SJ: Get a meningitis jab.
Cuth’s first Summer Ball will be on 5th June at Hardwick Hall. I’m aiming to seat at least 700 people for dinner, and really want to guarantee tickets for finalists, assign some tickets to postgrads and allow people to bring guests from outside Cuth’s if possible.
The Feast will be on 17th February and after a bit of a fight with college, we’ve managed to get them to let us have a marquee so that we can seat more people for dinner. Social comm are just in the process of finalising the ents.
Refreshers happened at the end of the first week of term. We had an acoustic night, silent disco, pub quiz and a Newcastle night, all of which were well attended. Thanks to Harry and Social Comm for all their help, as well as Joe and the bar staff.
Boring charity things
They’re boring things but they’re necessary. I’m in the process of making us more watertight, making sure we have the necessary policies in place. I also submitted last year’s annual return to the charities commission and am currently finding a way to update our Memorandum of Agreement with the University as it was signed by JCR President 2011. The trustees continue to be extremely helpful and are currently looking to appoint a new trustee to the board. If you are interested in becoming a student trustee, please let me know.
I continue to represent Cuth’s views at PresComm. PresComm are currently working on a number of issues, presently the Maiden Castle development and surrounding issues, accommodation fees and the status of the JCRs (e.g. we are a charity, many others are not but want to change that to give students a louder voice). One of the committees I sit on is the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Operations Group who are working hard to address issues around the University. I am working to get Active Bystander training organised for all bar staff in college bars in relation to this.
I’m bugging college to change the system for getting the key to the music room and trying to get them to install a card swipe access thing instead. As well as this, the bar will now be open in the daytime as a social space or a place for non-silent studying with your mates, enjoy!
Since I have returned to Durham I’ve written the first two newsletters of term and started to sort out the music room booking system in conjunction with Megan. A similar booking system to the conference room may be introduced soon but I’d love feedback on that so get in touch. Over the holidays I have been formatting a fair amount of minutes from previous years committee meetings so that they’re ready to put on cuths.com in one sitting. I also spent a lot of time attempting to get a new stash supplier, which has broken down and will not be available this term. Phoenix Print will still be used in Epiphany but they are on their last chance and I will still explore other clothing supply options in the meantime.
I’ve also tried to get more involved in what the committees do rather than simply taking minutes. As such, I am running the Retro Stash sale for Outreach Committee on Wednesday 1st of February 1pm-5pm in Brooks Bar (don’t miss it!) as well as having helped out with Refreshers week with social comm, particularly on the silent disco night, and booked a photographer for the Feast, Sofia Hurst.
I have continued maintaining the accounts, and have now fully transitioned to using a cloud based software package to keep track of payments. I have also compiled the 2016 accounts for presentation today, and am in the process of gathering the documents for our annual audit.
Over the start of the term I have been considering several changes to the budget and how the finances operate, which will are all in motions today.
Finally, I looked into the idea of the JCR buying a house with our reserves and renting it to first years as an alternative to living in. While it was a financially sound idea, the trustees and I believe we should not proceed with it for several reasons. Firstly, it would not be an efficient way of using our funds to further our charitable aims if we were to spend such a large sum on something that only benefits a few people. Also, there are a number of legal issues involved with tenancy agreements and health and safety, which combined with the maintenance requirements would be very time consuming, and would end up diverting the president’s attention away from places where it would be more useful. Finally, as a new charity, it’s possible that we would have difficulty obtaining a suitable mortgage.
Over the coming term I intend to investigate options for investment of some our reserves in a way that generates more income.
Over the holidays and first two weeks of this term I have been philosophically considering what it truly means to be a chair.
The international committee is increasing its activity this term; we’ve organized a calendar of events for this term, including Chinese New Year, an international pub quiz, and more. Additionally, I have continued to work on restructuring the international committee.
Male Welfare Officer
It’s been a relatively quiet start to the term, but I’ve still had quite a bit to do. Welfare drop in sessions are running as normal but from now on Mondays will be in the House 8 Exec Office and Fridays will be at Parson’s Field. If you’ve any questions about them please feel free to email me. We’ve also started organising SHAGWeek which is very exciting.
Feeding back from an SU wide welfare level, there’s a couple of campaigns that they are running too, so we’ll probably get involved with those. In addition, I’ve been asked to clarify that the SU has no input whatsoever on the “Don’t drink and drown” campaign the police are doing. We’ve agreed that it’s insensitive and have told the police that we disapprove of it strongly.
Female Welfare Officer
So far I have been continuing my drop in hours and meeting for coffee with any Cuth’s people who have asked. We have organised a meeting to get going with SHAGweek and are hoping to get involved with femsoc this year and SWDa which is very exciting. We are yet to hear what the SU welfare campaign will be this term but are hoping to run it within Cuth’s too. Due to issues with myself being busy when pregnancy tests are requested I have contacted Megan and Tom who are happy to have some ready in Parsons or Bailey in case anyone needs one urgently. I have been looking to find a Cuth’s SWDa rep and have been working hard with WEDcom members on the sexual violence subcommittee to see what we can do within the university to help survivors and make Durham as safe as possible. I am also awaiting training in order to be able to give Cuth’s Bar-Staff active bystander training (Joe Brinn has already agreed to let me do so). As soon as I am trained we can offer this training to the bar staff!
