University of Portsmouth Students’ Union to stand up in solidarity with Palestine

For the students’ Union to stand up against the oppression of Palestine. Oppose the Human Rights Violations, hold an official stance against the atrocities occurring and lobby the university to end its dealings and involvement with the arms trade.

  • Petition submitted by Elliott Lee on May 20, 2021


This petition has been passed and will be actioned ASAP.

Petition Updates

  • An Update from the UPSU Team

    An Update from the UPSU Team

    Following further conversations at the Union Leadership the following outcomes were identified into response to the petition: Leadership made the decision to view the overall idea through the lens of Ultra Vires. This means as a charity we need to be careful about our political neutrality and charitable remit and can only offer limited resources. More information on this can be found here Action 1 was reviewed and unfortunately UPSU is unable to support this specific action. This is in particular relation to the sentence 'Take a clear ethical stance to not continue or enter into dealings, whether they be financial or of other value, with organisations involved in the oppression of peace, democracy and human rights' If UPSU were to take action and support this, then we would not be able to work with the University as an institution.This would go significantly against our charitable remit. Regarding wording - Leadership felt that to edit the idea would not be fair and in the spirit of a good campaigning organisation. It was agreed to leave the wording as it is in the Petition Background section. We would suggest however that it is good practice to reference sources for any stats/numbers quoted and this is encouraged. The officers are keen to support the campaign in the actions outlined in Action 2 and will discuss this further at the Activist Students social on the 1st of November 2021.

  • Update from the Union on this idea

    Update from the Union on this idea

    This petition was reviewed by UPSU Leadership on 01/06/2021. Leadership actioned the idea through the lens of Ultra Vires* which means there are a few further steps to be taken before the petition proceeds further: Action 1 of the idea needs to be investigated to identify the implications of the impact of this action on the organisation and the students UPSU supports. Additionally the statement will need to be reviewed (through the lens of Ultra Vires) as to whether UPSU has the ability to support the statement based on the exact current wording. There will need to be some edits to the wording of the statement overall in line with our legal requirements. This includes our obligations as a charity (Charity Comission Guidance - CC26) and ethical obligations. This specifically references the use of the word ‘Jews’ and ‘apartheid’. Other suggested edits may also be applied. A review of this will be undertaken. Following discussions with the elected officer team, it was felt that the best course of action to support Action 2 of the petition (lobbying the University and asking them to be transparent on their dealings) will be to forward this on to the UPSU Activist Student Group. This group will look at action 2 specifically and identify next steps. The Union’s officers and the Student Focus team will be able to provide some limited support to empower this group to action this. The lead Elected Officer for Activist Students is Destiny Karakus who can be contacted at Any further updates will be posted here. *What is Ultra Vires? Ultra Vires means beyond the powers of an organisation’s remit. UPSU is a registered charity and legally has to comply with Charity Law and the 1994 Higher Education Act amongst others. UPSU’s purpose is to advance the education of students at the University of Portsmouth by supporting, developing and acting in their interests in relation to their education, welfare and development. What does this mean? Ultimately legally we have to be careful how we spend our money, time and resource. Additionally we have to be careful and take due diligence when taking stances and passing policy on political matters. More information can be found here. Please note that whilst UPSU is not affiliated to NUS this document is applicable to all Unions regardless of NUS membership. It is also the most transparent and easy to read guidance available on this matter. How does this work in the context of this petition? Any petition that is submitted via our Have Your Say platform that may include a legal, financial or reputational risk is sent to the UPSU Leadership for further consideration. The Leadership team is made up of the five elected officers and two senior staff experts. In this instance it was identified that that this petition may be outside of our charitable remit meaning a number of areas need further consideration. The officers were tasked with identifying how we can best support Action 2 of the petition. As the issue was deemed 'Ultra Vires' - outside UPSU legal remit - it is important that it is fully student led and the resources of UPSU are limited, therefore it was felt best that Activist Students (a group of student volunteers) take this proposal forward, with help and support from some Elected Officers and staff. Why have other Unions actioned or passed similar petitions? It is down to each organisation to determine the risk, based on their legal obligations. The Charity Commission are investigating some of the SU's that have released statements or stances on this matter in recent weeks and it is important to note that in 2017, 17 Students Unions were investigated and contacted by the Charity Commission over their positions on the conflict. The response can be found here. Any breach could have an impact on the Union either financially via fines or in other ways. It's also worth noting that not all Students’ Unions are charities, although most are, and as a result those who are not may have different remits

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