence

Tackling sexual violence on our campus is a key campaign priority for our Officers, who strive to make the University of Liverpool a safer place for all students. Through working with the University and city-wide stakeholders, Officers have achieved steps towards improving safety, providing education around the issues and empowering students in the following ways:

  • Secured the appointment of specific roles in student support services, so teams have the proper expertise to deal with sexual harassment claims
  • Rolled out Bystander Intervention training to student groups and staff across the university
  • Supported the PCC Safer Streets bid for funding for projects that tackle sexual misconduct on transport in the city.
  • Secured an annual review of the University’s Report and Support system.
  • Developed holistic, accessible information on processes
  • Consulted on the University’s Misconduct Policy,
  • Produced a comprehensive information pack regarding Spiking, Part of this response to spiking included the introduction of additional free anti-spiking devices, available at all of the Guild’s bars.

Campaign Wins

Cut the Rent

A £3.7 million rent cut and the End of Academic Sanctions

As the cost of rent in University halls rose to unjustifiably high levels, with some of the highest basic rents of any Russell Group University, Guild President 2018/19 ran a dedicated Cut the Rent Campaign. Following a year of grassroots student activism and a series of meetings with members of the University’s Executive Board, the President secured a £3.7 million rent cut, the single biggest rent cut for students in Halls of Residence in the history of the student movement, and brought an end to academic sanctions from non-academic debt. An amazing achievement.

Fossil Free

As of 31st July 2018, the University held £9m worth of investments in fossil fuel companies including BP, Shell, Exxon Mobil, and was ranked a 3rd Class University in People and Planet’s University League. In reaction to this, Student Officers along with a team of student activists demanded that the University of Liverpool stop profiting off the climate crisis and sell these investments under the Fossil Free Campaign. In July 2019, University of Liverpool committed to divesting from all fossil fuels, a huge win and a step towards a greener university.

Securing Post-Graduate bursaries

Postgraduate Taught (PGT) fees have been rocketing throughout the University sector since the introduction of the government’s £10,000 Master’s student loan, which is supposed to cover both fees and living costs. Despite being unable to prevent these substantial fee rises, we managed to secure more than £300,000 worth of new bursaries for current Liverpool-based and working-class students seeking to study on a Masters’ programme at University of Liverpool from 2019/20. These are the first significant bursaries for Home/EU Master’s students at University of Liverpool and should make Postgraduate study more accessible.

Cheaper Bus Travel

After running on a mandate of ending the incomparably high cost of bus travel for Liverpool Students, Guild President Rory Hughes secured an exclusive ticket for Liverpool students at a discounted rate in 2018/2019. After negotiations with Arriva, Rory came out victorious saving Liverpool students all-important money on their 699 journeys with a £55 reduction on annual bus passes.

No Student Left Behind: COVID Support

During the uncertainty for students during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Student Officer team amplified your voice and made sure that no student was left behind.

From lobbying on online teaching inequalities, securing an extended Hardship Fund for students, and leading a ground-breaking Refund the Rent campaign which led to the University agreeing to refund students, release contracts and grant a rent rebate, the team were committed to limiting the financial implications of COVID.

Officers also proposed a No Detriment Policy to the University, shaped by feedback from students about how the pandemic was affecting them. The University agreed to provide further support and an Assessment Support Package, which they offered for both Undergraduate and PGT students.

President Bertie Woodcock was also able to secure a ratio of a minimum 75% face-to-face teaching/contact versus virtual teaching at the beginning of the 21-22 academic year. The paper that was submitted to the Education Committee was informed by the Guild’s Hybrid Teaching Survey – one the largest surveys the Guild has ever completed with around 15% of all students submitting their views.

Renaming Gladstone Halls

Making sure our campus reflects you. Following a campaign to change the name of the Hall of Residence formerly known as Gladstone, with actions ranging from Change It petitions and writing open letters, to meeting with senior leaders at the University and a campus-wide vote, a new name was chosen for the Halls of Residence: racial equality campaigner and the driving force behind Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum, Dorothy Kuya.

Due to the tireless work of student campaigners and equality work across a number of Student Officer teams, the Officers were able to push for a name selection process that put the power back into your hands. This was a monumental vote, and we will now be able to celebrate Dorothy Kuya’s legacy on our campus. The Halls were formally opened with their new name “Dorothy Kuya Halls” in June 2022 by Jamilia Kwajah-Ellimah, one of the student activists in the original campaign, and then one of the Guild’s elected Vice Presidents.

Hot Water and Microwaves

Whether you’re a Sydney Jones or a Harold Cohen, throughout your time here the library becomes a place you will frequently visit – sometimes for days on end and many a hot drink will be needed to help you through. After hearing your cries for hot water in the library, the Student Officers worked with the libraries to grant your wish. So, whether you’re a green tea drinker or loyal to a proper Yorkshire brew, you can have as many as you like without leaving the library!

The Guild will be installing their own hot water systems and new microwaves in the Guild Street, next to the entrance to Starbucks in time for the 22/23 academic year, so you can make your pot noodle or heat up a Greggs sausage roll in the Guild now too!