Student Union Rep
So far this term I’ve already organised officers from the SU to come in to college, as a drop in service, so anyone with any questions or queries about the SU had a chance to speak to someone face to face! We handed out lots of freebies, had a great turn out, and was great to see freshers getting so engaged. I’ve been promoting this ‘Give It A Go’ campaign this week encouraging freshers to get involved with SU ran sports and societies, and it’s been great to have so much interest from Cuthspeople in university wide events. This term I’m looking forward to attending SU meetings, and sharing more that goes on within the meetings via social media, and helping with the upcoming SU elections.
Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas break and is ready for the new term! Over the past week, we’ve reorganised a few of the shelves so they make more sense. Sections which have been moved to a new location are Physics, Business Studies, Archaeology, Philosophy, and Earth Sciences. If you’re lost, there is an updated map opposite the librarian’s desk, or just ask the librarian on duty to help. This term we’ll also be finding a better home for fiction books and DVDs, and tidying up the reading room. I’ll be doing a book order in a couple of weeks, so send in any requests via cuths.com by 10th February.
Social Comm started off this term with the organisation of Refreshers Week, and people seemed to enjoy all of the events that were put on over that weekend. The rest of the term has been dedicated to the Feast, which is getting organised at the moment and will be the biggest one ever put on thanks to the addition of a heated marquee in the garden and hopefully everyone will have a great night. Preparations have also already begun for our first ever Summer Ball! More info on which will be released after the Feast. Unfortunately the Super Bowl won’t be happening in Cuth’s this year, but we’ll be ending the term with a bang with a great Paddy’s Day celebration!
Did not send report.
Sports and Socs Chair
I have been setting up the reporters position properly. York varsity is coming up for college sport but Team Durham have given me very little info, I believe it will be held on the 26th feb. I am having issues with the naked calendar, and will soon run a survey to see if anybody will still buy one.
Did not send report.
GARDENING SOCIETY MOTION
Proposed by: Jordan Thomas
Seconded by: MacKenzie Wade, PJ Cameron, Timothy May, Phoebe Archbell, Kiera White, Paulina Walko, Alys Winstanley, Cheryl Choi, Natasha Kozlowski, Billy Hepworth, Connor Haynes, Brendan Challenger-Mills, Keziah Baskerville-Muscutt, Megan Croll.
This JCR notes:
- The lack of a society within St Cuthbert’s Society based around gardening.
- The positive impact of engaging with horticulture on mental health (Clatworthy et al., 2016).
This JCR believes:
- The students of St Cuthbert’s Society would benefit from such a society that enables them to engage with nature and grow fresh food.
- A garden such as is proposed will be a positive addition to the Wendy House Garden.
- The effort put into developing a plan for the garden so far has meant that the purpose and aims of the society are clear, and there is a long-term plan for up-keeping the plot.
This JCR resolves:
- To approve the creation of Cuth’s Gardening Society.
- To temporarily appoint Jordan Thomas as Cuth’s Gardening Society President until someone can be elected in a general meeting of the society.
(See .pdf also supplied online)
JT: We’re hoping to make an ornamental peshma garden to enhance health and grow some food. We’ve got some good support, 18 people agreed to participate if it is passed.
FM: How often do you plan on meeting?
JT: Meeting weekly or bi-weekly. Obviously in winter we won’t meet as much. Depends on how productive it is.
JB: Where are you having it?
JT: Near Wendy House, it’s south facing and away from anything else. Hopefully will complement wendy house area.
Alice: Who will eat it?
JT: Could go to kitchen eventually?
PJC: Yes, mainly herbs to begin with.
DR: Would you be able to grow any ingredients for CRACAS and do you want to do our garden at home?
JT: Come to the first meeting.
Motion passed on general aye.
Gardening Society Budget Motion
Garden Society Society Budget summary:
|20 x subs||£20 (£1 each)||£40 (£2 each)|
|Running costs for year||£70||£70|
|Net for Year||£0||£0|
(See word document online for full original budget application)
JC: Changed budget from £1 to £2, nothing else that different.
JT: We’re happy with the subs change.
Budget passed on general aye.
Financial Year Motion
This JCR Notes that
- Currently the JCR budgeting year roughly aligns with the academic year but is not specifically defined
- That the JCR financial year matches calendar years (1st Jan- 31st December)
- That the budget meeting is in early June
- The treasurer presents annual accounts to the JCR in the first meeting of epiphany term
This JCR believes that
- That the budgeting year should be precisely defined
- That the financial year should match the budgeting year
- That the annual accounts should be presented to the JCR at the end of a budgeting year
- That a longer handover for treasurers would be beneficial
This JCR Repeals
- Point III of the Finance Order
- Point I of the Terms of Office Order
- Point 2 of the Method I election criteria
This JCR Orders
- Point III of the finance Order:
- At the end of the financial year, the Treasurer shall draw up the J.C.R.’s accounts, these shall be presented to the J.C.R. at the first General Meeting of Michaelmas Term as a financial motion for approval, once passed the accounts shall be submitted to Society Council.
