Does the University allow gender segregation?

QUESTION:
In light of Universities UK green lighting of gender segregation, http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/nick-cohen/2013/12/the-segregation-of-women-and-the-appeasement-of-bigotry/ , can our Exec categorically state whether or not they would impose such a policy at this institution?
ANSWER:
We do not allow segregated events of any kind at Staffordshire University as it would contradict our equality policy.

 

How do you apply for a University ‘disabled parking’ permit?

QUESTION:
My colleagues and I have noticed that some cars are parking in disabled bays but do not have blue badges, instead they have a university permit allowing them to do so.

The permits do not have expiry dates on them and so it would be extremely useful to obtain one. Could you tell us the criteria for obtaining these permits as I would assume that it requires some degree of infirmity, also could you inform us who makes the decision as to how disabled you have to be to acquire one if this is the case.

 

ANSWER:
The University recognises that from time to time, our colleagues and students may have a temporary situation that causes mobility issues but isn’t covered by the blue badge scheme. In such circumstances, we are happy to work with the Student Enabling Centre or individual faculty or service management teams to provide a short term solution by way of an accessible parking permit.

These are managed by Skip Edwards in the Campus and Commercial Services team. While details are not printed on the permit, they are logged and recorded so as to be active only as long as is necessary.

What happened to the additional disabled parking spaces by the Law School?

QUESTION:
Having examined the planning application that was lodged with the local planning department in some detail, I see that the proposal has not been followed and the expected row of disabled parking spaces and a mirror image row of standard spaces have not materialised.  Instead, a host of new cycle parking points have appeared.  Was the proposal rejected or was this approved but not followed? The new parking spaces were very much needed, especially due to the numbers of disabled staff and students in the law school.

 

ANSWER:
Some minor adjustments to parking bays have been necessary due to site conditions encountered during the works. The overall number of spaces will be the same as originally planned. Some additional cycle facilities have been added to help those wishing to use their bicycles rather than their cars.

The number and location of disabled parking spaces will be reviewed at the completion of the overall project to ensure that adequate provision is made.

*This is a question that we did not have time for during the last Executive Question Time.

Are Christmas angel decorations banned on campus?

QUESTION:
I would like to Ask Exec if there is an official position regarding appropriate Christmas decorations?

There is a disruptive rumour doing the rounds that staff are not permitted to use angels to decorate Christmas trees in offices and foyers around the University. On the surface it may seem very daft or petty, but it also has the potential to cause a lot of serious upset.

I suspect this may be at best a simple misunderstanding; hopefully not someone with an axe to grind causing mischief.

Could we please cut through the rumour mill and get an official clarification on the position?

Thanks.

 
ANSWER:
Thank you for your query regarding Christmas decorations.
The University doesn’t have a formal policy regarding Christmas decorations but allows staff and students to decorate their areas of work in a way that is appropriate for any particular religious or cultural festival. For Christmas this would of course include angels.
Happy Christmas!

Where will disabled parking spaces and toilets be located in the new campus plans?

QUESTION:
Looking at the plans of the building work being undertaken in and around the Brindley Building on Leek Road, there doesn’t seem to be anything indicating where disabled parking will be located for the Building after and during the renovation. As there are a few disabled staff, and students due to start and return in September will the disabled parking at the front entrance still be available? If not where is disabled parking being allocated? Please don’t suggest that the parking in front of Ashley is all that there will be as this is probably too far to walk for most disabled individuals.

Please could you also tell me if there are going to be more disabled toilets put in? Currently, there is one situated on the ground floor at the opposite end of the building to the lift, in a dark corner under the stairs as you come in at that end of the building. Not particularly accessible if you are in a meeting/tutorial on the third floor.

 

ANSWER:
As the landscaping programme progresses, we will be reviewing the designation and location of car parking spaces to ensure that the needs of all staff, students and visitors can be met safely and appropriately.

In the Brindley building, a new disabled toilet facility has just been completed on the ground floor. As part of the work that has just commenced, a new additional lift is being put in which will be operational by the end of February 2013. Following this, the existing lift will be fully refurbished.

You can find out more on campus improvements at Shaping the Future

Why is there a distinction between ages for severance?

