News

Have you received the HE Leisure Survey?

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Have your say in a survey about leisure provision at Coventry University, and be entered into a draw to win one of three £200 Amazon vouchers.

Sport England, in partnership with the independent research company TNS-BMRB, has developed an online leisure survey for Higher Education institutions in England. The leisure survey will help Universities to understand more about what students do in their free time and about student satisfaction with the leisure activities provided at Coventry University.

Students will be chose at random so if you receive an email regarding the questionnaire we encourage you to fill it in. Your input to this survey is important and highly valued. It does not matter whether you currently do a lot of leisure activities or not, we’re interested in talking to a range of students. We want to understand what is really important to you and use this to help drive and shape the offer provided by Coventry University – so please have your say!



MP joins students in condemning government plans for scrapping NHS bursaries

Students presenting the signed petitions to Jim Cunningham. 
[Left to right]
Students’ Union Campaigns Officer Akanimo Enime, Nursing student Elizabeth Summerfield, Jim Cunningham MP, Students’ Union President Elect Adebowale Adebiyi.

Students presenting the signed petitions to Jim Cunningham.  [Left to right] Students’ Union Campaigns Officer Akanimo Enime, Nursing student Elizabeth Summerfield, Jim Cunningham MP, Students’ Union President Elect Adebowale Adebiyi.

Students presenting the signed petitions to Jim Cunningham.
[Left to right] Students’ Union Campaigns Officer Akanimo Enime, Nursing student Elizabeth Summerfield, Jim Cunningham MP, Students’ Union President Elect Adebowale Adebiyi.

Students from Coventry University have organised a campaign to protest against government plans to scrap bursaries for NHS students.

As well as organising transport to a demonstration at the Houses of Parliament this week, Coventry University Students’ Union has handed over a petition to Jim Cunningham, Member of Parliament for Coventry South signed by 300 students who are against the proposed changes.

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EDL – Not Welcome Here

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eldnoThe English Defence League (EDL) are coming to Coventry City Centre on 21 May 2016.

Coventry as a city has a tradition of peace and reconciliation. Its citizens are made up from many backgrounds, cultures and religions and we all respect each other.

The University has students and staff from all over the world, studying and living together. One of the aims of the University is to internationalise our students and extend our global friendships.

The EDL are racists, they have nothing to offer the people of Coventry or the students who are studying here. They bring them messages of hate, intolerance, prejudice and discrimination.

The people of Coventry are standing up against the racist EDL they want them to know that they and their messages of hate are NOT WELCOME in Coventry.

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Conman Landlord jailed after lettings scam

Barinder Uppal, former Coventry estate agent and convicted fraudster.
Barinder Uppal, former Coventry estate agent and convicted fraudster.

Barinder Uppal, former Coventry estate agent and convicted fraudster.

Coventry University Students’ Union (CUSU) was pleased to read the outcome of the Warwick Crown Court hearing regarding Barinder Uppal, also known as “Ricky Singh”.

In September 2015 students started contacting CUSU because they had paid deposits and rent to “Ricky” but were unable to move into the houses he had promised them as they were not his to rent out.

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How do I know if my landlord or estate agent is trustworthy?

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Where you live is really important it can affect your health and well-being, your academic outcomes and your finances. So choosing where to live, who to live with and who to give your money to are very important decisions. It is a really good idea to think carefully before you sign a contract, make any verbal agreements or handover any money (all of which could be deemed a legally binding agreement).

 

  • Always get your contract checked before you sign it at the Students’ Union Advice Centre – if the landlord or agent doesn’t want to give you time to do this then you should ask yourself what this says about the landlord/agent for more information contact : email suadvice@coventry.ac.uk , web http://www.cusu.org/support/advice/
  • Try and speak to students who are already living in a property owned or managed by the landlord/agent and ask what their experience has been – it may be different from the marketing hype

 