- Point I of the Terms of Office Order:
- The terms of office for Officers shall be as follows:
- The President of the Society whose term of office shall be from 30th June until 31st July of the following year.
- During the month of July there will be a handover period where detailed knowledge required for the position will be passed on to their successor.
- The Treasurer whose term of office shall be from 30th June until 31st July of the following year.
- .During the month of July, the outgoing treasurer must remain in Durham until the annual accounts are ready for their audit.
- All other Officers elected via Election Method (i) shall assume office on 1st
- All Officers elected via Election Method (ii) and (iii), shall assume office at the close of business of the Meeting at which they were elected and shall hold office until the close of business of the Meeting at which their successor is to be elected.
- All non-sabbatical Officers shall remain in office until their term of office expires, they tender their resignation, or are removed from office by the passing of a Vote of No Confidence.
- Point 2 of the Method I election criteria:
- Winning the election would not result in you holding two Method I positions, or a Method I and a Method II position at the same time, apart from during the month of July, when it is permitted to hold any Method I or Method II position at the same time as the position of treasurer
This JCR Resolves
- To set both the budgeting year and the financial year to be 1st July – 30th June.
This JCR Mandates
- The outgoing JCR treasurer to prepare the accounts for the annual audit during July at the end of their term.
- The President of the Society to contact the charities commission regarding the change of financial year.
Proposer: James Cochran
Seconder: Megan Croll
(See appendix for this motion “S&S Motion” supplied as a .pdf online)
JC: 2 years which account for our budgeting, we’re proposing to formalise the end of budget year as end of june to make the two budgets align. Also make sure that 2 incumbent treasurers exist
FM: What happens if a treasurer gets to the end of the year and can’t be bothered.
JC: Could happen, would be a standard leave
JP: Do we spend much in summer?
JC: Not that much.
JF: If you’re mandating the new officer to stay through july, would college give them a place to stay?
JC: Will ask college.
JB: Can we make it june?
JC: Would make Cuth’s day straddle the two budgets and make things awkward.
Motion passed on general aye.
Sports and Socs Subsidy Motion
This JCR Notes that
- That our current policy for sports and societies is that half the cost should be self-funded and the JCR will pay the other half
- That this results in some clubs having very expensive subs, such as competitive rowing at £65, which can deter people from participating
This JCR believes that
- That all sports and societies should be affordable to everyone
- That the more expensive sports and societies should be more heavily subsidised
This JCR Resolves to
- To update point 10 of the budgeting priorities list as follows:
- Up to the first £40 of per capita expenditure for a sport or society, the JCR will pay half and half will come from self-income. For any further expenditure, the JCR will pay three quarters, and one quarter will come from self-income
- To update the expected cost of point 12 of the budgeting priorities list to £22,000
- To update point 9 of the budgeting priorities list as follows:
- Levies will be set at £51.50/year for 2016-17, plus inflation for later years, rounded to the nearest £0.50 – expected income £69,267.50
Proposer: James Cochran
Seconder: Megan Croll
(See .pdf supplied online)
JC: We’re proposing to up to the first £40 per person we match it 50/50, after that we match ¾. Increase in levies by £1.50. Makes sports and socs more accessible.
FM: How much extra would it cost a year.
JC: Would cost us £2000 a year. I can find that in the budget without subtracting other things. I don’t want to spend reserves on things that aren’t
ALJ: Is this a rule or a guideline?
JC: No this will be what FiComm work on.
Motion passes on a general aye.
2016 Accounts Motion (attached as .pdf)
JC: It is in the standing orders that we have to get the accounts approved yearly so…?
FM: Delay until next meeting so that we can look at it in detail.
Amendment to delay the vote passed on a general aye.
Amended motion passed on a general aye.
Summer Ball Motion
This JCR Notes that
- That social comm are planning a Summer Ball this year
- That this year the Cuth’s day subsidy increased from £7,000 to £13,000
This JCR believes that
- The Summer Ball should be subsidised
This JCR Resolves to
- To reduce the Cuth’s day budget for this year by £3,000 (to £10,000)
- To subsidise the Summer Ball by £7,000 this year as it is the first year
- To update point 40 of the budgeting priorities list so that the Cuth’s day subsidy is £9,500
- To include a new point of priority 41 in the budgeting priorities that the Summer Ball should be subsidised by £3,500
Proposer: Megan Croll
Seconder: Harry Jenkins
MC: Want to get it off the ground so want to keep the tickets down. We can have a lot in both Cuth’s Day and Summer Ball so would be great.
Adam Jarvis: How would it affect Cuth’s Day price.
MC: Cuth’s Day prices are undecided. Summer Ball will be cheaper than Michaelmas.
