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University of Bradford Union
University of Bradford Union logo
Established (1957 as a Student's Union)1966 as a University Union
Institution University of Bradford
Sabbatical Officers Mateusz Wysocki
(Academic Affairs Officer)
Aramide Daramola
(Ethics, Environment & Welfare Officer)
Kanja Sesay
(Media & Entertainments Officer)
Joshua Esin
(Student Activities Officer)
Khaled AlMudallal
(Union Secretary - Treasurer)
Ateeqa Darr
(Women's Liberation Officer)[1]
Trustees Sabbatical officers
Location The Student Centre, Richmond Road, Bradford, England BD7 1DP
Members c. 12,000
Affiliated to 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.


Union Organisation

The University of Bradford Union (UBU) is run by an executive of six full-time sabbatical officers,[2] 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 Centre on campus whilst the Communal Building is being refurbished, and is politically active (nominally to the left). The refit of the building[3] is being developed over 2009/10, with £4.5 million being granted to the Union building development by the University Council in 2008. [4]


The Role of the Union is to support and provide services for its students of the university (whether members or not) such as academic or financial advice,[5] or activities and entertainment or for their safety.[6]


Student activities

The largest student involvement in their Union comes in the forms of the sports clubs through the Athletics Association (commonly known as the AA)[7] and societies[8]. There is a variety of both. Even though the University did not till recently run any performing arts courses, there are several societies for music and theatre. The variety of sports available is largely due to the centralised funding and membership structure of the AA, which helps support smaller clubs. The current student union colours are blue and red, but many of the sports teams still use their traditional black, with red and white accents.

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[9]. 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.[10] 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. [11]

Palestine and Gaza After the Union made two demands for support of Gaza of the University[12] in 2009 over 80 students occupied the University boardroom with a number of further demands of support for Gaza.[13] they claim to have achieved some success as of the morning of 28 January 2009 [14]. In 2007 a Bradford Student Khaled al-Mudallal became trapped in Palestine. The union ran a campaign to support Khaled[15] 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[16] of the LSE Students' Union and released on the 4th December [17]

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.[18]. The union supported the society[19] 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[20], the University chancellor and Pakistani MP when he was arrested in 2007[21]. They co-organised events for the release of Imran and a demonstration was due to take place, organised by the Union on the 24th November 2007

Fair Trade UBU coordinates the Bradford University Fair Trade Status[22], 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.[23]

Entertainments and Venues


The Union at present runs one bar, 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 and directly after performances.

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 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. The Biko Bar (named after Steve Biko), which was located in the Richmond Building, permanently closed in 2005.

After the end of the 2008-2009 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. Campus coffee bar Jazzman's is stated to become a temporary bar while the works are undertaken, and club nights will be hosted at the non-campus venue Walkabout.[24] The bars and venues are planned to re-open in their new formats/locations in 2010.

The clubs were host to irregular live music and bands, and to the UK's annual music festival Infest,[25] which was started in early 1998 by three students and the union Entertainments Manager. These hosted events will resume once works are finished.


Frequency 1350 kHz (Bradford, West Yorkshire) area = Local (AM)
First air date 1st October 1980
Format Pop, Indie and Rock
Owner University of Bradford Union

RamAir is a radio station run by Students Union at the University of Bradford, England.[26] It broadcasts locally on 1350AM and also online through its web site. The name comes from the old students union log 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[27] 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. [28] 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 laundrette.


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.[29][30]

As of September 2007, it was the first student radio station to be specifically made available through the respective Wii and PlayStation 3 browsers.[31]

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 April 26, 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.[32]

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.[33]

In July 2008 RamAir submitted awards applications to the Student Radio Association and also set in motion a review of RamAir strategy with the aim to make the station one of the key providers of live music in the local area.

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.[34]


Ramair alumni who went on to better things include:

  • Lucio Buffone – The Pulse, Galaxy FM, Kerrang, Capital Radio
  • Jon Crew – Head of Engineering at Galaxy 102
  • Paul Drogan – Commercial Production at Key 103
  • Martin Roberts, on Homes Under The Hammer (ITV, 1982–1985)
  • Matt Side [Cain] – Breakfast Show on The Pulse
  • Coriander White – Local radio traffic and travel + BBC2 announcer

The Bradford Student

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. The paper is now jointly edited by the sabbatical team, staff members and students.

Bradford Student Cinema

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. The Great Hall is still used today, on what is believed to be the largest student cinema screen in the country.[35].

Reel tower in the projection box


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 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 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

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 cinema trailers and 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 has suffered in the last four years. Ironically the size of the BSC has been part of its downfall - whilst smaller societies use video or DVD, the BSC's screen and throw distance (27 m) means it cannot handle anything smaller than professional 35 mm cinema films. The union has since stepped in and the BSC now shows a reduced number of showing throughout the academic year free of charge to staff and students.

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.

Cinema-goers used to be able to buy drinks and snacks, including alcohol for cinema showings as the Biko Bar, in the Richmond building, but this was closed in 2005. The cinema's showings have been in hiatus since 2005 due to 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). A return to regular screening has been delayed by a long-awaited refurbishment of the Great Hall from January 2008, which is was completed in May 2008. Due to the difficulties in licencing, fitting building work around exams, graduation ceremonies and registration, the BSC finally reopened in April 2009, with a full relaunch during September 2009.[37][37]


  1. ^ Bradford Students Union - The Home for Bradford University Students
  2. ^ 18 November
  3. ^ UBU - Communal Building refit
  4. ^ The Bradford Student, Issues 2 October 2007
  5. ^ All work, not much pay | Higher (old) |
  6. ^ Profile: University of Bradford |Good University Guide - Times Online
  7. ^ Athletics Association
  8. ^ societies
  9. ^ Push - the ruthlessly independent university guide - University of Bradford
  10. ^ [1] A statement signed by University of Bradford Union 2008
  11. ^ [2] General meeting article in the Bradford Student
  12. ^ Union Motions calling for a free Palestine
  13. ^ Indymedia article
  14. ^ Occupation Blog
  15. ^ Updated: Israeli Court refuses to help Gazan resume studies in Britain
  16. ^ Let Khaled Study Campaign - Home
  17. ^ Israeli prisoner release derided by Palestinians - Middle East, World -
  18. ^ NUS LGBT Blood donor campaign
  19. ^ Bradford LGBT
  20. ^ Imran Khan - great news!
  21. ^ Khan protest at Pakistan mission
  22. ^ Fairtrade University of Bradford
  23. ^ BBC - Bradford and West Yorkshire - News - Bradford students campaign against lap dancing club
  24. ^ "Welcome Warm-Up Party - Bradford Students Union". 2002-03-07. Retrieved 2009-08-28.  
  25. ^ BBC report on Infest 2007
  26. ^ BBC description of Bradford University
  27. ^ Ramair celebrates 21st birthday:Press Release Bradford University
  28. ^ / portfolio
  29. ^ New on University website
  30. ^ Ex-Station manager's account
  31. ^ Radio station website
  32. ^ Radio - Pick of the day from The Guardian, Wednesday 26 April 2006, retrieved 28 May 2009
  33. ^ RamAid - Scream Out!
  34. ^ Press Releases - Media Centre - University of Bradford from University of Bradford, Thursday 26 March 2009, retrieved 08 June 2009
  35. ^ Bradford Student Union
  36. ^ a b News & Views Magazine Article
  37. ^ a b History of the BSC

External links


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