Landlords

  1. Ask if the landlord is a member of a professional organisation like the NLA.  This shows they are aware of their obligations as a landlord and understand the rules and regulations relating to the letting of private-residential property.
  2. Make sure the landlord provides a proper Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement that both parties sign.  This is the contractual agreement outlining the length of the tenancy, the amount of rent, when it is to be paid, any deposit details, and the obligations of both parties.
  3. Check any deposit is protected.  Landlords are required to protect their tenant’s deposit with a government-authorised scheme such as my|deposits and inform the tenant that they have done so.  If there is a dispute over the return of the deposit, the scheme will help resolve it.
  4. Ensure the landlord provides an inventory, detailing furnishings within the property and their condition.  Both parties should agree to its contents and sign it.
  5. Ask for a gas safety record to show that all gas appliances provided by the landlord have been checked within the past 12 months.  Landlords are required to have a gas safety check carried out annually by a “Gas Safe” registered engineer.
  6. Read the property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).  This must be provided by the landlord for most lettings and can help when budgeting for energy bills.

 

Estate Agents

  1. Look for a reputable agent 
    Look for a good, reputable agent to take the stress out of finding a property. Start by researching agents in your area, looking for agents that are members of a registered trade body. Membership of a professional association confirms that they are professionally approved and must adhere to a Code of Practice. Shelter says that Letting Agents must belong to one of three government approved schemes

    • The Property Ombudsman (TPO)
    • The Property Redress Scheme
    • Ombudsman Services Property
  1. Check the agency’s specialism 
    If you’re looking for a studio or one bed flat, you’ll have more luck with some agencies than others. Some agencies will specialize in bigger, family homes and others will let modern flats and apartments. You’ll soon get a feel for the agency’s target market by visiting their website.
  2. Look at the agent’s fees 
    Some letting agents will charge higher fees than others but agents who are members of registered bodies should be transparent and clear about their fees before you sign any agreement. These should be outlined in advance and in a manner that is easily understood. This will allow you to make an informed decision about the agency you choose.
  3. Ask for out-of-hours call out details 
    Even if managing the property, not all agencies offer an out-of-hours service but if the boiler were to break on a cold winter’s evening or the roof were to leak on a wet weekend, you would need someone to call. If the agency doesn’t offer an out-of-hours service, then you may want to look further afield.
  4. Check that the agent protects deposits in a tenancy deposit protection scheme. 
    An agent must protect your deposit in one of three government-authorised schemes and provide you with relevant prescribed documentation. Check that the agent will do this within 30 days of the tenancy starting; if they don’t, they will be breaking the law.
  5. Ask about regular maintenance and safety checks.
    When managing a property on behalf of a landlord, it is essential that the letting agent visits the property at least every six months to check for any maintenance issues. However, they should always seek permission from the tenant first with 24 hours written notice. In addition, the letting agent legally needs to arrange for gas safety checks to be carried out every 12 months to ensure the property conforms to the required gas safety standards and provide the tenant with the certificate.
  6. Check that the staff are knowledgeable
    Good letting agents will train their staff using industry qualifications, such as Continuous Professional Development (CPD) courses. Look to see what training each agency undertakes; if the staff are knowledgeable, they will be able to help with the various hurdles you may experience with your rental arrangements.
  1. Is your deposit protected?

The landlord has overall responsibility for protecting a deposit so something that says –  check who is protecting your deposit the landlord or the letting agent acting on behalf of the landlord

 

For more information : http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice



2016 NUS Conference Report

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nusrepsThe 2016 NUS conference, held this year in Brighton, ran from the 19th-21st April. A team of delegates from Coventry University travelled down to the coast to represent CUSU and all of its students. They attended to vote on motions, discuss proposed actions by the NUS and elect in the new President and Vice Presidents of the NUS. Many of the motions discussed related to huge issues affecting all students, including remaining in the EU, landlords, racism, refugees in universities, student mental health, and the National Student Survey to name a few.

Our delegates did a wonderful job of representing CUSU, voting in the interests of students and looking for ways to improve the NUS, through policies and stances taken at the conference. Our students stood for fairer equality on campuses, greater acceptance and diversity and to fight against rogue landlords and privatization of services.

Motions discussed at the conference included:

  • Boycotting of the NSS
  • Safe social elections
  • Service privatization, or should it be piratisation?
  • Prioritise student mental health now
  • Rogue landlords
  • Refugees: Welcome in universities
  • Stand up to racism
  • The Prevent agenda

The new NUS committee was also voted in, with the following:

  • President: Malia Bouattia
  • Vice President for Education (HE): Sorana Vieru
  • Vice President for Education (FE): Shakira Martins
  • Vice President for Union Development: Richard Brooks
  • Vice President for Society and Citizenship: Robbie Young

Read on to find out what our delegates thought of the conference, and exactly what it means to be an NUS delegate representing CUSU at the NUS conference!


