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Referenda Case

All Student Vote (Summer 2022)

Save the RLT: Halt Staff Evictions and Protect Campus Welfare Support

This motion asks for us to support and show solidarity to members of University staff and students affected by the changes to the Residential Life Team (RLT) structure and lobby to halt implementation.

This Union Notes: 


This section should include any facts, figures or statements that you believe are relevant to the topic of your policy. Remember in this section clear and effective referencing is important. 


  1. Numerous public incidents and scandals have repeatedly undermined confidence in Warwick University’s commitment to the well-being of its students and staff, most prominently the Rape Chat Scandal.1  
  2. The Residential Life Team (“RLT”) is a core component of the well-being support system for students living on campus, supporting them both in adjusting to university life and through traumatic incidents. This year alone, these have included the recent Sherborne stabbing, bullying, harassment, spiking, mental health issues, sexual assaults, physical assaults, and suicides.2 
  3. The RLT was crucial in the university’s welfare and support provision during the Covid-19 pandemic, with RLTs voluntarily delivering food and medication to quarantining students; along with directly support students in both physical and mental health crises, when Campus Security was unable to attend due to the presence of Covid-19, and Wellbeing Support Services were critically overburdened. 
  4. The current RLT model ensures students can access members of the RLT 24/7, during both term time and holidays.  
  5. As access to professional counselling from Wellbeing Support Services can take upwards of a month, the RLT provides a crucial stopgap for students in need of interim support at any time of day. 
  6. The accommodation provided by the RLT allows low-income and disadvantaged students and staff to continue studying and working at Warwick while contributing directly to university life. 
  7. The University Executive Board, following an internal RLT Review, has voted to replace the Residential Life Team with Residential Community Assistants (“RCAs”).  
  8. RCAs will only be available between 17:00-23:00 each day, with only a small team of six or fewer administrators available outside of these hours to cover the entire campus. 
  9. Residential Community Assistants will pay rent and be on 12-15 hour, part-time contracts, with payment equating roughly to rent costs. This is in place of the volunteer contracts of the RLT, which provide on-campus accommodation, costing RLTs only a £600 utility bill per annum. Questions remain unanswered as to whether the proposed system is legal, given the implications of RCA housing being necessary to the position, yet not provided directly by the contract. 
  10. Members of staff will no longer be eligible to be RCAs. All staff RLTs are being forced to leave their posts at the end of the 2021-22 academic year, and their homes by January 2023. Some of these staff have been involved in the RLT for over 20 years. 
  11. The part-time RCA contract makes the position impossible for medical students (who currently comprise a substantial portion of the RLT), those who work to support themselves at hours clashing with RCA contracted ones, those receiving government benefits, and all PhD students who teach. This makes around 95% of Physics PhD students ineligible, for instance, with comparable figures across other departments. 
  12. Eligibility for the RCA will be extended to 3rd Year undergraduates and international students in an effort to compensate for this. The specifics and legality of this under visa restrictions on working remain unclear. 
  13. Consultation with members of the RLT and SU was minimal throughout the RLT Review, comprising a single meeting with one member of the SU in November 2021, and a short online survey sent to members of the RLT last academic year, in January 2021, with no direct relevance to the changes now proposed. 
  14. These changes were voted for by the University Executive Board, despite the Equality Impact Assessment form, EIA416, being listed as “active,” and thus incomplete, as of 28-02-22. This EIA does not include any acknowledgement of potential negative impacts on students or staff, listing this section as “not applicable.”3   
  15. The proposed changes will disproportionately affect disabled, neurodivergent, LGBTQIA+, minority, and otherwise vulnerable students, who frequently require personalised support at times outside the proposed RCA hours of 17:00-23:00. Any RCA who chooses to assist outside of these hours will be suffering exploitation by the university. 
  16. In other universities where second/third year undergraduate “Hall Reps” exist in a similar capacity to the proposed RCAs, this system has been frequently abused to take sexual advantage of First Year students, in a practise colloquially known as “sharking”.4 5 
  17. The university has so far (28-02-22) failed to provide details of the consultation upon which the RCA proposal is supposedly based, or to provide a completed Equality Impact Assessment, when asked to do so by members of the RLT. 
  18. No central explanation of the RCA Proposal has yet been provided (28-02-22), forcing those affected by the changes to assemble information from two brief letters, job postings for their replacements, and optional “drop-in sessions” with the Director of Wellbeing and Safeguarding in groups of no more than ten, with staff and students being separated. 