Beth Austin: An additional £6000 or £6000 altogether?
Motion passed on a general aye.
Candidates: Harry Jenkins, Request New Candidates
HJ: I am ill so my voice doesn’t usually sound like this. 3rd year biologist and I’m running to be VP as a live out position. I am organised and hard working. I try to do the best I can and have run the biggest social events we’ve ever had. I’ve worked with current and previous VP’s. 2 years social comm experience. Responsibilities are stash, handbook, assisting exec and . I was a marketing intern in the summer, will ask freshers and freps what they want in a handbook. New stash provider, will work with Tom to change supplier and expand to not all clothing items. I’m accustomed to being at meetings and writing minutes. Could put the minutes on the committee group after each meeting as well as putting online. I will do even more next year so please vote for me!
JE: You said that you’re running as live out, how will you make sure this won’t impact.
HJ: I feel VP is a lot about social media and I’ll be able to have regular meetings with the President who is live in.
TJ: How will you separate work and degree?
HJ: As long as I am organised and fulfil my VP responsibilities outside of my degree I feel that I can be effective.
Senior Welfare Officer
Candidates: Joshua Butterworth, Clara Senior, Request New Candidates
JB: 3rd year mathematician. Current Male Welfare officer. Want to step up. Lot of experience in the role, year as assistant and will have had one as welfare. I helped to write the regulation behind the senior welfare officer role. Feel I’ve done well so want to continue on. Passionate about men’s health issues and I’m so proud how the movember formal went. Raised quite a lot for local charities. Want to make it bigger and better. Sports teams, SCR, catering, everyone involved. Welfare is changing slighty next year. Reduce freshers week workloads and hold drop ins during freshers week. Want to make college a more welcoming and inclusive place by working with all relevant parties. Gender/sexual orientation shouldn’t stop you participating. Did Movember, worked in freshers week (which is horrifically tough), met with SU. Want to make a sex health supply order form online as well, using the work Tom did as a base.
CS: Positive impact welfare has had. There is more we can do and reach more people. I want to do another survey asking people what they want from welfare and tailor our campaigns. Want to make a self-care campaign to make people go and talk to people who can help. Help people start yoga and meditation. Make a bigger community in welfare. Make an online page where we can post oiur favourite recipes and help that way as well. I want to a body image campaign, I took part in one in 1st year and found it really beneficial, workshops will be held. Campaigns team could be part of that. Also want to ask university counsellors to recommend student support and welfare to students. Waiting list is huge and some people may not be aware that it is available. Genderless position, so should get LGBT+a to do a talk about things they find relevant.
AF: Both candidates have chosen to live out.
AJ: How would you manage living out with your roles?
CS: There has to be a good separation of who you are as a person and as a welfare officer. Everyone lives close and have
JB: Currently doing that and I don’t think it affects my role hugely. Have to spend 8 hours in college as part of the role. Doing it already.
MC: What do you think the benefits of the senior role is?
JB: There is someone to settle disputes and any issues. Someone is now in charge who can make the decision. Also think about what I mentioned about freshers week as it means that there is less work.
CS: We can be there for more people. It’s a great idea that we’re having it as a gender neutral role.
CM: Hardest thing about being a welfare officer?
CS: Time organisation.
JB: Hardest part is keeping welfare separate from personal life. Have to be careful that if a friend comes to you, you know what they’re coming to you as. Knowing where the boundaries lie.
Arnaud Plantega: Senior Welfare has the final say?
MC: Yes, the new role is senior and in charge.
DG: Is it a democratic system or?
MC: It’s like every other committee.
JE: Big part of welfare is freshers week. How will you deal with that personally and on an organisational level?
JB: It was hard work this year but I enjoyed it. 3rd person means another person to take on responsibility and workload. If at any point you’re struggling you have to say. I’ve done it.
CS: I was a frep and it was exhausting but I loved it.
Amy Kuner, Chris Hetherington, Charlie Sweeting, Request New Candidates
CH: May know me from my frep photo. 2nd year economics, on lots of sports teams, on the JRO team on many finance societies and have had lots of financial experience as charities and accounting. I love cuths, it’s the reason I’m as involved as I am now. It’s the most important role apart from president and the thing I could contribute the most to. Previous experience in similar role (charity with 25 grand turnover), I have JCR structure experience as JRO and therefore know how to make budgets and motions, I believe that I’m prepared for the workload as it is underestimated (150 grand is huge), main criticism is that finances aren’t transparent enough so would issue a termly report. Would try and fix the budget meeting.
AK: Good at talking but bad at public speaking. 2nd year mathmatician and an active member of the JCR, frapped twice. On FiComm and Treasurer for BodCon. Love Cuth’s and the people in it, so want to give something back. Honest, reliable with Cuth’s and numbers. Constantly looking to improve. I want to provide optional workshops for sports and socs treasurers. Also want to give training to FiComm members. Makes the college more well run. Will help sports and socs treasurers by meeting with them and helping with sponsorships. Making sure all payments are processed within 7 days. Must be transparent to how money is being spent. Must build fair and impartial budgets. On top of these things I am friendly and approachable. Honest, reliable and love Cuth’s and numbers.
