University of Bradford Union

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

University of Bradford Union
Location Student Central, University of Bradford, Richmond Road, Bradford, England BD7 1DP
Established 1957 (as a Students' Union)
1966 (as a University Union)
Sabbatical officers Shamraze Khan
(Education Officer)
Ummer Yasin
(Community and Activities Officer)
Hamza Ahmed
(Sports and Wellbeing Officer)
Faiz Ilyas
(Student Affairs Officer)[1]
Trustees Full time sabbatical officers; external trustees; student trustees including Chair of Council; and CEO
Members c. 15,000 (c. 9,000 in the UK)
Affiliations National Union of Students, British Universities and Colleges Sport

The University of Bradford Union (UBU) is the students' union for the University of Bradford in Bradford, England and is a registered charity.[2]


The University of Bradford Union (UBU) is run by an executive of six full-time sabbatical officers,[3] elected annually towards the end of the academic season, and currently nine non-sabbatical executive officers elected at various times.

The executive committee is unusual in not having a president: the post was abolished by Shumon Rahman in 2001 who was elected the Union's first Asian President in 2000. The new executive positions and the reforms he introduced were modified in 2007 to incorporate an agreement with the University made in 2004 that a full review of the officers would take place. This involved merging the Treasurer and Secretary (what was Internal Affairs) role and the creation of one of the only Ethics, Environment and Welfare Officers in the country. The roles have been continually tweaked and evolved since, and in 2017 are subject to a major review.

The executive reports to a student council who meet at least 8 times each academic year. These students are elected through open places in a cross campus ballot and from the devolved areas of power; Course Representatives, Sports, Societies and Media.

The Union is located in the Student Central building at the city campus, but it also runs Room 101, the PGR lounge and social and the Weir Room.


The Role of the Union is to support and provide services for its students of the university such as academic or financial advice,[4] or activities and entertainment or for their safety.[5]

Student engagement[edit]

Much student engagement with UBU comes via Societies and Sports Clubs, and the Academic Representation system in which students can be Class or Faculty Representatives.

Of the many societies, some are course-related, such as the optometry society BOOSA; there are also international societies, faith groups, plus purely recreational societies.

The student union colours are red and black, and many of the sports teams use the traditional black, with red and white accents for their playing kit.

There are annual balls towards the end of the year: the Activities Ball and Colours ball. Additionally the achievements of students involved in various ways with the union are celebrated during the Student Leadership Awards.


UBU runs campaigns on varying issues, with a focus on education and welfare. Campaigns are directed by the elected leadership team, or sometimes by motions brought by students through the elected Council.

Past notable campaigns have included:

Free Education & Grants for all — The Union has a long-standing position for free education. In 1997 the Union supported people refusing to pay the first fees including fees strikes. That latest free education policy was passed in 2008 to support the call for a national demonstration for free education.[6] In September 2008 the General Meeting of students decided that the call for Free Education should be the campaign priority for the academic year and voted to allocate over one thousand pounds to the cause.[7]

Palestine and Gaza — After the Union made two demands for support of Gaza of the University[8] in 2009 over 80 students occupied the University boardroom with a number of further demands of support for Gaza.[9] they claim to have achieved some success as of the morning of 28 January 2009.[10] In 2007 a Bradford Student Khaled al-Mudallal became trapped in Palestine. The union ran a campaign to support Khaled[11] and to aid his return. It was supported by UCU, the Lectures Union and the NUS the National Students' Union. He was elected the Honorary Vice President[12] of the LSE Students' Union and released on 4 December[13]

Blood Donation — UBU has supported the right for gay men to give blood with its LGBT society campaigning throughout the year of 2006 and 2007 to lift the ban.[14] The union supported the society[15] in encouraging people who can to give blood and to call for the ban to be lifted in favour of a ban on promiscuity and people who partake in unsafe sex giving blood.

Fair Trade — UBU coordinates the Bradford University Fair Trade Status,[16] in 2006 the Union gained Fair Trade status for the University and continues to campaign on this issue.


