St Cuthbert’s JCR Executive Committee Meeting
Place: Conference Room, Bailey
Reports from Officers-All
- MF- Vice-President
- HLE- Postgraduate and Mature Students Rep
- LT- Male Welfare Officer (on behalf of Female Welfare Officer)
- CA- International Rep
- HR- Librarian
- CO- Senior DSU Rep
- SC- President
- MT- Livers Out Rep
- BH- Treasurer
- GC- Social Chair
- RR- Sports and Socs Chair
Gym Survey and Plan- SC
Motion for moving Live In Officer positions-SC
Ball De-brief- GC
Secret Santa and Social –CP+SC
Video Newsletter- MF
Video for Exec positions- MF
Sporting Commitment- SC
Trustee in particular Rowing Insurance – SC
1. None received.
2.a) MF – Vice-President’s Report
Since the last meeting, I’ve changed the newsletter to a video format. Based on the JCR Facebook page this seems to have been seen by more people than the previous incarnation, but I don’t know how many of them have actually watched it, so would still appreciate feedback! Otherwise the stash order has closed and should be arriving soon so it can be handed out before the end of term. I’ve also (thanks to some expert teaching from GC) uploaded most of the minutes from this year so far.
Future plans – This term: Get the stash from Phoenix Print and hand it round; set up the special 125 edition stash order to run during the holidays so that it is available for collection when term starts; finish uploading the rest of the minutes.
Next term – Look into changing the handbook into an electronic format, rather than a print version.
b) HLE – Postgraduate and Mature Student’s Rep Report
First PG Comm meeting was held on 15/11/13 and went well, with good discussion about events for the year, and general PG issues. Main action points: to put together an Action Plan for what we want to achieve this year, which will reflect the aims that I set out in my last Exec report; SC and HLE to work on motion setting up Mature Student Rep position; Social Rep to help organise and promote PG Formal on 4/12; Bigger publicity of academic events within college – one the general reps, JF, will be overseeing this more. We will also be looking to set up a Reading Group next term, run by PGs, but open to all students, to encourage further discussion of issues raised in the fora or whether any student has an article or essay they would like to discuss. This will start with Cuth’s only, but would like to see it extend to other Bailey colleges.
Otherwise, main work has been on setting up PG and Mature Students’ Formal on 4/12. This is to be incorporated as part of a ‘Postgraduate Week’ (2/12 – 6/12) given that there a number of PG-focused events happening that week. In particular, the PG Research Forum will be running again on 2/12, and it would be good to see a lot of the Exec there. Despite the name, it is open to all, so I feel it would set a good precedence from the Exec to encourage as many students as possible to attend by being there themselves.
There have been a number of events since the last meeting which have seen low PG attendance, particularly the Michaelmas Ball. Price seems to have been the main issue here, so perhaps worth considering for future events? However, at specific PG event (PG/SCR Arts and Humanities Drinks Reception), there was still very low attendance, despite free wine and food. I’m trying to promote events a lot, through Facebook, posters, email etc. The big test for PG numbers will be next week’s formal. If we have a solid base, we can look to put on bigger events for PGs next term.
c) LT – Male Welfare Officer’s Report (on behalf of Female Welfare Officer)
Many of the objectives set in the last report have been achieved.
Firstly, in conjunction with the Liver’s Out rep, the “Take Your Time to Sign” (TYTTS) campaign seemed to be a great success with a large portion of 1st Years coming to the Housing Talk that was held in the dining hall. Due to the high attendance, we can hope that the message was well received and that it will truly help people take their time to sign!
In the last week, we have had training for our Welfare Team. This was run by Nightline and covered Active Listening techniques while making them aware of the things to avoid when fulfilling a welfare role.
Due to how busy the end of term is, we have decided to push back the Domestic Abuse/Sexual Violence campaign, as we are unable to use any of the rooms (SCR, Dining Hall etc) to help raise awareness of these issues. We have moved it to 27th January- 2nd February. We are also liaising with the SCR about organising a Sexual Violence Symposium to be held in this week.
Because there is now no campaign in the final weeks of term, we shall be holding a couple of smaller events instead. Firstly, we see the return of the bake-off with Welfare’s Christmas Bake-Off. This is on the 4th December at 2pm in Brooks! Secondly, we shall be running Panto Toast Nights (6th/7th December)! This will help to show that Welfare is still around and that if anyone does have any problems, that we are just as approachable as we were in Fresher’s Week.
