4.05pm: Rounding up the conference with some final questions for the current panel.
4.01pm: Answering questions that were submitted at the beginning of the conference.
3.51pm: Panel questions are now finished, Liam Burns, Steph Lloyd, Raechel Mattey and Luke Young are now giving their reports.
3.45pm: Tyrone O’Sullivan being very enthusiastic about changing history. “Give me a cwtch Amnesty!”
3.40pm: Alternative methods of campaigning. Dying to ask a question about the impact of new and social media in terms of alternative means of activism but given up after having my hand in the air for almost 15 mins.
3.35pm: Bit of confusion with certain words: someone says “socialism” instead of “sensationalism”, and Joanna Simpson seems to have mistaken “manslaughter” for “attempted murder” when talking about the fire extinguisher that was released into a crowd during the student protests in London.
3.34: Long discussion about police during the riots and also the relationship of national media with the student protesters.
3.22pm: Liam Burns on kettling during the riots. “The idea that it is anyway appropriate to keep people isolated in winter in central London… we’re not talking about people with their faces covered, we’re talking about young people who were campaigning for legitimate reasons.”
3.17pm: Joanna Simpson: “Violence in protests makes it very difficult to deal with the people who are behaving sensibly.”
3.14pm: Tyrone O’Sullivan responds- “When 1000 policemen on horseback are beating you to a pulp with batons, that’s police violence. For students it involves vandalism- smashing windows and destroying property. There is never an excuse for that.”
3.13pm: Jennifer Krase asks for a definition of violence.
3.11pm: Cathy Owens- “Ensuring that everyone is doing the right things. Some people will never walk down the street waving a placard. It’s important to build an army of important people to harness different skills, without necessarily organising big demos.”
3.08pm: Tyrone O’Sullivan- “There is never any need for violence, you don’t need to smash windows to make yourself heard.”
3.05pm: Joanna Simpson on being at the student riots. “This route for the protest was agreed by the police, why did it go past Millbank? I didn’t know until the night that the police were fully aware of where the protest would be.”
3.02pm: Liam Burns on what went wrong at Millbank. “It wasn’t going to be Nick Clegg or David Cameron sweeping up the glass, it was people who were in no way involved. Putting out media messages on rubber bullets and baton guns… and the number of police on the scene was totally disproportionate to the number of protesters.”
3pm: “For women in particular, sometimes it’s an issue of confidence making that leap into politics. Quite a lot of what I’ve done in the last few years in terms of politics has revolved around organisation and activism, giving me the confidence that I do know what I’m talking about.”
2.59pm: Cathy Owens, Amnesty International. “I had a completely different upbringing to Tyrone, I grew up in a middle-class environment and had no interest in student activism. It came to me very slowly in a different way, and I realised that I was quite good at organising things and getting things done.”
2.55pm: Tyrone O’Sullivan- “You can’t just become militant every three months. There’s a world out there that needs as much help and energy as you put into looking after yourselves. There are huge opportunities for your generation.”
2.53pm: “How do we create a balance in student activism?”
2.51pm: Liam Burns discusses the police/government reaction to riots in previous times other than the most recent student protests. His first experience as an activist was when he signed a petition at university.
2.49pm: Panel members are as follows-
Chair: Joanna Simpson, Education correspondent, ITV Wales Liam Burns, NUS National President Cathy Owens, Amnesty International Tyrone O’Sullivan, Chairman Tower Colliery.
2.48pm: Panel introduced by Luke Young for questions and a discussion about activism.
2.21pm: 2 members of Welsh Procedures Committee being elected. Speeches from candidates being made. Candidates are Christian James-Watkins, V.R.S.A Mahaboob Basha, Rikki Miller, and R.O.N.
2.18pm: Steph Lloyd serenaded with “Happy Birthday” in both English and Welsh. 2.16pm: Motion passed.
2.14pm: Charlotte Britton speaks for the motion “Involving the Nations- Distance and Information” submitted by NUS Wales Executive Committee.
2.14pm: Motion falls.
2.07pm: Luke Young (NUS Wales President) speaks against the motion. “Dealing with an imaginary problem”. “We are represented, by the international officer and also NUS UK.”
2.05pm: Motion proposed by Swansea University Students’ Union. “NUS Wales in Europe.” Luke James speaks for the motion.
2.04pm: Motion passed.
2.03pm: “I’m not saying that this is a bad motion, I feel that it is important to re-draft to include international students.” (Krase)
1.56pm: “The Postgraduate Movement and the Cash Cow Controversy”. Motion opposed by Jennifer Krase, who makes the point that a broader perspective is needed and the motion does not propose to do anything to resolve the issue. SUSU President Luke James speaks for the motion, “something important that we tackle now.” Jennifer Krase speaks against for a second time.
1.55pm: Emma Fitzgerald for “Student Parents Toolkit” proposed by NUS Wales exec committee. Motion passed.
1.53pm: Luke Young, NUS Wales President, speaking for another motion proposed by NUS Wales exec: “Building for the Future.” Motion passed.
1.52pm: Steph Lloyd speaking for a motion proposed by NUS Wales Exec Committee: “It’s broken, let’s fix it”. Resolves to amend the constitution to replace NUS Wales Council with NUS Wales Zone Conference. To open up NUS Wales Zone Conference to student activists in affiliated unions. Motion passed.
1.50pm: Marcus of Cardiff Students’ Union: Supporting and championing student activities in Wales motion. Motion passed.
1.45pm: Back from lunch break, on to motions.
1.05pm: Break for lunch.