CS: Treasurers aren’t known for public speaking. Thanks to James there isn’t much to change. There are still a few things that could happen over the next year like processing payments as efficiently as possible and maintaining transparency. Want to get stuck into the JCR in the role I’d be best suited for. Maintain the network of trust James has built.
DG: At the end of the year there is a budget meeting, how would you improve it?
CS: I personally haven’t experienced the budget meeting, so it’s important to learn when James runs it. I would like to break it down into a specific set of sections and have tolerances which you can’t go over.
AK: I would make sure that a copy of the proposed budgets is sent out in advance.
CH: We need to have a meeting with all the treasurers before the meeting starts as the current way it is done is very obscure. Transparency is key.
JC: How would you organise yourself so that you don’t miss payments.
AK: Work through them by date ordered.
CH: Work efficiently and have good time management. Make sure you pay them on time.
CS: 4 payments a week, could do that in blocks and recording them as you get them.
ALJ: Would you grow a beard or get a facial tattoo?
CH: Not capable of growing a beard so would get a tattoo on my face.
CS: If it’s required I would consider it?
AK: Anything for the cause.
FM: If you had a spare 10 grand what would you spend it on?
CS: I wouldn’t spend it on a single project so I would invest in future years. If not could subsidise a few of the more expensive events and start new projects with it.
CH: James’s idea of an investment strategy is a good idea so I would continue with that.
AK: Invest in long term projects. Make sure that college always has something to fall back on.
JE: There have been empty Ficomm positions for a while. What would you do to remedy this?
AK: One of my policies would be to make people have training. People may be more likely to volunteer if they don’t feel they have to know everything at once.
CH: Advertising needs to improve. The role is very much the order of the treasurer so you have to increase JCR transparency to get people more interested.
CS: Finance isn’t something very sexy, it’s about finding the right people within the JCR so it’s about getting the word to freshers.
Candidates: Catriona May, Tom Johnson, James Cochran, Request New Candidates
Cat May is proposed by Dan Fox
CM: Hi everyone, for those of you who don’t know, I’m Cat, and I’m sure all of you do know that I’m running to be your president for the upcoming year.
But, I think I’d like to do things a bit differently today. I’ve sat through a lot of hustsv and JCR elections and I don’t want to sit here and recite to you all my experiences and skills. I don’t see the point of talking about the 11 societies I have been involved in OR EVEN that random IT course I passed in year 7 that holds a worryingly important place on my CV. I’m kidding. I promise I have more interesting things to show, but that’s for my manifesto – so please give it a read.
What I’d like to do today is talk to you as a person. Give you all a chance to – without sounding too Camp rock – see me.
I think I’ve struggled as much as anyone else with this obsession with wanting to fit in, be liked and dare I say it be “cool”. I spend my life trying to convince people that this couldn’t matter any less and be you and if they don’t like it –what does it matter, wear green lipstick – the haters gunna hate. But it does, to me. I want to be liked as much as anyone does. I’ll bring cut up oranges to a football game when I don’t even understand the rules. I’ll sit and tell you, you look pretty when you cry (shake head in joking way muttering ‘you don’t) and I will go over and over and over in my head saying whyyy– after I made one silly comment that got the slightest hesitation of a reaction.
But the one thing that I will always pride myself on. Is that I will never, ever sacrifice my morals – to be cool.
I remember when I was a team leader during frepping (Just thought I’d slip that in there….I frepped twice by the way – don’t know if you know). It was the last night where the freps are “off duty” at midnight. So I think – right I’m gunna have casual chat just to remind everyone that you are still a frep till 12, please don’t drink excessively and basically – don’t take the piss.
So it turns out, other frep team leaders have been buying their teams drinks, doing shots with them etc.
And I remember just feeling so. Stupid. and such an idiot for caring so much about something so uncool and pointless. About knowing the line between things being important and just when to relax and have a good time. But.
Do you know what? I chatted to them in a chilled way and got my point across. And I still think I did the right thing.
And this is exactly what I think presidency is about.
I’m open-minded – I know that everything I think and feel is just my perception right now and that I could be completely wrong and I always have to be prepared to except that.
I care so much. I can’t quite articulate that enough.
I can have charm, I can have charisma, I can laugh and I can be cool and witty but at the end of the day I will always do what I think is right with only my best intentions at heart. And for the rest, I’ll always be prepared to be held accountable.
I think I have what it takes to be that interface between students and staff. I know that we all want to have a good time and let’s laugh and creep right up to that line and stick your toe right in and test the water. But when you jump over.
I know (sympathetic smile). (serious voice) I have that balance.
I wear my dinosaur slippers in the library, I carry a donkey toy round my neck sometimes and I will turn up to Bailey dinner with mermaid scales on my face. So I hope that amid my weirdness and determination to be a fool, no one. Not one person will feel embarrassed to be themselves around me.