This presence will allow us to raise awareness of the Sexual Violence/Domestic Abuse Post Secret Box that we are going to use (with permission from those filling the post secrets in) in our campaign week in January. Hopefully, this will show that this is an issue that people need to be aware of.
At the next welfare meeting, which should be held before the end of term, CR shall be giving a “Drunk 101”: How to deal with people who are too drunk. This shall help us, as a welfare team, to be more successful in dealing with excessively drunk people should the need occur in the future.
Talks for the Alcohol Awareness Campaign have begun and hopefully a meeting shall be held in the early part of Epiphany Term to decide a date for this.
d) CA – International Rep Report
Michaelmas term has been fairly successful in terms of settling of International students. Whilst many are happy to participate in college events such as Oktoberfest, Day trips or coming along to the bar for events, turnout to the Winter Ball was extremely low due to the ticket price. Whilst this is understandable, in the future I would like to promote the ball more to second and third year International students as many freshers said they would like to attend in second or third year as they would go just once whilst in Durham. There was a drop in session with doughnuts and drinks to encourage taking a survey for the ISA and a mailing list has now been set up to make things like this easier to promote! In the next few weeks I hope to have a Christmas party after the International and Fresher Christmas Formal, as many seem to want to go to this. The ISA have given Cuth’s JCR £100 to spend on both promotions of the survey and general events which should be a huge help in creating events Internationals want to come to. I also hope to set up International Buddies next term alongside Peter Fox.
e) HR – Librarian
The Library opening was mighty successful; we had a good number of people drop by, doughnuts were eaten, lols were had. All of my lovely staff have now been trained and the the whole place is running smoothly. I have advertised opening hours all around college and Library use has been steadily increasing over the past 2 weeks, with it rarely being empty now. The reading room study space is also proving very popular, as is the book request scheme. So far I have ordered 34 books, a large number of which have just arrived. These books will also mean I am able to train my new seniors how to catalogue.
Last week I attended an intercollegiate library meeting in the fancy board room at the top of the Palatine building. The meeting was very interesting and gave an insight in to how other college libraries were run. I got lots of advice and contacts regarding ordering new books and clearing out old ones, as well as some information on software and loan times. The scanning issue is currently being addressed and will hopefully be resolved soon. I’ve just arranged for our loan times for Postgrads to be changed so that they are the same as in the main library (90 days instead of the 21 that undergrads have), and this will come in to effect soon.
f) CO – Senior DSU Rep
I attended assembly with my Junior Rep, as well as a training session before hand to get us all used to procedures and the running of the meeting. I voted in members to sit on ethical and environmental committee (LA and JR), governance committee (CWW), facilities and services committee (JdL), media services committee (ZS and JS) and grant allocation committee (JH, MJ and JW). There was a lot of interest in the positions offered. The student experience subcommittee which is under education committee. We voted for some members to sit on this committee.
There was a motion that has been put forward by the president DS to remove the postgraduate officer; the point he was trying to make was that the 5 officers should be enough to represent the whole university. The motion was passed on a 18-15 result however I voted against this motion.
There was another motion to update the Student Group Funding Regulations, although there was a proposed amendment to remove ’Number of members registered on the Durham Student’s Website’ from the allocation criteria. This amendment was heavily debated by subsequently rejected before the main motion was passed which I voted in favour for.
Also we voted for some societies to be ratified (e.g. Touch rugby, Durham TV, Harry potter…) whiles others to be removed (recorder society and actuarial society).
The accreditation scheme is going well; where the Durham SU gives a landlord its stamp of approval for being a good landlord.
For the Zone meetings; the topic was about student participation in the university; where they discussed about both college & faculty methods of communication and engagement. It was apparent that students felt more engaged through college communities. They talked about how transparent these methods are and how many links in the chains there are; also how consultation could best work e.g university wide consultation or maybe just through rep, or maybe even after the decision had been made as long as it was flexible.
