Oxford Brookes Students' Union

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Coordinates: 51°45′19″N 1°13′46″W / 51.75523°N 1.2295°W / 51.75523; -1.2295

Brookes Union
Brookes Union Logo.jpg
Institution Oxford Brookes University
Location John Henry Brookes Building, Gipsy Lane, Headington Campus, Oxford, OX3 0BP
Established 26th November 1921
President Diko Blackings
Vice presidents Sam Cockle-Hearne
Harriet Cherry
Sharelle Holdsworth
Members ~18,000[1]
Affiliations National Union of Students
Website www.brookesunion.org.uk
Union Square

Brookes Union (also known officially as Oxford Brookes Students' Union) is a union representing students at Oxford Brookes University. The union offers a range of services for students; it hosts a number of student societies, a safety bus service, an advice service, and a system of student representatives. The union-run Morals bar was open from 1992 until it closed in 2012.[2][3] However, as part of a university redevelopment, when the union moved to Gipsy Lane Campus (and occupied part of the new John Henry Brookes building), it opened a new union bar in addition to the Westminster Square bar at the Harcourt Hill campus. In 2012, it scored one of the lowest satisfaction rates in the National Student Survey.[4]


The Helena Kennedy Centre where the union was previously located was formerly the headquarters of Pergamon Press,[5] which was the site of Britain's longest running print strike.[6]

Oxford Polytechnic Students' Union[edit]

Throughout the years Oxford Polytechnic Students Union saw students involved in various movements.

The union had an active peace group which regularly participated in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and protests against US military bases on British territory, such as the Upper Heyford air base. In July 1985 the union sent two students from the peace group to Moscow to take part in the 12th World Festival of Youth and Students.[7]

There were some international solidarity campaigns, the anti-apartheid group took students on coaches to London to protest British support for the policy of apartheid in South Africa.[8][9] This group had a lot of support from Clive Booth who went on to become the vice-chancellor when the college became a university. Some students took part in a civic delegation to Nicaragua during the Contra War[10][11] and received a delegation of trade unionists from Nicaragua in return.[12] Later on the Students Union passed a motion of solidarity with the people of Nicaragua.

The union also received speakers from Sinn Féin[13] and SWAPO[14] representing national liberation movements in Ireland and Namibia respectively. There were debates around the issue of Israel,[15][16] with Jonathan Djanogly taking a zionist position.[17] He was the treasurer of the conservative society at the time.[18]

Oxford Brookes Students' Union[edit]

After 1992, Oxford Polytechnic was converted to a university and the students union changed its name.

In 2012, students protested on the front lawn of the Gipsy Lane campus, calling on the university to prioritise bursaries over fee waivers for student support.[19] They set up camp on 18 April[20][21] and stayed there until 19 May when they packed up and left overnight.[22] A petition in support of their demands raised 700 signatures.

Brookes Union[edit]

In August 2013, Oxford Brookes Students' Union re-branded to become Brookes Union. The union sported new logos and designs, each colour representing a different aspect of the union whilst retaining overall a design cohesion. At the Annual General Meeting in February 2015, it was motioned (and passed) that the existing format of three Sabbatical Officers would become four with a restructuring of the VP: Student Experience role due to the large remit. As such the VP: Student Experience split into 2 roles, VP: Societies Development and VP: Welfare.

National Students Survey Rankings[edit]

All UK universities and Students' Unions are ranked from top to bottom based on overall student satisfaction from graduating student feedback collected in their last year of studying. The National Students' Survey was launched in 2005 with and Question 23 was introduced in 2012 with the intention of gauging student satisfaction of their respective students' union. Question 23 asks "I am satisfied with the Students' Union (Association or Guild) at my institution".

Student Unions are ranked based on the feedback of students and Oxford Brookes Students' Union has ranked as following:

  • 2012 - Ranked 134th (out of 134) - 39% Satisfaction (National Average 66%)
  • 2013 - Ranked 131st (out of 132) - 37% Satisfaction (National Average 67%)
  • 2014 - Ranked 134th (out of 136) - 38% Satisfaction (National Average 68%)
  • 2015 - Ranked 131st (out of 137) - 48% Satisfaction (National Average 68%)
  • 2016 - Ranked 133rd (out of 137) - 43% Satisfaction (National Average 63%)


Safety Bus[edit]

The safety bus scheme is a volunteer run welfare service for students at Oxford Brookes University. The service operates within Oxford's ring road, plus Wheatley and Harcourt Hill campuses, Risinghurst, and Littlemore. Students unable to get home can call the safety bus service, who will then take them home for a suggested donation of £1. It was originally called the Women's Safety Bus and was provided for women who felt unsafe on the streets of Oxford at night. The service runs from 9.00 in the evening until 4.00 in the morning;


The union has many different societies; these are run by current students with assistance from union staff and the VP: Student Experience.

Every year in the first week of term, the union runs a Freshers Fair at which societies run stalls to attract new members.


  1. ^ "Union Facts". National Union of Students. Archived from the original on 2 April 2011. 
  2. ^ Coats, Jock (26 February 2012). "So farewell then, Morals Bar". Jock's OXFr33? Blog. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "Extension, refurbishment and fit-out of union bar" (pdf). Bridgford Interiors. 2003. 
  4. ^ Ratcliffe, Rebecca (28 September 2012). "The worst student unions: how does yours compare?". the Guardian. 
  5. ^ Jenkins, Stephanie. "Headington history: Listed Buildings & Structures". Oxford History. Archived from the original on 18 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Jenkins, Stephanie. "Inscriptions: Pergamon Press". Oxford History. 
  7. ^ Clark, Simon; Tony Smith (7 October 1985). "back in the USSR". The Last Edition (2): 11. 
  8. ^ "Anti Apartheid Movement national demonstration June 16th". The Last Edition (25): 4. 10 June 1985. 
  9. ^ Forsyth, Justin (28 October 1985). "rally against apartheid". The Last Edition (5): 3. 
  10. ^ Johnson, Dominic (25 November 1985). "co-ops under fire Nicaragua tour '85". The Last Edition (9): 3. 
  11. ^ "OxPoly goes to Nicaragua". The Last Edition (11): 4. 20 January 1986. 
  12. ^ Johnson, Dominic (18 November 1985). The Last Edition (8): 4.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ "Sinn Féin speaker at OxPoly". The Last Edition (6): 15. 5 November 1985. 
  14. ^ The Last Edition (12): 14. 29 January 1986.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ Geoff, Stewart (May 1985). "the truth about zionism". The Last Edition: 8. 
  16. ^ Stuart, Geoff (2 December 1985). "Israel- a reply to J. Djanogly". The Last Edition (10): 5. 
  17. ^ "the myth that has become a reality". The Last Edition (4): 5. 21 October 1985. 
  18. ^ The Last Edition: 13. 16 May 1985.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ Hello! Goodbye! Occupy! (pdf). 20 May 2012. p. 2. We were here to raise awareness amongst the wider student population who have been deliberately kept in the dark about unfair changes to financial support, especially regarding fee waivers. 
  20. ^ "Anti-fees protest sets up camp at Oxford Brookes". the Morning Star. 19 April 2012. p. 4. 
  21. ^ Bardsley, Fran (19 April 2012). "Occupy protest at Brookes continues tonight". the Oxford Times. 
  22. ^ Bardsley, Fran (22 May 2012). "Brookes protest camp packs up". the Oxford Times. 
  23. ^ "Student Pride". Gay Sports Clubs & Social Groups. GMFA. 11 March 2010. 
  24. ^ "OxArch". Oxford Architecture Society. 2013. 
  25. ^ "OxFit". 

External links[edit]