UBU holds several large-scale events for the student body, such as Freshers Week and the end of term Party on the Amp. There has been a shift from focusing on night club events to supporting student-led events. The student run groups on campus hold over 600 events during the academic year both on campus and locally in Bradford.


Historically, UBU ran the shops and bars on campus. A joint board was set up during the 2010 refurbishment of Student Central that brought the bars and shops under the University of Bradford commercial services and the union to focus on student engagement.

The majority of campus bars do still remain in the Student Central building. One of these is run as a non-alcoholic milkshake bar. Another campus bar is in the Theatre in the Mill, which reopened in 2008 after a long redevelopment.

The bars have been through many changes of name; one was originally the Junior Common Room.


Broadcast area Internet
First air date 1 October 1980
Format Pop, Indie and Rock
Affiliations Student Radio Association
Owner University of Bradford Union

RamAir is a radio station run by Students Union at the University of Bradford, England.[17] It broadcasts locally on 1350AM and also online through its web site. The name comes from the old students union logo of a Ram.


It was founded in 1980[18] and operates from two studios in the university's student union building. The station is run entirely by student volunteers, who as well as presenting shows also handle the technical aspects. Up until the mid-1990s, RamAir broadcast to students via a series of induction loops ran throughout the student halls, however this never proved reliable. In conjunction with SBN, RamAir had an LPAM (Low Power AM) Radica transmitter, affectionately known as "Doris", installed in the car park of the former Shearbridge Halls, which broadcast on 1350AM at a max power of 1 watt.


Most shows are presented in the evening or at weekends, when students are free, so during the daytime when there are no presenters on-air music is played from a computer. Previously the station syndicated the Student Broadcast Network (SBN) when no shows were being broadcast - this was changed in 2004 when SBN went bust.

A former flagship show was 'Wednesday Night Sessions' which broadcast local music and acoustic sessions by local Bradford bands. It now has a range of shows covering many music genres and features. Another popular show 'The Alternator' ran between November 2003 and June 2004. It regularly featured an eclectic mix of music from the past and present, book readings from new and classic authors and comedy segments which were peculiar to the tastes of the show's hosts. The Alternator was hosted by Bradford University pharmacy students Dave Berry, Andrew 'Sham' Stone and also Tom Butler who did not attend the university.

RamAir annually broadcasts the 'Questions to Candidates' (Hustings) for the student union elections of sabbatical officers and NUS conference delegates. It also has a big presence at many union events such as freshers' week, the May carnival and the end of year event.

Out of university term time the station broadcasts non stop music, also used to fill in other free air time from the station's computer playout system - a bank of computers running software written by one of the station's engineers.

News is played hourly via the IRN news service, as well as the in-house "RamAir News" broadcast at 2-hourly intervals during weekdays.


It was the first student radio station to broadcast legally on FM via a Restricted Service Licence.[19][20]

As of September 2007, it was the first student radio station to be specifically made available through the respective Wii and PlayStation 3 browsers.[21]

When analogue cable television was commonplace, the station was broadcast on 98FM across the region to listeners with a cable feed (No subscription required). RamAir occasionally broadcasts across the city of Bradford on an FM RSL (Restricted Service Licence), usually on 102FM from a transmitter located on top of the university's JB Priestley library. The station often hires out its FM broadcast kit to other student stations for their own RSLs.

On 26 April 2006, Phill Jupitus broadcast his BBC 6 Music breakfast show from the station, and interviewed Billy Bragg who had played a concert at the university the previous evening.[22]

As of 26 May 2008, RamAir has released a charity single for download, entitled 'Scream Out!'. Half of the proceeds will go to the running of the station and the other half will go to the RNID's 'Don't Lose the Music' campaign. The single was recorded in the studios in early May 2008, by 6 Bradford University students.[23]

At the end of March 2009 RamAir broadcast their own take on Big Brother: a radio reality show called The Lockdown. Eight students from the University of Bradford were locked in the studios for 48 hours while a temporary studio controlled what they and listeners heard.[24]

As part of a campaign to raise £40,000 for new studio equipment for the move into the refurbished "Student Central" building, the comedian Russell Howard performed for staff, students and the public during August 2010 with ticket sale money going to the RamAid appeal.[25] This was repeated in December 2011 with Russell Kane headlining.[26]

In 2011 RamAir had its first Student Radio Award winner. Ian Thursfield won Newcomer Of The Year at the awards ceremony, held at the IndigO2.