Free Sanitary Products and ending Period Poverty

The need for free period products and an end to period poverty for those who menstruate was brought to the Guild through ‘Change It’ submissions and our Officers’ manifestos. Under Emma Sims and Ffion Thomas the Guild introduced free period products in all of our bathrooms in the Guild building, as well as the introduction of these items in certain University facilities. Work is ongoing to secure the introduction of these items in male and gender-neutral bathrooms across campus.

The Guild has also been working towards ending period poverty by hosting several pad making sessions for students to come along and make their own reusable sanitary pad, as a sustainable way to address access to period products for students. The Guild Shop also now sells reusable cotton sanitary pads, as well as menstrual cups, as sustainable alternatives to period products for students.

In January 2021, period products in the UK were no longer considered a “luxury, non-essential item” which removed the previous 5% tax. However, the Guild Shop has removed this charge from its products since April 2016, saving students from paying this tax for almost five years.

Lecture Capture

In September 2017, the University of Liverpool introduced a policy to provide guidance on the usage of Lecture Capture using the University’s Stream Capture system for professional and academic staff across the institution. The policy, enforced across the institution makes it compulsory for academics to ensure that all lectures are recorded. This success built on previous Officers’ campaign work, including surveying students and researching how technology such as recording lectures could improve students’ learning and teaching experience..

Campaign Highlights

Improving Bar Spaces

Student Officers have been working on ongoing developments to the bars and social spaces within the building. These continued efforts saw the Sphinx undergo a little makeover and now the bar space is much bigger, stocks a better variety of drinks, and has more staff. So next time you get a classic cocktail or a £1.60 pint in record time, you have your Student Officers to thank!

Prioritising your Mental Health: University Service Improvements

With University life taking a toll on your mental health, Student Officers ran on manifestos to improve vital services and putting your needs first.

Officers have worked with the University to act on your feedback, which has led to improvements such as: reducing student waiting lists for services, an increase in counselling service staffing and operating hours, upskilling staff with appropriate training, and holding workshops for students.

Race Equality

Whilst the Guild values inclusivity in words and in action, we recognised that more needed to be done in order to create an inclusive campus. The Officers have been committed to listening to our diverse student body and taking the necessary and important steps towards racial equality. This includes:

  • Working with the University to create a race equality section of its Citizenship module
  • Contributed to the University's Equality and Human Rights Commission
  • Working with the University on their Race Equality Charter
  • Collaborating with the University on an ongoing project that is researching and address the obstacles that face POC, specifically Black British, students and prevent them from progressing into PGR positions and academic careers.
  • Committing to effective and comprehensive BHM calendar each year.

Ffion’s Five Ways to Wellbeing

Ex Vice President Ffion Thomas launched and ran a campaign called “Ffion’s Five Ways to Wellbeing” during the 21/22 academic year. It ran with the NHS’ 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing which are: Connecting with other people; Being physically active; Learning new skills; Giving to others and paying attention to the present moment (mindfulness). The Guild ran events targeted to each of these steps including a board games night, an educational session with a University Wellbeing Advisor on resilience and stress management, sports sessions run in collaboration with Sport Liverpool and Yoga society, reusable pad making sessions as well as a whole Wellbeing Day, which included opportunities to meet volunteering placements, buy from local business owners, win prizes in a giveaway, enjoy some free ice cream and even pottery painting. Over 2000 students got involved throughout the campaign, and took some time to learn and look after themselves.

Trans in the Ban

Working with a student activist, the Guild has campaigned against the exclusion of Gender Identity Conversion Therapy from the government’s legislation on banning Conversion Therapy practices in the UK. While the legislation retained (at the time) faith and sexuality-based therapy, in April 2022 the government u-turned on its decision to include Gender Identity Conversion Therapy. Together we hosted a ‘Ban Conversion Therapy’ rally on Uni Square with crowds of student supporters and a variety of speakers who discussed their identities and experiences. Many students signed the petition to reinstate Gender Conversion Therapy into the ban and wrote to their MPs to ask them to vote to redraft the legislation in parliament.

Harm Reduction

At the Guild, we do not encourage or condone drug use; however, we recognise that drug use is prevalent amongst students and seek to reduce the potential harm of associated risks. Our campaign aimed to help students understand the mental and physical harm associated with using drugs and alcohol, provide harm reduction information for those who choose to use drugs, and challenge existing attitudes within the university around students who take drugs, in order to provide better support for them.

Call It Out

Sexual harassment and assault can include unwanted groping, pinching or smacking of your body, uninvited kisses or bodily contact. But it isn’t just physical - wolf-whistling and catcalling, inappropriate sexual comments, sexually-based insults, jokes, songs or taunts are also included – it’s any type of this behaviour which makes someone feel uncomfortable.

Moreover, it’s not just women who can experience this – and harassment isn’t only sexual or gendered. Work by Universities UK has found evidence of a serious culture of harassment on UK campuses. One in five LGB and one in three Trans students have reported being harassed at university.

Liverpool Guild of Students says enough is enough – which is why we launched our Call It Out campaign to draw attention to, and tackle, all forms of harassment and abuse on campus.


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