2018-11-04 SU Comm
Present: Sarah McAllister (Communications Officer), Elena Martin (Vice President), Euan Martin (SWD rep), Kiera White (LGBTQ rep)
Apologies: Dan Vogel, Amy Kuner, Sachin Savur, Maddey Watson
Setting: The Conference Room,
Agenda: Discuss the agenda points on the literature
Sarah ask have we read everything? More or less
Don’t see why we have a problems with ‘Routine Business’ so will vote that that’s fine
Decision: Maddey and Sarah will decide votes on that in the meeting
Update of the standing orders
They have been doing this anyway but just want it being official. We can’t see anything wrong with it. It’s things about talking about elections rules, how Votes of No Confidence happen. It’s about procedural
None us knows guillotines are? Euan googles it- it basically means to delay the discussion of a motion
Ultimately, we agree that this is fine
Decision: Voting for this
Societies group constitution and heads of terms for the new student group agreement
Next one is horrible: Societies group constitution and heads of terms for the new student group agreement
It’s basically saying that the student groups need to abide by the constitution which needs to be signed
However there are a lot of things that societies committees have thought of that they aren’t happy with it: the DSU can make any changes they like to this agreement, so at any point groups could be in violation about it and de-ratified
Elena will try and insert the rebuttal document that has been circulated [edit- see copy and pasted at end of minutes]
Kiera and Sarah discuss that the don’t really get some of it
None of us think that every society needs two meetings a term
Sarah says it means that everyone has to have their schedules set in stone which is a pain – we don’t know any societies who would like to do this
We feel it’s all getting bureaucratic
There are wider problems about the fact that societies haven’t had their input. As we aren’t there representing
We don’t understand the press point – is this a way to stop people talking against the students union. Is advertising an issue? Does this include the Palatinate? Will Palatinate have to check every single story they post – what if there is a story that’s critical of the SU?
They want this to come into effect by summer, so it’s worth voting against this document so that it can be approved
Sarah has a meeting with the other SU reps tomorrow so will gauge opinion and see if they are also likely to oppose it.
Sarah didn’t go to the last meeting and hasn’t seen the minutes because she wasn’t free
Sarah notes that all the elections stuff makes sense, so does the financial stuff and election stuff.
Some of the criticism has been about how dense the document is as it’s stopping people understanding it as they go through it
Euan agrees that it doesn’t sound completely thought through and some of it seems petty and overly technical
Kiera agrees that this needs several amendments
Decision: Sarah is going to oppose this at the meeting
Tyne and Wear citizens
This one is simple- this is saying that we want to be affiliated with Tyne and Wear citizens which is part of citizens uk and want to improve our relations with local communities
Citizens uk and the students union wold be required to pay £1,200-£1,700 to be affiliated
Euan asks what’s the point?
Sarah reads from the literature then says that she feels it’s just trying to bridge a gap
It sounds like a lot of money, but in the grand scheme of things it’s probably not
Sarah doesn’t have any issues with this really
Kiera and Euan have no issues with this either
Decision: Sarah is going to vote in favour
Conclusion: Sarah is going to meet with other people so if anything crops up that changes her ideas then she will let everyone know on the facebook group
🔥 IMPORTANT STATEMENT FROM SOCIETIES COMMITTEE MEMBERS 🔥
Two years ago, the SU board mandated the SU to ensure that Student Groups’ constitutions were complying with their legal requirements and did not conflict with any SU policies.
The result of this investigation is two new documents, a new Student Group Agreement (SGA), and a mandatory constitution template. You can read these here:
• Assembly Papers, From Page 4
These documents, and the way they have come about, are a disgrace to the SU and a slap in the face to all the student groups. They promised “We’ll champion autonomous, successful student organisations” (page 12, DSU Strategy 2018-22), and it’s disappointing how eager they are to betray that promise.
This is the first you are hearing of this. I can guarantee that, because they haven’t spoken to any of you. Not one student group has been consulted in writing this document which will overhaul your entire governance structure, and we were only informed a week ago. It’s been covertly in progress for over a year!
Completely ignoring the lack of student group consultation, these documents have serious issues in themselves:
• The DSU can make changes unilaterally to the SGA and the template constitution, meaning you could, at any time, suddenly be breaking the SGA and get deratified on their whim. (SGA 12)
• Every group must fill out a development plan each term, allowing the DSU to micro-manage every issue and veto any planned activity. (SGA 7.1-7.2)
• Requires any comments to the press be pre-approved by the DSU. This applies to media groups including Palatinate! We don’t even know whether this applies to Palatinate publishing their own stories! (SGA 5.2.4)
• Suggests you hold general meetings at least twice per term (Constitution 4.2)
• Requires you to notify the DSU about any general meetings so they can send a delegate to speak at the meeting without notice. (SGA 5.1.4)
• Requires that you notify the DSU immediately if you become aware of any breach of your constitution or any action that may be detrimental to the DSU or University (SGA 5.1.8)
• Requires that you get the prior approval for “any other matters determined by the DSU acting reasonably” – giving them complete control over student activities (SGA 10.3)
• The mandatory Constitution Template removes a lot of your autonomy to decide on how to lay out the document, what to focus on, and kills any individuality your group has.
• The Constitution Template concentrates power in the DSU Board of Trustees and not Assembly or your elected Committees.
• Constant pointless small changes, e.g. President is now called Chair, exec are now Society Officers.
• They aren’t even finished! They are full of typos and question marks asking for suggestions of what to do and say.
The whole document phrases itself as an agreement between two parties, but it has been pushed without asking for your opinion. It represents a blind power grab, and is so complex it’s impossible not to break. “We make change happen for students, with students, in their interest.” (page 5, DSU Strategy 2018-22) This is clearly not happening.
What can I do about it?
• Go and meet Charlie Walker (the proposer, and Opportunities Officer), during his open hours 7th Nov, 1pm-4pm
• Come to Assembly! It is on Thursday 8th November, 6pm-8pm, in PCL054. You can’t vote, but you can debate the motion and argue why it’s important to you, to help convince the voting reps.
• Talk to your college’s SU Rep and convince them to vote ‘no’ on Motion I.
• List of college reps
Steven Lowes (Societies Committee Chair)
Amie Key (Hobbies & Games Rep)
Arved Kirschbaum (Academic Rep)
David Theisler (Arts & Music Rep)
Harriet Shaw (International & Faith Rep)