Held in the Conference Room at 4:30pm
1. Apologies and absences
2. Minutes from previous meeting; matters arising
3. Reports; report on action points
b.Postgrad and Mature Rep
c. International Rep
f. Sports and Socs Chair
g. Social Chair
i. DSU Rep
j. Livers’ Out Rep
4. Library Keys/Opening: SC, HR
5. Society membership: RR
6. Sportsman’s ball: RR
7. Constitutional Changes: SC
8. Dates for summative work: SC
9. Weekly Newsletter: RR
10. Reserved Business: GC
1. Apologies and Absences
2. Reports; Action Points
a. EH- Welfare Officer (also on behalf of LT)
Since the last report, many of the objectives have been completed. For example, welfare now has a huge committee of 23 sub-welfare officers. This will hopefully increase our efficiency, ensuring that campaign weeks are run to a high standard.
Welfare has already run an event, “The Great Brooks Bake Off”. The aim of this was to promote welfare, showing Freshers that welfare is still very much a presence in the JCR and that we are an approachable committee. The event was well received and many people attended the event. Due to its success, I would like to run more of these events in the future, as it serves a purpose and is very cheap to organise.
Recently, the Cuth’s specific campaign weeks have been finalised. The committee has decided to run the following campaign weeks:
• Domestic Abuse/Sexual Violence Awareness – December 2013
• Mental Health/Eating Disorder Awareness – February 24th – 2nd March (coincides with National Eating Disorder Awareness Week)
• Gender Awareness – April/May
In terms of university wide campaign weeks, Welfare is currently working on publicising the Take Your Time to Sign campaign week (18th-24th November). We are working alongside the Liver’s Out rep to make sure that this is done effectively.
Welfare will continue to support the Liver’s Out rep in the organisation of the Take Your Time to Sign campaign. We shall be working over the next couple of weeks to generate enough materials to advertise the campaign, e.g. making posters.
Once this campaign is finished, we will turn our attentions to our Sexual Violence campaign. I have been in contact with the organisation “It Happens in Durham” and have received some leaflets and information. I am also looking at contacting other organisations to see if I can receive help packs/posters.
In line with Cuth’s specific campaigns, I will look at contacting relevant charities for resources and information. For example, I have registered with Drink Aware recently and received £85 worth of credit which I would like to use to buy materials relevant for an Alcohol Awareness campaign. I hope to do this with other charities and organisations also.
In relation to Drink Aware, I am looking to discuss with the Bar Steward about running an Alcohol Awareness campaign at some point in the future. I have discussed this with the Bar Steward previously and she was very supportive. We are hoping to introduce Spikeys to the bar, set up a water station, give out information booklets in relation to drinking and make customers aware of the number of units they are consuming.
b. HLE -Postgraduate and Mature Students Rep
The last two weeks have been focusing on familiarising myself with the responsibilities of the Postgrad Rep position, specifically through talks with the JCR President SC, the college principal EA, and the various members of the MCR Pres comm. I also sat in on the last college council meeting. There have been several notable issues raised with regard to the postgraduate community and its representation and standing within the college and JCR. These in turn reflect wider issues in the postgraduate community across the university as a whole. Notable areas include finances, governance and provision of space. Perhaps most tellingly from the DSU Postgraduate Report is that Cuth’s (along with Mary’s, Collingwood’s and Queen’s) postgraduate community ‘need[s] radical overhaul’. For Cuth’s, this requires reviewing where postgraduates stand within the JCR, their relationship to undergraduates, their inclusion in JCR events, and their relationship with the SCR. Similar problems have been raised with Mature Students. As a result, I have identified three areas that require immediate attention, both from the JCR and the college:
1. Postgraduate Identity and Representation – as above, review of postgraduate standing within the JCR and relationship with undergraduates and SCR. Lack of well-defined standing orders for postgraduate committee and unclear role within JCR.
2. Finances– Given the increasingly larger numbers of postgraduates within the college, there is a disproportionate allocation of money to the postgraduate community in order to organise its own events. N.B. this is not a demand for money, but a review of how postgraduate’s fees are used within the JCR and whether these reflect postgraduate needs.