The Bradford Student[edit]

The Bradford Student is the latest incarnation of the student newspaper at Bradford. The autonomous paper was originally called Javelin. As Javelin the newspaper sometimes trod a radical line that included reprinting a controversial poem that had landed Gay News in trouble through a court case finding it blasphemous. The array of journalists included students of Peace Studies and Civil Engineering who decided that there should not be a single editor but rather The Javelin Cooperative. Seen as a thorn in the side of the students' union, at that time headed by John Rimmer, the paper was by then little read. Seen as wasteful and irrelevant, its sharp end was blunted. As part of the relaunch, it changed its name in the early 1980s to Shep. By the 1990s the paper had become a magazine and then later changed its name to Scrapie, a reference to the ram's head on the Union logo. The name was again changed in a dramatic and still controversial "de-ramming" of the Union in 2004 which saw the Union logo change to four 'dots' and the ram's head removed from official publications. The Ram remains in the name of the student radio station Ramair and also in many of the sports teams which still use the traditional Ram's head logo.

In 2007 the periodical was brought wholly into the Union; having previously had an independent editorial team, and printed as a newspaper again for the first time in 20 years. Until 2013 the paper was jointly edited by the sabbatical team, staff members and students - it now has an independent editorial team and stance once again with it being moved back to a magazine-like format.

Bradford Student Cinema[edit]

Bradford Student Cinema is a film society operating as part of the University of Bradford Union, the University of Bradford's Students' Union. It is one of three media groups at the union - the others being the radio station 'Ramair' and 'The Bradford Student' newspaper (Formally Kinetic) - which are governed differently to other "clubs and societies" due to having historically been more of an output channel for the union. In many respects they are run as a normal society with membership, however as they provide a service accessible to all students and staff (not just the society's members).

Bradford Student Cinema's 35 mm projector


Bradford Student Cinema (BSC) traces its heritage back to early days of the university. Formerly the Film Society, BSC originally screened 16 mm film from lecture theatres on N floor of the Richmond Building (Refurbished in 2000 removing the projection boxes in favour of additional seating). It removed to the University's Great Hall, where it gained a portable 35 mm projection system allowing it to show a full range of films available to commercial cinemas. At the time, the BSC operated on what was believed to be the largest student cinema screen in the country.[27]

Reel tower in the projection box

Hardware in the Great Hall[edit]

The 9 metre wide solid steel-framed screen, complete with motorised adjustable masking flies down from the roof onto the stage and fills the proscenium arch of the Great Hall, making good use of the curtains to give a traditional cinema feel to the venue, in an auditorium designed as a multipurpose staged hall with good acoustics. As the projection box is situated three floors up from ground level, the projector has a steep rake, and the screen is angled back when dropped to remove any keystoning. For this reason the audience for film showings are generally only invited to sit in the balcony circle rather than the stalls, seating up to 337. In the late nineties the projector was replaced with a 1950s Westrex 2001 projector, a model still in common use around the country. In 2001 the student union funded an £8,500 upgrade of the projection facilities, and the cinema was fitted with a Dolby CP55 processor, new amps and speakers including a subwoofer to bring Dolby surround to the cinema for the first time[28] (Stereo is not commonly used in cinemas, as a central audio channel is required to centralise dialogue for any of the audience sitting off-centre). A red laser sound reader was also installed to future proof the projector for the arrival of cyan sound tracks, and improve the quality of intermediate high magenta sound tracks. The lamphouse and rectifier was also upgraded to handle 3 kW lamps. Due to the cost, new surround speakers were not fitted, and have instead been formed using older speakers placed along the rear of the balcony.