This Union Believes: 


This section should include opinions or supporting statements for your policy.  


  1. The university has not done sufficient research into the impacts of the RCA proposal on students or staff, particularly those who are disabled, neurodivergent, LGBTQIA+, minority, and otherwise vulnerable, to justify the implementation of such radical changes. 
  2. Staff members of the RLT, including a single mother and others with families and children, some of whom have lived at Warwick for decades, are being effectively fired and evicted from their homes through no fault of their own, and without being given any opportunity for input into the RCA proposal. This situation has caused deep distress for both students and staff within the RLT. 
  3. By enacting such radical changes with so little consultation, scrutiny, or transparency, the university risks inviting yet further scandal and allegations of prioritising profit over student and staff welfare, incurring even greater damage to Warwick’s already sub-par reputation on these fronts. 
  4. Any substantial changes to the RLT should be implemented steadily, with transition periods of at least a year. 
  5. The RCA system will only worsen existing problems with students’ access to wellbeing support on campus, while no clear evidence has been shown that the proposed RCA system will address existing gaps in welfare provisions for students across the university. 
  6. The RCA system will transfer significant responsibility for both emergency support and discipline primarily to the Community Safety Team, who are already over-stretched, as well as being considered unapproachable by many students. 
  7. The heightened risk of “sharking” makes the RCA proposal a potential risk to the safety of female students, in particular. 
  8. It is unreasonable of the university to expect both staff and students forced to leave their homes next academic year to find suitable accommodation, given most university accommodation for 2022-23 was settled in November-December of 2021, as well as the further economic pressures on the housing market created by the pandemic. 
  9. It is unreasonable of the university to expect undergraduates, with minimal active support, to handle the emotionally taxing and often distressing incidents which the current RLT handles. For instance, RLTs are often the first to be told by students of self-harm and sexual assault they have suffered, while RLT “safe and well” checks have led to RLTs being the first to discover the bodies of deceased students. The responsibility for informing families of loved ones’ deaths is also handled by senior members of the RLT, who are overwhelmingly university staff. 


This Union Resolves: 


This section should be about how you want the SU to react, the outcome of this policy. Remember to mandate specific departments/sabbatical officers; this will make things easier for future accountability 


  1. To show solidarity with members of university staff, as we have in the cases of strikes and industrial action in the past, by opposing the university’s proposed changes to the RLT. This should be expressed through an open letter from the SU President to the University Executive Board. 
  2. To mandate the SU President to call upon Stuart Croft and the University Executive Board to immediately halt any implementation of, and recruitment for positions in, the proposed RCA system for at least one year, until a more thorough, transparent consultation and review of the RLT has been conducted. 
  3. To open a dialogue, ideally through face-to-face meetings, between Stuart Croft, the University Executive Board, and the Student Council members whose constituents are directly affected by the RCA proposal; those being the SU President, Postgraduate Officer, Welfare and Campaigns Officer, Education Officer, Education Officer, Disabled Officer, Environment and Ethics Officer, Ethnic Minorities Officer, EU and Non-EU International Students’ Officers, LGBTQUA+ Officer(s), Trans Students’ Officer, and Women’s Officer(s), and all respective committees. 
  4. To advocate for and support the opening of similar dialogues between the aforementioned university representatives and other stakeholders in the RCA proposal, particularly staff who stand to lose their homes under the proposed system. 
  5. To enact this motion by Wednesday 16th March, a week ahead of the first interviews scheduled for candidates for new positions in the RCA system, on 23rd March.6