I think a lot of things are about change. About developing, learning and sort of making sense of the next level. 18 year old me would have made the most awful president. It would have been like a hormonal self-pitying pile of insecurities and confidence in all the wrong places – like that shade of foundation –what was I thinking! We are all here because we believe in change. We believe we can learn and develop and I hope that I can help encourage people on that journey and enrich it as much as possible providing all the support before we fall and climb back up to find ourselves 3 floors higher. I want to learn from this experience just as much as I want to help everyone else do so.
Welfare has taught me so much. It’s shown me that kindest really does matter. It’s shown me the power of listening. It’s shown me how incredibly resilient and strong people can be, especially when just given that little nudge of support. It’s also shown me how our JCR, with such an incredible support system and arrangement of opportunities can really have the potential to literally – change. People’s. lives.
I think this is the bit where I convince you that I’m gunna do all these ridiculously unachievable things and make promises I can’t keep. However, I’m on track to complete everything I promised on my manifesto for welfare officer so I hope that serves as an example that I fulfil the promises I make.
Here are my 6 attainable plans for presidency: JCR committees, Welfare, Fresher’s week, JCR efficiency, Representing Cuth’s and Outreach.
- Give more recognition to work that often goes unseen e.g. SRO
- A blog where the exec can update on what they have been up to:
- Feel like they are achieving things
- President can give them credit
- Easier for interlinks within exec
- Continue holding exec accountable and being an effective line manager
- Offer active bystander training when the Inclusivity & Diversity Charter in Sports circulates
- Consent workshops: smaller, more inclusive
- Lobby college: active bystander training compulsory for bar-staff
- Improve ‘quiet nights’ e.g. swing-dancing
- Better events for international students
- Revamp JCR portrayal: real meeting (not a mock)
- Blank canvas
- Area I’d like to focus on most
- Huge potential for Cuths’ to have more charitable involvement
- Want to set up a permanent annual volunteer project in Cuth’s, run a survey at the end of this year to see what people want
- Focus on working with outreach to make the most of it’s potential
- Lost and found system
- Anonymous feedback box
- More Sanitary Bins around college
- Continue lobbying to get voices heard on accommodation fees with PresComm: collect data, write letters
- Volunteer to sit on committees important to Cuth’s (e.g. the sexual violence and misconduct operations group)
- Positions = as useful as internships
- Getting more candidates running
- Challenging idea of voting for friends (Elections ≠ popularity contests)
So those are my plans, for those of you still listening I promise I’m almost done.
Yeh of course I can do all the other important stuff and tick all the boxes of organisation skills, time management, dedication to Cuths and the classic – working as a team member (slightly sarcastically).
But I hope at least for now – you’ve seen the part of me that I hope could make for a memorable presidency.
Thank you so much for listening.
Tom Johnson is proposed by Jenny Ferris
TJ: Hi everyone! For those who don’t know me, my name is Tom Johnson and I would absolutely love to be your next JCR president.
Cuth’s has given me so much over the last few years, from incredible social events to welfare support and sporting glory. It is thanks to Cuth’s that I am standing here right now, as I almost dropped out in first year. Cuth’s brought me back, time after time. I have always been ready to help the best college become even better. My desire to give back to the college that holds such a special place in my heart has been evident throughout my time here.
I am currently your Vice-President, a position which I believe gives me unique experience in the day-to-day running of Cuth’s as my role allows me to sit on every committee from finance to outreach. I therefore have an in-depth knowledge on how these committees are run and how all the different Cuth’s events and initiatives are organised. I have also developed a close working relationship with upper college management staff from my time as Vice-President, which would allow me to hit the ground running as far as JCR/college relations go. My experience means that I won’t have to faff about for 3 months learning how to do the job of representing all of you because I know how to do it.
As your Welfare Officer last year, I showed that I was capable of running a dedicated team of people which allowed me to organise highly successful events such as SHAG week. I think the members of last year’s welfare campaigns team will also attest to the fact that I can run a damn good social as well! I honestly believe that my extensive experience in Cuth’s welfare is an important part of why I would be a good president. I was trained to understand the issues that Cuth’s students have, to deal with them effectively and to make sure that they stay dealt with. Welfare also taught me how to see things from other perspectives, led me to meet some wonderful people from the feminist and LGBTQ+ communities and most importantly taught me how to listen. That’s important because at the end of the day that’s what being a good president is all about, listening to the JCR and fighting for what you all believe in against anyone who says otherwise, be it other colleges, the University or the upper levels of Cuth’s. I will always fight for what I believe in but if my beliefs ever go against what the JCR thinks I will fight just as hard for your views as I would my own.
I am not going to stand here telling you all about the grand schemes that I have for Cuth’s, a lot of which would be impossible to deliver and would probably never be questioned. My record in this regard is untouchable. I will never promise something that I cannot deliver on. I made sexual and mental health the focus of my welfare speech, so I ran the SHAG week and It Gets Better campaigns when elected. By the end of the year I will be running the weekly events calendar that I promised at this meeting last year and the online booking system for the music room is close to completion. It will get done, because I can be trusted to get things done. I will do the same with everything I’m about to propose.