The BSC's cinema screen in the Great Hall

Modern times[edit]

In recent times BSC has run the British Federation of Film Societies Student Group Conference and various exclusive preview screenings of the latest movies in conjunction with the Daily Telegraph's Movie Mania Promotion (circa 2001).[28] Like many professional cinemas it screens adverts from Pearl & Dean. Due to a drop in student numbers and the opening of a 16-screen multiplex in the centre of Bradford, the student cinema suffered in the early 2000s. Ironically the large size of BSC was a contributing factor to its downfall - whilst smaller societies used video or DVD, BSC's screen and throw distance (27 m) meant it couldn't handle anything smaller than professional 35 mm cinema films.

Cinema-goers used to be able to buy drinks and snacks, including alcohol for cinema showings at the Biko Bar, in the Richmond building, but this was closed in 2005. The cinema's showings were in hiatus from 2005 whilst the building of the new £5.3 million atrium and front entrance designed to provide a vibrant multi-functional space and form the heart of the University (Opened in October 2006 to celebrate the university's 40th birthday) was undertaken. A return to the regular screening schedule was further delayed by a long-awaited refurbishment of the Great Hall from January 2008, which was completed in May 2008. Due to the difficulties in licensing, fitting building work around exams, graduation ceremonies and registration, BSC finally reopened in April 2009, with a full relaunch during September 2009.[29][30]

Use of the Great Hall for screenings has since all but ceased due to the move in 2010 to the new Student Central building where BSC now has its home in the 180-seat capacity Theatre, which features a higher definition projection system and digital surround audio. As a result, the 35 mm projection system and hardware currently remain unused in the Great Hall since the availability of film prints reduces and the cost of obtaining them increases. Since 2010 it operates on a regular weekly schedule throughout the academic year, screening titles only a few months after their cinematic release free of charge to staff and students.[31]

In 2002 BSC nominated Brian Blessed to receive an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Letters) from the University for his contribution to film, television and acting, which he received during the Electronic Imaging & Media Communication Department's graduation ceremony in July 2003.


  1. ^ Bradford Students Union - The Home for Bradford University Students
  2. ^ "Charity Details". Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  3. ^ 18 November
  4. ^ Ramsden, Sally (23 January 2001). "All work, not much pay". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  5. ^ "Profile University of Bradford". The Times. London. 31 May 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  6. ^ [1] A statement signed by University of Bradford Union 2008
  7. ^ [2] General meeting article in the Bradford Student
  8. ^ Union Motions calling for a free Palestine
  9. ^ Indymedia article
  10. ^ Occupation Blog
  11. ^ Updated: Israeli Court refuses to help Gazan resume studies in Britain
  12. ^ "Let Khaled Study Campaign - Home". Archived from the original on 1 December 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2007.
  13. ^ MacIntyre, Donald (4 December 2007). "Israeli prisoner release derided by Palestinians". The Independent. London. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  14. ^ [3]NUS LGBT Blood donor campaign
  15. ^ Bradford LGBT
  16. ^ Fairtrade University of Bradford
  17. ^ BBC description of Bradford University
  18. ^ Ramair celebrates 21st birthday:Press Release Bradford University
  19. ^ New on University website
  20. ^ Ex-Station manager's account
  21. ^ Radio station website
  22. ^ Radio - Pick of the day from The Guardian, Wednesday 26 April 2006, retrieved 28 May 2009
  23. ^ RamAid - Scream Out!
  24. ^ Press Releases - Media Centre - University of Bradford from University of Bradford, Thursday 26 March 2009, retrieved 8 June 2009
  25. ^ News - Bradford Telegraph & Argus from Telegraph & Argus, Tuesday 13 July 2010, retrieved 26 July 2010
  26. ^ News - Bradford Telegraph & Argus Press Releases from University of Bradford, 6 December 2011, retrieved 14 January 2012
  27. ^ Bradford Student Union
  28. ^ a b News & Views Magazine Article
  29. ^ History of the BSC
  30. ^ BSC 2009 relunch
  31. ^ Official Website

External links[edit]