Adebowale Adebiyi - Representation and Welfare Officer

As the lead delegate, it was my responsibility and duty to check up on every delegate, keep everyone together and ensure that every delegate is on the conference floor at the right time. Thanks to my fellow honourable delegates for making these responsibilities easy and smooth for me. Delegates are elected to represent the views and best interests of Coventry University Students, as well as the union, all have to be on our very best behaviour (and we did just that!). The etiquette of all delegates were quite commendable, there was free flow of communication and discussions on very pertinent issues were made, keeping in mind respect for one another.

As your representatives, we voted on some very important motions across the following zones: Priority zone, Welfare zone, Society & citizenship zone, union development, Education zone (that is, HE & FE). Amongst the motions are:

  1. Boycotting of the NSS – unless the Tory government makes a U-turn.
  2. Safe social elections

iii. Service privatization, or should it be piratisation?

  1. Prioritise student mental health now
  2. Rogue landlords
  3. Refugees welcome in universities

vii. Stand up to racism

viii. The Prevent agenda

As regards the election, which was quite a tense one, we voted for the

FTO’s, the block of 15 student trustees, and the democratic procedure committee. The following officers were elected to lead on the leadership of the NUS for the following year;

  1. President: Malia Bouattia
  2. VP Education (HE): Sorana Vieru

iii. VP Education (FE): Shakira Martins

  1. VP Union Development: Richard Brooks
  2. VP Society & Citizenship: Robbie Young

As I have been elected to lead the students’ body for next year, I’ve decided to put some of these ideas at the centre of my plans and part of it is to: make the NUS presence as well as CUSU’s felt on campus thereby utilising to the fullest our affiliation fee; motivate more Coventry University students to be on NUS committee/boards as well as get involved in every of the campaigns run by the liberation and sectional zones. One lesson learnt however from the conference that will be put forward for that of the coming years, is early and adequate preparation of all delegates on issues such as voting, motions, etc.

On a final note, it was such an amazing and transformative experience representing over 24,000 students at the conference, where history was made as the very First Black Woman was elected President. On behalf of my fellow delegates; Neel, Gabriele, Diana, Alex and Naomi, we say Thank You.

For a more detailed overview of the NUS National conference 2016, please see the following links;http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/articles/what-happened-on-day-one-at-national-conference-2016http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/articles/what-happened-on-day-two-at-national-conference-2016http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/articles/what-happened-on-day-three-at-national-conference-2016


Diana Lunca NUS Delegate

The NUS National Conference was a unique experience for me, where I had the chance to meet and to be inspired by other delegates who had vast experience in NUS. Considering the fact that I am just a Student Representative, and not a Sabbatical Officer or part of the Student Council, as my NUS colleagues, I had a different perspective over the conference. From my point of view it was a vibrant and intense event which gave me the opportunity to represent Coventry University, stating opinions and voting on the behalf of the majority of students who are not fully aware of the procedures and laws, therefore who are not taking into consideration the numerous guidelines imposed by some of the student union. I simply voted as a student who wanted the best for the colleagues, for the university and for societies, stating a different perspective in the NUS meeting.

During the first day of the conference the Higher Education and Further Education motions were voted, as well as the ones related to Union Development. Also, in the beginning of the conference a highly useful briefing and training was scheduled for the new delegates in order to understand the voting system and procedures. Furthermore, during the second day were voted the motions for two more zones, the Welfare Zone and the Society and Citizenship Zone, as well as the rules change and the AGM motions. The most important part of the day was the election of the five Vice Presidents for Higher Education, Further Education, Welfare, Society and Citizenship and for Union Development, and of course the election of the NUS National President. The new elected NUS National President is Malia Bouattia. Sorana Vieru, Shelly Asquith and Shakira Martin were re- elected as Vice Presidents for Higher Education, for Further Education, respectively for Welfare, and Rob Young as well as Richard Brooks were elected as Vice Presidents for Society and Citizenship, respectively for Union Development. The last day of the NUS conference was marked by the elections for Block of 15, Democratic Procedures Committee and Student Trustees.