1pm: Problem= Climate Change. Making Student Unions/Universities and Colleges greener. Carbon reduction project and money-saving programme where student departments compete against each other to save the most energy per annum.
12.55pm: Society and Citizenship zone: Problem=poverty. Issue= Living Wage+ Unpaid Internship. Universities are not permitted to advertise for unpaid internships but some do so anyway because it is illegal to work for free.
12.42am: Charlotte Britton comments: “It’s important for community relations to ensure that we have good relationships with people who will improve student lives, and make clear that we care about the community. Other students can be like this too, and this changes the opinions of those who may doubt the interest of influential people within the Union.”
12.40pm: Difficulties in getting people behind a campaign. Attendees being asked to write down the 10 most powerful and influential people in the Union.
12.35am: Can an action be seen as successful when it goes unnoticed? Marcus Coates-Walker, President of Cardiff Students’ Union comments.
12.25pm: Dannie Grufferty: NUS Vice President Society and Citizenship, and Steph Lloyd, NUS Wales Women’s Officer, speaking about Zero Tolerance, activism, and having an impact on important issues.
12.20pm: Great video being shown about Reclaim the Night with clips from the rally in Cardiff https://thesirenswansea.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/swansea-students-reclaim-the-night/
12.15pm: “One of the things about the student movement is that people can tend to retreat to their familiar positions in a difficult situation.
12.10pm: Back to Jim Dickinson, “I get hairs on the back of my neck when I hear people actually talking about education.”
12.03pm: Students with citizenship who were born in the UK but lived in another country for some time find it impossible to find specific help/access, despite being told they are eligible for it. “Needs to be something in place for these cases.” (Pearleen)
12pm: International students: making sure that the degree is relevant. Americans coming to the UK to study “American Presidency”, why? Possible requirement that the degree involves some form of skill-based training.
12.05pm: Each group doing well in their discussions, hearing some good suggestions and ideas for improvement for the three student stereotypes (English immigrant in to Welsh HE, Working Class student from Welsh Mining Village, International student).
11.55am: Attendees have been split into groups for each hypothetical student. Currently with the group for International students inc. Pearleen Sangha.
11.50am: Workshop: Taking hypothetical students- clichés- designing a mock system in education that would work for everyone.
11.46am: “Pattern of Provision”. “You can’t have it all free” (Dickinson) “Probably not a brilliant idea to try and say everything should be free all of the time. Funding debate in Wales has been largely about taking the English system and tweaking it. What if you started again”.
11.45am: “Academic vocational divide isn’t as pronounced in Wales.” (Dickinson)
11.40am: Credit and Qualifications: How do you nudge/force people into doing more advanced vocational qualifications? England is doing this by “crossing their fingers and closing their eyes”, which of course will not work.
11.37am: “There’s a real threat that you (Wales) could sleepwalk as a country into the Americanisation of HE.”
11.35am: Dickinson calls for an improvement on production goals. “VC’s and Higher Education ministers are beset by their own goals. VC’s are too busy fighting amongst themselves.” Wales can basically now do anything to save for stuff around revenue (tax) raising powers).
11:31am: “It is clear that NUS Wales is really starting to assert itself as a powerful creative body of influence. It’s about having a powerful agenda, something to say when you’re in the room.” Jim Dickinson.
11.30am: Leighton’s Agenda. “There is a mismatch between his assertiveness and his power.” (Jim Dickinson) The agenda on mergers in his (Dickinson’s) words: Finished/Fudged/F**ked.
11.25am: Jim Dickinson addressing the NUS Wales Conference attendees. Discussing similarities between the system of education in Wales and the rest of the UK.
11.14am: Mike Day: Going for a process now that the devolved nations compliment the work of students. Officers in London should be seen as extension of work going on in Wales.
11.11am: Fantastic shot shown of NUS Presidential candidate from the 70’s smoking a joint. Another dressed as a palm tree.
11.10am: Mike Day: Saving money for students around the UK. Display of photos- 1970’s to present of previous conferences. Good percentage of students in the 70’s were politically involved. Now important to involve students who may not be as involved. Successful lobbying with activism on campus.
11.06am: NUS Director of Nations, Mike Day, presented as guest speaker.
11.05am: Luke Young: UoW situation and how students were not asked for their opinions regarding the validity of their degrees. Student movement in Wales opposed the motion to shut down the institution (UoW). “If we are the only ones talking about students there is something fundamentally wrong with the situation, and we need to change that.”
11am: Luke Young: Challenges from Government policy. University of Wales, discussing the investigation where a BBC uncovered irregularities about the validation of degrees by the UoW.
10.57am: Luke Young discusses the 9k fee rise and the situation in Wales. Greater equality in the system, getting student support on the go. EMA in Wales has been saved. “We believe people should have full, supported access to education.”
10.50m: Opening speech from Luke Young. Covering details of staff protocol, the Zero Tolerance Policy, and the structure of the conference. Anonymous questions will be submitted during the session to be answered at the end of the day.
Structure for the day
10.30am: Opening announcements- opening nominations for remaining WPC
10.45am: Guest speaker 10.55am: WPC Announcements 11am Workshop sessions- HE Wales The FEstive season
12pm: Panel debate:
– Chair: Joanna Simpson, Education correspondent, ITV Wales
– Liam Burns, NUS National President Cathy Owens, Amnesty International
– Tyrone O’Sullivan, Chairman Tower Colliery
12.40pm: Lunch- Union showcase 1.20pm: Motions/Election hustings and voting
2.30pm: Activism Wales 2011
3.30pm: Ask the WNEC 4pm:Election results
4.05pm: Closing remarks/Close of conference