3. Space – Complete lack of postgraduate space within the college means that Cuth’s is severely behind most other colleges in terms of what we can provide and offer postgraduates. This reinforces the lack of postgraduate identity within the college, so the need for physical space for study/leisure would undoubtedly help foster a greater postgraduate self-understanding within the college.
My aim for this year therefore is to address these issues (although I am aware that solutions may take significantly longer). I will be working with both short and long-term goals.
My short-term goals include i) Reorganisation of postgraduate committee, in terms of reviewing the role and mandate of specific positions, creation of new positions (e.g. academic officers, welfare, mature student’s rep), formation of action plan/standing orders for the committee; ii) Review of postgraduate involvement in sports and societies, to be conducted in Epiphany term, with a (long-term) view to addressing postgraduate financial allocation; iii) To bring about greater postgraduate integration with the SCR.
My long-term goals include i) Review of procedure for electing postgraduate committee, in terms of timing within the year (there is a push within MCR Prescomm for all postgraduate/MCR elections to be standardised across all colleges, in order to allow greater preparation of induction week and access to training courses within the DSU); ii) Assessment of what can be offered postgraduates and provision made for them by the college. Specifically, at this stage, reviewing what is offered in other colleges (for example, I have been invited to both Aidan’s and Collingwood); iii) Push for allocation of postgraduate space. This is understandably not an easy situation, but this year might involve looking for a temporary solution and review of a permanent space to be conducted towards the end of the year – I understand from college council that this is an on-going issue and that it is being addressed. The Postgraduate Rep’s role in this sense would be supporting the college council with their own review of the situation.
However, there are some definite positives that can be drawn from these first few weeks. Postgraduates who attended Fresher’s Week all enjoyed it, and our own ‘informal’ formal was a particular success in bringing together new and returning postgraduates. The two Inter-MCR formals have been well-attended. The Research Forum was very successful, and saw the integration of both undergraduates/postgraduates and staff, from various different disciplines, and we will hopefully work to make this a more regular event, perhaps culminating in an all-day workshop/conference later in the year.
c. CA – International Rep Report
The first few weeks have gone really well for the international students of Cuths with many participating in the 125th celebrations of the cocktail reception, Octoberfest and the Holy Island tour. Currently the most important task is working alongside the International Students association in helping them run the International Students Barometer on behalf of I-graduate. Being such a largely diverse college we are hoping to have a high percentage of our international students participating in the test. To do this we are going to mention it in the bulletin, have put up posters, promote via the International Students Facebook page which is now set up and finally host drop in sessions with hot drinks and donuts where the survey can be taken. This will be on Wednesday late afternoons for the following two weeks in Brooks Bar. We are given £100 to use as incentive and are going to use £20 of this on food and drinks and the remaining on various gift cards to Waterstones, Pizza Express and Chapters that they can win by entering into a prize raffle for taking the quiz. We are also hoping to set up a International Freshers table at the Michaelmas Ball not only as a way of getting to know other students but to help sell more tickets for the ball. In the next few weeks I hope to work with PF (if he is still doing it!) to set up International Buddies as I heard it was a great success last year.Report for Exec Meeting on November 6th and JCR Meeting on November 7th
d. MF – Vice President
The second stash order of term closes at midnight on Wednesday. I’m currently working on the new design for the 125 stash, checking with Phoenix to make sure it is all possible. I hope that the new design will be included in the Christmas order. Otherwise I’m sending round the weekly newsletters, and would appreciate feedback about whether people like having them posted on Facebook and pinned up around Cuth’s (or indeed if anyone has actually noticed them…). Lastly, just taking lots of minutes…
e. SC – President
Thank you to everyone for your tremendous work so far. I will first report on my action points from the previous JCR and Exec Meeting.
APs from JCR Meeting:
AP-To look into more detail of what is needed with regard to Gyms. The survey at time of writing has just closed with results to be worked out on the 6th. Great participation so I should have some good figures. AR, BH and I will likely to talk about the best way to bring about these changes suggested and the report will be made public for the next JCR Meeting.