The NUS National Conference was an amazing experience which gave me the opportunity of gaining a better understanding of the Student Union and NUS, and, most important, which allowed me to represent Coventry University and to vote on the behalf of its students.


Alexander Cairns (NUS DELEGATE 2015/16)

This year from Tuesday 19th-Thurdsay 21st April, I was proud to represent Coventry University and Coventry University College at the national NUS Conference in Brighton.

Myself, and 5 other delegates from Coventry attended the conference to vote on motions, and have discussions regarding both HE and FE within the UK, and to of course network with other university delegates.

Although we did not agree on some motions, I can proudly announce that all 6 of us voted for Malia Bouattia to become this year’s NUS National President and I’m happy to announce that she was successful and won against the current president Megan Dunn with 372 votes, with Megan receiving 328.

I’m also happy to announce that Richard, Shelly, Sorana and Shakira all got re-elected as Vice Presidents for the NUS.

During the 3 days of conference, I attended a few fringe sessions on various topics such as:

  • HE-The Green Paper
  • EU- To stay or leave; a student’s view
  • The prevent Agenda

In terms of motions that were discussed and voted on, the areas were the priority Zone, the Education Zone, the union development zone, the welfare zone, the society and citizenship zone and finally the rules revision zone. If students would like to find out which motions I voted for and against, please e- mail or message me and I’ll be happy to explain.

The NUS National Conference was a fantastic experience, and an experience I will never forget, it was an honour representing Coventry on a national scale and it was fantastic to meet and discuss education issues with members such as the current NUS President of both Wales and Scotland, the current members of the national executive committee at the NUS and finally executive officers at Student unions such as Reading, Bournemouth, Warwick, Bradford, and Birmingham to name a few.

Over 750 delegates from across the country attended and it was a great conference with many brilliant speakers and interesting elections. I am happy to say I will definitely be re-standing for NUS Delegate for next year.


Naomi MG Smith – FBL Faculty Chair

Being a first time delegate at one of the largest student democratic gatherings in Europe was a huge learning curve for me personally, especially understanding how Conference works, how to vote, how to participate and figuring out and trying to understand what the NUS is really about. Something that I really liked at conference was the sense of community, the amount of inspiring students and leaders I spoke to was really positive and there are people that I plan to keep in touch with. All in all it was three busy and exhausting days of listening to and debating on motions, voting on the next leadership line up for NUS as well as networking all whilst representing CUSU.

A major part of the conference is the elections. Having read the manifestos and seen the social media campaigns before reaching Brighton, I genuinely didn’t know how it would pan out, which made me ever so nervous as the national student movement needs to be improved and needs to be more representative and inclusive of students like me and you. I am happy that I helped to make history by voting for Malia Bouattia as NUS National President 2016/17, which she won over incumbent Megan Dunn. Malia was the only Presidential candidate to actually make the effort to come to our Union and talk us through her plans a week before conference. In my opinion she is the leader that the NUS desperately needs, someone who will put liberation at the forefront of the NUS agenda rather than to the side as it has been over the past few years. I also extend my congratulations to all those re-elected (Sorana – VP Higher Education, Shakira – VP Further Education, Shelly – VP Welfare & Richard – VP Union Development) and newly elected (Robbie – Society & Citizenship).


Gabrielle Rotaru NUS Delegate/ Activities Officer

The NUS National Conference took place this year in Brighton and I attended it as an elected delegate of CUSU. The conference lasted for three days, with a lot of workshops, sessions, motions discussed and on voted on, reports given by the NUS officers analysed, holding the elected officers to account and electing the representatives that will be running the NUS next year.

The first day of the conference started with the training of the first time delegates, explaining to all first time attendees how the conference works, with rules, regulations, and democratic processes. The conference opened with key note speeches, including the President of The European Students Union, in which the importance of the upcoming referendum as well as its implication and the necessity of having students involved and having a say was emphasized. This speech was followed by another speech given by the Frances O’Grady, the Secretary of TUC, which has given an overview of the current state education and employment, inequalities as well as the way in which the government’s actions and taken throughout the year have an influence on students experience, education sector etc. This was followed by a speech delivered by Megan Dunn, the current President of NUS.