QUESTION:
A few years ago the University engaged in a very welcome move to abolish age discrimination, however I note with interest that one significant discriminatory provision remains, regarding managed severance. There appears to be a distinction between employees aged under 40 and those 40 + in the amount payable according to years of service , I would hope that the rates would be equalised prior to any severance being offered in the future.

 

ANSWER:
The University is committed to equality of opportunity for all staff and would not knowingly discriminate on any grounds.

The paragraph in the managed severance scheme to which you are referring relates to the calculation of the lump sum payment for staff applying for managed severance. The calculation for the lump sum payment which is essentially a redundancy payment is based on the Government’s regulations for the calculation of statutory redundancy payments.

The Government has retained the age-related bandings for statutory redundancy pay and this is currently excluded from age discrimination legislation.

Why doesn’t the university support Armed Forces Day?

QUESTION:

I would like to ask the Executive Team the following:

I have noticed that under the Equality and Diversity Scheme, no mention was made of the Armed Forces Day/week in June 2012. As we have many students from and collaboration with the services – I wondered if this was an oversight or a political decision? Many other groups and communities of the public seem to get a mention but our Armed Forces always seem to be forgotten.

Additionally, I have found that the University does not usually advertise Armistice Day on 11th November (except for a small mention of a church service) and last year there was not a single poppy on sale within the University, that I could find.

Perhaps many people don’t like to be reminded of conflicts around the world and indeed, not all agree with them, myself included. However, as an ex British service person I certainly would not mind sharing a celebration day with any other servicemen or women from around the globe whether they are classed as friend or foe. After all, anyone who chooses to serve their country are patriotic and proud.

I know there is a political issue here, but shouldn’t we be embracing every member of the community? Patriotism is not a crime in any country that I know of.

Many thanks.

 

ANSWER:

The University is currently reviewing the annual calendar of events that the University participates in, to ensure we support and acknowledge activities important to the university, the students and the region, as well as supporting National and International causes and events.

Armed Forces Day/Week is a relatively new celebration that the UK has committed to – strengthened this year with the Jubilee. We will therefore ensure that we support these dates in future. In terms of Armistice, we will continue our remembrance and will look at where the University is represented at the services that take place within the region. We will work with Students Union on the sale of Poppies.

Of note, Michael Gunn earlier in the year, attended the National Memorial Arboretum to take part in the signing of a local Armed Forces Community Covenant. The Covenant was instigated by Staffordshire County Council to bring together a commitment of local organisations for the purpose of encouraging support for the Armed Forces community that works and lives in Staffordshire.

Could an ‘International House’ be established?

QUESTION:
My colleagues and I have canvassed numerous years now for the establishment of an International House, a hub where students of all nationalities can meet, socialize, receive support and guidance and also learn about British Culture, and at the same time improve their English language skills, and perhaps even learn another language. As with other international houses, a range of authentic food reflecting the diverse origins of the students could also be provided.

We are of the opinion that academic success is enabled and indeed supported through continuous pastoral care and extracurricular activities.

My question therefore is:
How does the executive see the integration of these ideas with the wider plan to support our international students?

 
ANSWER:
The University Plan includes an objective to increase the number of international students studying at the University. We recognise that a critical element in our efforts to attract students from overseas is our ability to create a learning and social environment in which students feel safe and supported and in which they can they can develop the full set of skills and knowledge to allow them to succeed in their studies.

A new Student Experience Strategy is currently under development and the support arrangements for international students will form a key part of that Strategy, including the issues you have raised.

 

 

Could The Pavilion have power assisted doors?

QUESTION:

I have noticed on a couple of occasions the problems that some of our Students who use wheelchairs have entering the Restaurants in the Cadman Building.  The Student Enabling Office have a power assisted door entrance system and I would have thought this system could be used on the Restaurant doors.

I know this costs money, but it would save our Students from having to wait for someone to open the door to allow them access, and it also gives them the independence to do it themselves.

 

ANSWER:

The entrances to the Pavilion have been made accessible to people in wheelchairs and we have not received any complaints about problems.  We are however planning a new catering facility in the Brindley building which will be the main restaurant for the Stoke Campus from the end of next year and this will have powered doors to the entrances.