AP- To look into whether live in positions should be made live out positions. Whilst against the change personal I can understand why it is an important question to be asked. As of yet nothing to report as I’m not quite sure how to go about finding a quantitative answer to the question.
APs from Previous exec meeting
AP- To work out viability of USB stick handbooks. Very viable, spoke to MFl at John Snow and found out how they do it, through a sponsor and through HelloU. Senior Management agreed this would be a better thing to do so now laying the ground for whoever my successor is.
AP- Social Comm Meeting to discuss surplus. Didn’t happen as far as I’m aware but probably worth pursuing later on in the year in regard to various governance changes proposed in report… For time being social comm can still make applications to finance committee for events that will make a loss in the same way a sport or society might. SC and GC will discuss this separately.
AP- Leadership Course. FAIL. Will reorganise with Exec and apologies.
AP- Sports and Soc list typed up and now each has their own email account.
AP-Football Pitch Fee Hikes.Still being discussed with Team Durham and PresComm, seeking explanations as well as a material reduction in fees and more student input into Team Durham structure.
In addition to the below, been attempting to support exec and non-exec officers in their endeavours.
Charitable Status- Thank you to BH for helping complete the annual report for 2012, I also managed to accidentally complete one for 2011 as well. Trustee Meeting is on Saturday where we will discuss a number of things in particular moving from a charitable unincorporated organisation (where trustees are individually financially and legally responsible for the JCR) to a charitable incorporated organisation (where the charity is legally and financially responsible) and the possibility of getting a professional auditor to look at the accounts to make sure all is above board. We will also discuss the implications of these two moves which is likely to change the constitution and standing orders. SC and BH are working on this and are in the process of updating the constitution accordingly.
Facilities- The Library is coming on leaps and bounds thanks to HR. I am moving more study tables in tomorrow, more computers in the computer room and the proper port for the white board in the conference room. TV in Brooks House is rewired and working. Gyms seem to be running smoothly with the Students Union now looking into proper training for Gym Manager for us. Computer Rooms are running but ordering consumables are an issue. I am working with college on it.
JCR Meeting- An extra-ordinary JCR Meeting called for tomorrow to allow election of PG Committee and Social Committee positions deemed vital to starting the year properly. Thank you CP and to LM for help in this. Hopefully motions will be quicker this time and won’t go on for three hours again.
On-going commitments- Presidential Drop-ins did not survive, apologies but I think I can’t commit a regular time, will attempt to restart in the future or designate a time, place and question for more lively debate. PresComm meetings are being well attended although I missed IndyComm (a collection of the non-DSO presidents and treasurers) due to a senior management meeting. Both committees are aiming to work for students across colleges tackling issues within Team Durham and the Centralisation of Porters, Cleaners, Accommodation Managers and Bursars and later on in the year engaging with Livers out.
Social Comm- Looking into event insurance for upcoming Michealmas Ball. Have been advertising to Freshers and Alumni
Sports and Socs- Me and RR are still doing Give it a go and I’m still trying to encourage teams to let me know their results. Big Band is merging a bank account with ours for the benefit of our charitable status. Rugby Club has understandably taken up some time these last few weeks. Made me aware of issues that do need to be addressed namely peer pressure and respect in sports and the need to engage in a meaningful dialogue between JCR members about what “lad” culture is and should be. Will be pushing a Sports Commitment that is a sign up against these and am looking into a “Good ‘lad’ Workshop”. Sports Awards have been reviewed with RR.
Storage-Still an issue especially with the Library soon to open, will be working with social comm and green machine manager to set up proper spaces where things can be stored. Am looking into getting some lockable cupboards for Art Soc, Big Band and Choir.
