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The University of Melbourne Student Union has made a landmark move to inaugurate a People of Colour department and increase the representation of women through affirmative action.

This follows today’s General Meeting in North Court of Union House, which saw the passage of several motions aimed to increase inclusivity and representation.

Please see below for a breakdown of each motion:

Motion 1: Removing the asterisk from “Wom*n” – The asterisk is associated with second wave feminism, a movement that was largely exclusionary of trans women and is no longer reflective of the modern Women’s Department. Its removal will make the department more accessible and inclusive.

Motion 2 & 3: Introducing representation for People Of Colour – There are currently no positions within UMSU dedicated to representing students who are people of colour. These changes will introduce a new department dedicated to representing these students, as well as a new representative position on Students’ Council for Students of Colour, ensuring UMSU is more reflective and representative of the student body.

Motion 4: Correction from MUOSS to UMSU International – A simple correction of outdated naming terms.

Motion 5: Updating the definition of Woman – Previously, students have been required to be enrolled as a woman to be eligible to participate in the Women’s department, meaning trans women were excluded.  This new definition will be more inclusive of all women, regardless of their assigned gender.

Motion 6: Affirmative Action for Women of Colour – This change was developed by the Women’s Collective and Women of Colour Collective to ensure the department is more reflective of the student body. It will result in a minimum of 3 out of 7 of the women on Women’s Committee being women of colour and at least one of the Women’s Officers (when there are two officers) and ensure greater engagement of women of colour in the department.

Motion 7: Affirmative Action for OBs – This change will simply mean that where there is more than one office bearer in a department, at least one is a woman. This will ensure women are represented and encouraged to participate in every department of UMSU.

Motion 8: Affirmative action for council and committees – This change will mean that the minimum number of women on Students’ Council and each UMSU committee is increased by one, ensuring more women are represented and encouraged to participate.