University of Bradford Union

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University of Bradford Union
Bradford Student Union Logo.png
Location Student Central, University of Bradford, Richmond Road, Bradford, England BD7 1DP
Established 1957 (as a Student's Union)
1966 (as a University Union)
Sabbatical officers Aleem Bashir
(Academic Affairs Officer)
Subira Ismail
(Community and Welfare Officer)
Shazmin Akhtar
(Women's and Campaigns Officer)
Aphrodita Darmadi
(Activities Officer)
Siji Akinlusi
(Sports Officer)
Hamza Butt
(Union Affairs Officer)[1]
Trustees Full time sabbatical officers, external trustees, student trustees and CEO
Members c. 12,000
Affiliations National Union of Students, British Universities and Colleges Sport, National Postgraduate Committee

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 and the end of the academic season, and up to six part-time executive officers elected at the start of the academic season. 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 executive is monitored by a council of up to 40 elected students who meet around 6 times each academic year: 10 of these places are filled through open places in a cross campus ballot, the others are made up of Course Representatives, Athletics, Societies and other bodies representatives in the Union such as Forums (statutory meetings of union members).

The Union is located in the Student central on campus and is politically active.


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]

The largest student engagement with UBU Union comes in the form of the four areas with devolved power; Societies Federation, Athletic Union, Media Areas and Academic Affairs/Student Representatives. Even though the University did not till recently run any performing arts courses, there are several societies for music and theatre. There also many course societies such as the optometry society BOOSA, international societies and faith groups. The current student union colours are red and black, and many of the sports teams use the traditional black, with red and white accents for playing kit.

The Student Union also has RamAir, one of the UK's longest running student radio stations, broadcasting on 1350AM and online, a student newspaper called The Bradford Student and a film society/cinema showing professional 35mm cinema prints known as the Bradford Student Cinema.


UBU claims to be a very political union.[6] It runs campaigns on varying issues.

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.[7] 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.[8]

Palestine and Gaza - After the Union made two demands for support of Gaza of the University[9] in 2009 over 80 students occupied the University boardroom with a number of further demands of support for Gaza.[10] they claim to have achieved some success as of the morning of 28 January 2009.[11] In 2007 a Bradford Student Khaled al-Mudallal became trapped in Palestine. The union ran a campaign to support Khaled[12] 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[13] of the LSE Students' Union and released on 4 December[14]

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.[15] The union supported the society[16] 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.

Imran Khan - The union took a stance with the Bradford University in supporting Imran Khan,[17] the University chancellor and Pakistani MP when he was arrested in 2007.[18] They co-organised events for the release of Imran and a demonstration was due to take place, organised by the Union on 24 November 2007

Fair Trade - UBU coordinates the Bradford University Fair Trade Status,[19] in 2006 the Union gained Fair Trade status for the University and continues to campaign on this issue.

Lap Dancing club - In 2002 the union campaigned against the opening of a lap dancing club near to the university.[20]


UBU holds several large scale events for the student body, from the Freshers Week, Halloween and Christmas nights to the end of term Party on the Amp. There has been a shift from focusing on night club events to supporting student led events, mostly by societies, sport clubs and media areas. The University of Bradford run the bars and shops on both campuses, and work jointly with UBU for events, sports funding and other areas with combined interest. The main bars are held in the Student Central building and are called The Amp Bar, The Central Bar, The Sports Bar and Escape. The second is in the University Theatre (Theatre in the Mill), which reopened in 2008 after a long redevelopment - it is a bottle only bar which is only in service before, during the interval of, and directly after performances. With a recent re-brand of the campus bars the traditional FND which was formerly held every Friday has been renamed to Little Big Fridays.

A proposed non alcoholic bar is due to open in September 2016 providing a larger range of drinks available to students. This will be the only on campus milkshake bar and will be at the heart of the bars.

History of The University Bars

The main bar was called the Courtyard, and was open every day of the week. Formerly known as JBs and The Mainline, it had a Sunday night quiz (now held in The Sports Bar) and also hosted the 'Junior Common Room', although this term was not widely used in recent years. The other three main bars were all club venues; Colours and The Basement (the two larger venues), and Escape (the smallest), were open most nights for a variety of music. All three club venues combined to form the Friday Night Disco (FND) which was renamed Flirt! in 2007 to come inline with the NUSSL Branding but reverted to Friday Night Disco (FND) in 2009 The Biko Bar (named after Steve Biko), which was located in the Richmond Building, permanently closed in 2005, before the name was adopted as the name of the boardroom in the temporary Student Centre building and then the name of a room in Student Central

After the end of the 08/09 academic year, the Courtyard, Escape, Colours and the Basement were all shut down, allowing renovation of the Communal Building area they resided in to get underway. Club nights were hosted at the non-campus venue Walkabout[21] until the parent company went into administration in October 2009. The night was then held at CoCo Crystal next door until the end of that academic year. The campus bars and venues then re-opened in September 2010[citation needed]

The clubs were host to irregular live music and bands, and to the UK's annual music festival Infest,[22] which was started in early 1998 by three students and the union Entertainments Manager. Infest returned in 2010 when the building re-opened.