Welfare Comm- Impressed with the recruits so well done EH and LT. Very happy to help support in future campaigns.
f. RR – Sports and Societies Chair
I have continued the Give it a Go campaign taking part in Hockey, Drama Auditions, Mixed Lacrosse and Ultimate Frisbee. Sign up from others is not particularly great. The ‘New Societies of the Week’ is ongoing and hopefully there will be a dodgeball society set up this week. I have started thinking about the ‘Sportman’s Ball’ and along with SC reviewed the Sports and Societies Awards.
g. GC – Social Chair
The Michaelmas Ball preparations are going well, and we are currently on 287 ticket sales for dinner. This is very good numbers wise, but because we have a lower ticket price this is still not enough.
The main effort for exec in the coming days re the ball is promotion. Dinner tickets will come off sale at Thursday midnight. From Friday onwards we will be selling ents tickets for £35 each. We need to sell as many of these as possible, and a minimum of 90 and an upper limit of 120. We need to target all Cuth’s students who don’t have a dinner ticket, as well as alumni. Additionally, sales will be open to non-Cuths students.
Other events went very well. The 125 Silent Disco and Oktoberfest were very well received, and also attracted a healthy surplus which we will reinvest in events infrastructure. Thanks to CP and SC for their involvement in these, as well as all the other members of exec who are helping with social comm.
h. HR – Librarian
Soooo, I’ve generally had a right good tidy of the Library (not that you can tell) and cleared out all the old files and tat from behind the desk. I’ve rewritten the Procedure Handbook (last done in 2003) and the Training Handbook (last done in 2006) and hired 9 new members of staff (out of the 20 or so who I interviewed) who I’m currently in the process of training. At the weekend we had a day of paid work where we located about 450 of the missing items from the stock take. This day was meant to be focused on clearing out the reading room but we needed SC for this and he was otherwise engaged. The reading room is still yet to be completed, but it’s now just a case of moving furniture which shouldn’t take too much time. The Library collection of 60 choir books has been released in to the care of the Cuth’s Choir Librarian.
The Library is due to open on Monday at 11.30am, and I am confident that it will be ready in time. I plan to publicise the opening on facebook and through posters around the college. I also plan on having posters up with
general details of the opening hours and the book request scheme, with the hope of attracting a few more people to the Library.
The book amnesty has been mighty unsuccessful, people are now just telling me they have books they need to bring back but aren’t actually doing it. Other than this though I’ve had quite a lot of interest in the book requests and general use of the library.
I’ve got rid of a collection of old, unused books and also, thanks to BaH, we now have a small careers section.
As we have a small section of the Library devoted to Marxist literature, I would like to complement this with a Feminist section. I feel this would be relevant to many courses and generally a valuable addition to our lil’ Library, so I will be working on this over the next few weeks.
Oh, and I’m going to get some extra Library keys to give to my seniors
i. CO – Senior DSU Rep
The University Challenge competition group stage concluded last week and for all purpose ran very well, unfortunately the Cuthbert’s team weren’t able to get out of their group. The next rounds are now up and running at the Durham SU and there is an open round on the 7th of November for anyone to enter. Assembly has been postponed till next week on the 14th of November and so we haven’t had a chance to discuss SU related issues yet since the beginning of term. Lastly there will be a focus group on Accommodation and Commercial services on Friday 8 November between 12.00-2.00pm. It will be held in the Ustinov Room at Van Mildert.
j. MT – Livers’ Out Rep
Since the last meeting, we have held a successful College Parent’s evening, with a good turnout and relatively little chaos. Of 94 sets of parents, only one failed to turn up which I saw as a success.
I have been in meetings with GA (Union Community Officer) and other colleges’ L/O Reps, mainly with reference to the Take Your Time To Sign Campaign, to be run 18th-24th November. I have scheduled an Accommodation Talk for 18th November at 8.15pm, with GA and Police Constible PR due to speak in addition to any extra speakers I organise.
I plan to apply to be elected onto the Union Community Committee for the Neville’s Cross area in order to better represent livers-out at a Union level.