I think that a lot more could be done to make the running of the JCR more approachable to the vast majority of Cuth’s students who do not attend JCR meetings or have an interest in how Cuth’s is run. We have repeatedly tried to make meetings more engaging through offering food but I feel that bribing students with food (whilst good at getting people through the door for the meeting) is not enough to engage them. That comes from making the meetings themselves better and more fun. I remember sitting next to members of a rather large society this year as their budget was being debated. The meeting was such a confusing mess that a few members of the society had to ask me when to vote during their own motion. JCR meetings are easy to follow when you’ve gone since first year but we will never reach the attendances of other colleges JCR meetings if the meetings are so opaque that no one new knows what the hell is going on. Live-tweeting, live-streaming, or even the publication of short bullet-points of what we got done at the meeting will give people different points of access into JCR meetings. Someone may start off by reading a bullet-point summary of what got done at the meeting then maybe after reading a few of those, they start reading the live-tweets. After seeing how they work, they may watch a live-stream of the meeting, see that it’s fun, then they go to the next one. Even if this didn’t occur, each of the things I propose would be good to have. Other than minutes of the meeting written by the vice-president, there is no record of what happened in each meeting, and trust me, as someone who has both written minutes and re-formatted previous years’ minutes before uploading them to the Cuths.com website, reading back through some minutes can be a headache, especially if you are looking for a specific motion which passed 12 months ago.
I am passionate about increasing the transparency within Cuth’s. I spearheaded the drive to complete the Cuths.com website this year, which now contains the minutes of most committee and JCR meetings from the last 3 years. Every decision made by elected members of the JCR must be freely available to scrutinise and the ease of use of the website has made that possible. I have also been a consistent voice within the exec regarding the availability of Cuth’s standing orders, which currently exist somewhere deep in computers of about 3 people. I would make it my mission to upload these as soon as possible so that all JCR members can see what elected positions are mandated to do in their roles. I have been frustrated in my time in the exec by the sheer lack of information about what people do. It seems to me that the only information that comes out of the exec are (sometimes ridiculously) short summaries at the start of JCR meetings. How are members of the JCR meant to know what the president does if the exec, the people they work most closely with, don’t know either? The creation of an exec blog or even an update from one exec member in each newsletter would dramatically increase awareness of what exactly goes on in each role without creating too much work for anyone. (so we wouldn’t get as many people asking the welfare officers if they can be the sex officer! I always preferred the term “Bringer of condoms” anyway). I think it would be great to celebrate the amazing things that the exec do each year, because I have seen some absolutely brilliant stuff being done in my time, from the creation of an entirely new election system to the provision welfare-related training courses to basically anyone that will take them.
I know that this speech isn’t “sexy”. I would love to promise you all that I’ll hold Cuth’s day in Ibiza and fly you all out for free. I would love to to write a summative for everyone throughout the year to ease your workload (I don’t back myself on getting good marks for you guys though). I would love to make the Michaelmas Ball a free event for 1000 people. Sadly, these are unrealistic. What I am promising are real solutions to real problems that you have told me are problems. What I am promising is that I will be a damn good President who listens to your issues, finds the solutions and fights to make them happen.
I’m just going to finish off not with a funny anecdote or a final plea for votes, but by saying how glad I am that I’ve had the opportunity to do what I have done for Cuth’s already, for being able to represent all of you for the last three years. It’s been the best experience of my life.
Keep bleeding green.
James Cochran is proposed by Dom Robson
JC: Thank you Dom for such a good speech, I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. I’ll start by apologising for that fact that this next part will be a bit less light-hearted, because although the position of president is a fun one, there are many times when it’s very serious.
So, I’m James, I’m a fourth year physicist and as Dom said I’m in my third year on the JCR exec. During my second year, as sports and socs chair, I oversaw one of the principle ways in which people engage with the JCR. I learnt all about the issues faced when running a society, and so would be well equipped to help society execs as president. In this position I also created Team Cuth’s and Experience Cuth’s, which hopefully some of you are aware of due to their social media presence, and this decision later inspired other JCRs to follow our example and do the same.
As SU rep, I learnt a great deal about how the wider University community was structured. I gained experience in representing the views of JCR members, particularly at the SU Assembly, during which I tweeted abuse at other colleges, and I was involved with formal oppositions to the accommodation price increases.
As treasurer this year, I have gained an in depth knowledge of the running of the JCR. I have overseen the operation of the majority of our activities, and have also had to deal with the various bodies the president needs to report to, such as college council, the trustees and the charities commission. My experience here would be invaluable in ensuring we submit all our required paperwork and reports on time, which is a vital step in ensuring we can remain independent of the dreaded DSO framework.
This year I have also had to chair a committee which at one time consisted of 11 other people. This is a very useful skill to have, and our last two meetings have finished within a minute of my estimated time. As president I would be able to transfer this experience to chairing the executive committee, which is slightly larger, so as to run efficient exec meetings.