Broadcast area Local (AM)
Frequency 1350 kHz (Bradford, West Yorkshire)
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.[23] It broadcasts locally on 1350AM and also online through its web site. The name comes from the old students union logo of a Ram's head. It is one of three media groups at the union (the others being the film society "Bradford Student Cinema" and the student newspaper "The Bradford Student" (formally Kinetic, Scrapie and Javelin)) who, historically are not considered part of the "sports clubs" or the "clubs and societies". 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 societies members), they are treated differently and come under the jurisdiction of the Media and Entertainments Officer.


It was founded in 1980[24] 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.

A RamAir show "The Buzz" was syndicated on the Student broadcast network from 1998 to 1999.[25] RamAir is also available via the Internet on an .mp3 stream, allowing students to listen to the station through the university Internet service, as well as in places in the union building such as the union shop and the whole of floor 01 of the building.

In April 2012 RamAir will host the annual UK Student Radio Conference[26]


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.[27][28]

As of September 2007, it was the first student radio station to be specifically made available through the respective Wii and PlayStation 3 browsers.[29]

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.[30]

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.[31]

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.[32]

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.[33] This was repeated in December 2011 with Russell Kane headlining.[34]

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]

The 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) - who historically are not considered part of the "sports clubs" or the "clubs and societies". 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 societies members), they are treated differently and come under the jurisdiction of the Media & Communications Officer.

Bradford Student Cinema's 35 mm projector


The Bradford Student Cinema (BSC) is one of the oldest societies within the student union and can trace it heritage back to early days of the university. Formerly the Film Society, the 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 later moved into 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.[35]

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 a £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[36] (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 the 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).[36] 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 the BSC was a contributing factor to its downfall - whilst smaller societies used video or DVD, the 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, the BSC finally reopened in April 2009, with a full relaunch during September 2009.[37][38]

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 the 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.[39]

In 2002 the 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. ^ Push - the ruthlessly independent university guide - University of Bradford
  7. ^ [1] A statement signed by University of Bradford Union 2008
  8. ^ [2] General meeting article in the Bradford Student
  9. ^ Union Motions calling for a free Palestine
  10. ^ Indymedia article
  11. ^ Occupation Blog
  12. ^ Updated: Israeli Court refuses to help Gazan resume studies in Britain
  13. ^ Let Khaled Study Campaign - Home
  14. ^ MacIntyre, Donald (4 December 2007). "Israeli prisoner release derided by Palestinians". The Independent. London. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  15. ^ NUS LGBT Blood donor campaign
  16. ^ Bradford LGBT
  17. ^ Imran Khan - great news!
  18. ^ Khan protest at Pakistan mission
  19. ^ Fairtrade University of Bradford
  20. ^ "Students campaign against lap dancing club". 4 October 2002. Archived from the original on 2002-10-25. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  21. ^ "Welcome Warm-Up Party - Bradford Students Union". 2002-03-07. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  22. ^ BBC report on Infest 2007
  23. ^ BBC description of Bradford University
  24. ^ Ramair celebrates 21st birthday:Press Release Bradford University
  25. ^ / portfolio
  26. ^ The Student Radio Association - News from Student Radio Association, 12 December 2011, retrieved 14 January 2011
  27. ^ New on University website
  28. ^ Ex-Station manager's account
  29. ^ Radio station website
  30. ^ Radio - Pick of the day from The Guardian, Wednesday 26 April 2006, retrieved 28 May 2009
  31. ^ RamAid - Scream Out!
  32. ^ Press Releases - Media Centre - University of Bradford from University of Bradford, Thursday 26 March 2009, retrieved 8 June 2009
  33. ^ News - Bradford Telegraph & Argus from Telegraph & Argus, Tuesday 13 July 2010, retrieved 26 July 2010
  34. ^ News - Bradford Telegraph & Argus Press Releases from University of Bradford, 6 December 2011, retrieved 14 January 2012
  35. ^ Bradford Student Union
  36. ^ a b News & Views Magazine Article
  37. ^ History of the BSC
  38. ^ BSC 2009 relunch
  39. ^ Official Website

External links[edit]