I am in the process of taking over last year’s Housing Database in order to begin to improve it before the freshers start looking in earnest for houses. Everyone was asked to publicise this and Gabe will create a link on cuths.com.
k. BH – Treasurer
Annual return to the Charities Commission – assisted SC in completing this. The process was discussed with Finance Committee as well and the 2012 accounts were made available to them. The annual return has now been submitted by SC. Shift to charitable incorporated organization will clearly have a major impact on the JCR’s operation. The ongoing process of a more active Finance Committee seems to me to be central to this for fiscal scrutiny. An external audit of accounts (annually) also seems to be desirable.
VAT returns – the accounts have been updated and the VAT returns are ready to be submitted to HMRC before the deadline on Friday. Still waiting on a few rogue receipts that have not, as of yet, been accounted for (DC) and are still being chased up.
Day-to-day activities such as reclaims and filing is manageable and no major problems have been encountered.
Forthcoming JCR meeting – will be submitting a motion about mandatory subscriptions and call a Finance Comm meeting in order to assess any budgets for societies that have been submitted (at time of writing, despite reminders: none).
Change of bank account: a change in fees with Lloyds may make it desirable for the JCR to change banks. SC and I are looking into this. It may be better to postpone a change until the winter vacation in order to minimize issues with transactions and urgent invoices.
4. Library Keys/Opening: SC, HR – The library will reopen on Monday. All library keys need to be returned to HR.
a. AP – SC provide coffee and doughnuts for the opening and cut six new keys to the Exec office. HR make an event on Facebook for the reopening.
5. Society membership: RR – Several teams (e.g. Basketball) do not need 15 members to compete but it is currently specified that they must have 15 to remain ratified.
a. AP – RR to update the Standing Orders to say that this is at the discretion of the Sports and Societies Chair.
6. Sportsman’s ball: RR – This has been held at an external venue in the past, but was deemed to be too expensive and too risky. CP suggested looking into using the marquee hired by the Student’s Union for the Media Awards. It was decided to have a formal in college for the exec of all sports and societies (limited to 130), then follow this with an event to present the colours. RR also raised the question of a Naked Calendar as a fundraising opportunity. It was agreed that the price would have to be kept below £5.
a. AP – Rich to speak to EA about the possibility of a Sportsman’s Formal and to investigate further the idea of a calendar.
7. Constitutional Changes: SC – the current constitution isn’t up to date, and needs to be amended in line with our potential change in charitable status. It would be easier to edit the constitution on-line, rather than as a PDF.
a. AP – Serge to update the constitution, CP to update the Standing Orders, all to meet with CP individually to discuss the section of the Standing Orders relevant to their role, and help SC as needed.
8. Dates for summative work: SC wants to avoid pressuring anyone when they have deadlines, but therefore needs to know when people have deadlines.
a. AP – All to email SC to let him know when they have deadlines.
9. Weekly Newsletter: RR felt that the current newsletter was not being well read, based on the poor turn out for Give it a Go. It was generally agreed that something needed to be done, though a video diary would require too much work, attachments would clog up emails too much and MF is useless with technology, thus limiting the options.
a. AP – MF to look into better formatting for the printed newsletter (in particular), summarise the items more, discuss anchors with GC, SC to speak to Durham Tray about advertising in the dining hall.
10. Reserved Business: GC – available from the President upon request.
a. CA wants to be able to contact the international students by email, MT wants to be able to contact the livers’ out.
i. AP – SC harass reception to set up dedicated mailing lists.
b. Fashion Show – EG (as DUCK rep) and three second years have all expressed an interest in running a fashion show. SC suggested this should be done jointly. They wanted to know if they would need to elect people to help them, but SC recommends running this informally, so no positions would need to be elected.
i. AP – SC to meet with all and help (if needed) organise the fashion show, also to meet with EG to discuss the organisation of DUCK.
c. Allocation of Bar Profits – College Council have proposed splitting bar profits into three pots (JCR, Bar Maintenance, Bursaries for Student Development), rather than the current two pots (JCR, Bar Maintenance). This was accepted, provided the JCR had a leading role in allocating the bursaries. They would therefore be JCR bursaries based on the money spent by students in the bar, rather than college bursaries.
i. AP – SC to recommend to College Council.
The meeting was closed at 5:30pm.