That’s a bit about my experience, now it’s time for what I’ll do if you elect me. There are several changes that I want to make to fresher’s week to reflect changing attitudes. In my first year, most people were in the bar enjoying the ents as soon as it opened, but in recent years there has been a strong trend towards people partying at home for much longer beforehand. Rather than trying to oppose this change, I will embrace it and adapt the week accordingly. I will send the freps to join freshers at home rather than trying to get them to the bar immediately, so that they can still make people feel welcome and keep them safe without being annoying. I will also move to having three big nights with expensive ents, which will be the silent disco and another night at each site. I will then reduce the cost of wristbands by cutting down on the ents on the other nights, while still decorating the bar and having a theme so that there’s a reason to come to the bar.
I also want to make some improvements to sports and societies. I will bring back Give-it-a-Go, which is an initiative that was started in 2013 and I successfully continued as sports and socs chair, which will involve me going to try a different society each week and publicising it in advance so that people can join me. This will improve participation, and there are actually people in this room who are still members of societies that they joined after giving it a go with me. It will also give me a chance to meet the execs of societies, and to chat to them about any issues they have, whilst also being a really fun way for to spend my time.
As well as that, I will improve the opportunities for college sport players to become qualified coaches. We used to offer a “JCR award” for this, but during 2015 there was only one applicant and they have not been offered since, so some changes must be needed. I will bring back a similar scheme, but change the awards so that they cover a large enough portion of a coaching course for them to be affordable to most people. After attending a coaching course, people will then be able to develop both their coaching skills and, importantly, the club they’re part of, by running training sessions.
My final point on sports and societies is that I want to take an aggressive stance towards people’s problems with Team Durham. There have been many issues this year, including the use of different pitches, and these need to be taken forward. I will seek out feedback from JCR members on what thet want changed, then actively work to bring about change through Team Durham and University committees and SU policies, as well as public statements if need be, so that we can improve college sport for everyone.
I have already mentioned a few ways that I will make things at Cuth’s more affordable, but I would like to make sure that no-one here misses out on getting involved with something for financial reasons. To help with this, I will increase the cap on the participation fund and publicise it much more widely. I will also make sure it’s included in the fresher’s handbook so that people know there is help available before they even buy their fresher’s wristband.
Over recent years, Cuth’s has gained a reputation as being “the friendly college” and this is certainly a reputation we should embrace. To this end, I want to make sure that Cuth’s is as inclusive as possible to everyone. I will include a section in the fresher’s handbook about transgender people and people of non-binary gender in sport, so that they are aware before they even arrive that all students are welcome to participate in college and university sport no matter the gender with which they identify, and are able to join clubs with no concerns. I will also consult closely with all the minority reps, including the new People of Colour rep, throughout the year to find out how we can improve on any issues which people face.
Postgrads and mature students should of course also feel welcome at Cuth’s, and a key step to this is recognising that they’re different groups of people who often want different things. I will speak directly with people from both these groups throughout the year to find out about their experiences and interests in order to guide our policy.
The last key area I want to work on is the transparency of the JCR. One way I will achieve this is by holding a weekly Q&A in the bar. I would be present at this every week, but the people with me will change, and will mainly consist of other exec members, but at times will also include other method I or method II officers. This will allow people to very easily find out about what we’ve been doing, and maybe also hurl abuse at me, whilst being able to hydrate themselves.
I also want to make a habit of publicising all decisions made by JCR officers, even those that lead to no action. A good example of this is that every year there are people asking for better laundry facilities, and a recent president conducted a thorough investigation into this, and found there was no feasible action the JCRs around the university could take, and so no change was made. In a similar situation, I will follow this up by publishing details of the review, so that JCR members know why there is no improvement being made.
As well as this, I want to find additional ways to speak to more people. To help do so, I will go to the house of a different Liver-out every fortnight, where I will cook dinner and then talk to them. By only committing to every fortnight, I will be able to find time for this, but still reach a reasonable number of people. This will give me the chance to get to know more people in Cuth’s, and for them to ask me any questions they have. As well as this, I will continue my habit of the last 4 years of spending a great deal of time in Cuth’s bar, so that people can talk to me in a relaxed social environment.
My last contribution to transparency will be to add a newsfeed style page to the website, so that people can very easily keep up to date with what’s happening. This will also help those who aren’t facebook friends with the right people to get invited to events. To match this page, I will make better use of the noticeboards in the JCR and change them regularly to reflect current goings on.
Finally, I want to continue to improve our relations with college, as they will always have control over a number of things. I want to try to work with them to create a co-ordinated room booking system that JCR members can also use, to avoid recent problems people have had with room bookings being cancelled.
I will also work to try to allow an elected JCR member to represent people’s views on catering. Many people dislike using the comment book as the staff can see you writing, but a representative could report anonymous feedback and discuss with the staff how to overcome problems.
Thank you all for listening, and I apologise for not playing my usual consumption game today. I will finish by saying that you should vote for me for a more affordable, inclusive and transparent JCR.