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EUSA Welfare Council discusses credit unions and KB

ByJoshua Stein

Oct 21, 2014

The Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) Welfare Council met last week to discuss key issues brought up by students.

Some of the main issues discussed were the isolation of King’s Buildings from George Square, and the problem of sexual harassment in Edinburgh.

Plans to affiliate EUSA with a branch of Capital Credit Union were also discussed.

The branch, which is being set up in Edinburgh Methodist Church, would provide advice and guidance to students looking to join up with the credit union.

This would aim to protect students against payday loan companies, including Wonga.com, who earlier this month were forced to write off customer debts of over £220 million.

Thousands of victims across the UK were signed up to loans without adequate evidence that they could pay them back.

William Bain, a Labour MP, told The Financial Times: “The days of payday lenders making unjustifiable profits out of the cost of living crisis faced by the most vulnerable in our society are numbered.”

The meeting was the first since the release of the National Student Survey rankings in August, which ranked the University as one of the lowest performing in Scotland for student satisfaction.

Eve Livingston, Vice President for Societies and Activities (VPSA) of Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA), highlighted sexual harassment as a key area of focus.

The committee discussed the use of the ‘Hollaback Map’ in on the EUSA website, a mobile app which allows people to pinpoint areas where they were harassed.

Livingston also discussed her ideas on a pay later taxi scheme, which would allow students to get a taxi in the evenings and pay for it the next day.

Speaking to The Student, Livingston said: “It’s understandable that people feel uncomfortable.

“We know this is an issue because we did research into it last year. It’s something we are committed to facing.”

A survey by EUSA earlier this year revealed that nearly a third of students have experienced sexual harassment during their time at Edinburgh, with just six per cent reporting the incident to the police.

The committee also discussed various ways in which King’s Buildings could be less isolated from George Square.

Concerns were raised over the issue of mental health and lack of student support there.

Magdalen Berns, a fourth year student of Physics, told The Student: “King’s Buildings is geographically isolated.

“They’ve got a traditionally heavier workload and if they start falling behind they get marginalised from each other.”

She continued: “It’s about giving them access to resources which can support them.”

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