Other activities that took place on the same day were discussing and voting on priority zone motions, education zone reports and motions, and union development report and motions. The education zone was one of the lengthiest in terms of numbers of motions proposed, amendments, and discussion generated. Although the majority of the motions were discussed, unfortunately not all of them were, and as we were running out of time and the proposal to extend the discussion received vote against, all the left motions were left to be discussed and worked on by the NEC. Some of the motions that were discussed as part of this were related to engaging with green paper, not filling in the NSS, and a lot of them related to more support to Further Education.

The other zone that was discussed in the same day was the Union Development. All the motions in this zone have been discussed and voted upon, although this involved extending the discussion of the motions in the following day, when the proposal for that was voted upon by the majority. Some of the motions that have been discussed and passed were related to support and tools to measure better the impact of student opportunities, safer social elections by tackling online bullying towards candidates on different platforms, and better networks to share best practice and build student unions etc.

There were a couple of workshops that took place throughout the day among on different topics ranging from EU referendum, Prevent, current problems faced by the Jewish community etc.

The first day of the conference ended with a very lively and animated Hustings sessions for the VP and President candidates. Delegates came to support and hear the speeches of those running in the elections.

The main activities of the second day of the conference were the discussion of reports and adoption of motions in the welfare zone and society and citizenship and AGM motions, as well as the elections. There were a couple of motions that generated a lot of discussion and attracted a lot of attention around them, among which the Anti-Semitism on campus and the amendment of it with the proposal that NUS should officially commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.

The third day was focused on some more elections for the Democratic Process Committee which have seen a lot of candidates and well as the election for the Trustees. All the candidates were strong in all of the NUS elections, with some great speeches being delivered. In the same day, two policies that were about to lapse were discussed and a report was given from the Liberation zone and worked carried out by the officers in different sections. The Conference ended with a very emotional speech delivered by Megan Dunn, who was not re-elected as president.

Overall there was also some criticism referring to the way in which the conference is structured, accessibility, NUS being politicized rather than inclusive and being focused on representing all students’ interests and views, and the way in which voting is being carried out.

Neel's NUS Experience

It was a great experience and I thoroughly enjoyed my time at conference.

If anyone is wondering what it is like, it is ASM crossed with Student Council but for 3 days, and I mean three long days.

I had a great time debating motions, being loud, passionate and the best version of myself. The days are long and the night outs end quicker than some of you would have liked! If you have a strong left leaning political ideology this is a great conference for you

I would recommend going and putting yourself forward for next year’s NUS delegates and coming in with a strong game of what you want to speak on. Skim read the motions and stick to the first 10 of each section to avoid disappointment like myself. Write a speech (against will get a higher chance of being picked) and practise it down to ninety seconds.


 



Body found in search for missing Coventry University student Ozi Akerele

Ozi-3(1)

It is with deep regret that the elected officers of Coventry University Students’ Union acknowledge the information from the West Midlands Police issued today 25/04/2016.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Ozi Akerele as they have been since 31 January 2015.

We are still waiting for confirmation from West Midlands Police and we will keep you informed of any information as soon as it is released and notify you of any arrangements that are made to pay your respects to Ozi.

The elected officers.

West Midlands Police Official Press Release:

ozipressrelease

West Midlands Police Website



Add+vantage Module Sign Ups

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Add+vantage module sign up starts on Monday (for current first years) and Tuesday (for current second years). CUSU has range of different modules that can give you the chance to build on your SU experience!

As well as the opportunities volunteer in the community, in schools or with your sport / society, the Students Union have a new module (Students’ Union Project Placement) that will enable you to gain your add+vantage accreditation through participation in a number of SU areas. We’ve got opportunities to complete projects in areas such as student representation, volunteering, advice, democracy, campaigns, commercial services, student media, sport, societies and other areas of Union life.

Don’t miss out on signing up to a module you’d love to try – courses fill up fast so don’t waste any time!

Check out the full list of modules on the Module Information Directory:

https://webapp.coventry.ac.uk/MidWebCurr/Main.aspx

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