The other meeting talked about homophobia and transphobia in sport. There was a discussion on whether college and university wide sports team should sign the NUS charter ‘out in sport’; this was agreed and then we talked about how best this would be implemented. It was mention that this would need to be accompanied by training and education which could be possibly done by the DSU reps or the college execs. We then discussed that college bar staff and security would have to be trained or empowered in order to deal with students and sport clubs if the charter wasn’t adhered to.
g) SC – President
On top of regular duties of moving from meeting to meeting and replying to emails a few distinct areas have come up. I have been participating, with the Union, on the “Zone Meetings” which were to do with Homophobia and Transphobia in Sport, the Union’s own Student Engagement and the consultation process between students and the University (or rather lack thereof). This will hopefully inform policy a little more. I have also participated in several workshops, in particular to do with fundraising and understanding why people give money and how best to analyse the impact. In this vein, I have also met with the DUCK, Fashion Show people and SCA to see how well supported they are in the role and am proposing changes designed to create an “Outreach Officer” more concerned with Fundraising. As part of President’s Committee we are still continuing to look into Team Durham finances, interviewing QS and have been investigating the changes in accommodation and facilities services with regards to the appointment of HS.
Within college, I have met with EA multiple times to discuss Alumni engagement, the possibility of a sabbatical alumni officer to help fund raise and in to discuss various disciplinary processes and incidents. In particular the Rugby Club have now had their disciplinary hearing and out of there came the possibility that, as a recognised body, we would be shut down. Thankfully we should be ok and as a JCR and College will be keeping an eye on the Rugby Club. I will be supporting them in changing their culture for the better. I have also been discussing how best to link up the Head of Colleges and PresComm so we stay abreast of changes. We also see the return of SR, Senior Tutor and Vice-principal and have met with her to bring her back up to speed on the JCR as she has been away for 6 months. There was also a health and safety meeting from which I reviewed all our PAT Testing and the safety of our Gyms and we are good on that front now.
Apart from supporting the JCR Officers, I have a Trustee meeting coming up and am preparing all the officer reports into a reasonable general report on the term. I have created a few governing documents from existing templates and recently written a raft of motions. The library opening was a success and I had fun building stuff in there. The Remembrance Service was also successful so thank you to all who helped in that. GC’s ball was brilliant and was executed fantastically so thank you to him. Other than that there will be a few points which I have working on which we can discuss as agenda items. Thank you to everyone’s hard work, it really has been a fantastic term!
h) None received – to be submitted by Sunday
i) None received – to be submitted by Sunday
j) None received – to be submitted by Sunday
k) None received – to be submitted by Sunday
3.a) SCto provide coffee for library opening – Done.
b) HR making library facebook event – Done.
c) RR updating standing orders with regard to numbers needed for a society – Motion to be submitted at the next meeting.
d) RR A Sportsman’s Formal – No action yet as will not take place until third term.
e) SCUpdate Constitution – In progress. ISA have written a standard passage that they want to include in all constitutions. The trustees need to check the changes to ensure that they don’t change the meaning of the constitution.
f) CP Update Standing Orders with All – Done, but need to be uploaded.
g) All email Summative Deadlines – Some received.
h) MF to look into better newsletter formatting – See Agenda Item.
i) SC to speak to Durham Tray – No reply, so steal the idea and use it ourselves.
j) SC to ask for mailing lists – Done, try to add Erasmus students.
k) SC to help with Fashion Show – Interviews done, budget needs to be checked but hasn’t been submitted yet.
l) SC to recommend bar profit allocation – The meeting about this is on December 12th.
4. SC has looked at the responses to the survey, and will publish them in an unsorted form (sorting them would take too long). His immediate recommendations are to include lower weights and have women only nights. Some of the suggestions received (mainly about space) are impossible to implement. SC, AR and BH will work out a five year plan to ensure the gym has a better budget and clearer plan. The gym will be open to women only for 9 hours a week (one weekday evening and one weekend morning). It was suggested that the gym could be booked by teams/groups of friends at certain times (the rest of the time it would be open hours like a doctor’s surgery). This was generally approved of, though certain practical difficulties (mainly the policing) were raised. SC and AR will discuss the practicalities of it.
Action Points – SC is to publish the results of the survey online and advertise them; SC, BH and AR are to discuss the long term plan and purchases for the gym; SC and AR are to look into a booking system.
5. SC suggested moving the elections for all live-in positions to the first meeting of next term (rather than the second). This would make it easier for unsuccessful candidates to find houses, make it easier to advertise the elections and might increase turn out in those elections. The disadvantages would be that people might be less keen to run if they did not know who was President, and it would make the first meeting extremely long. It was decided to discuss it in a JCR Meeting. Moving the Presidential election to the final meeting of first term was also suggested. This would remove the problem of not knowing who was President, and make it easier for unsuccessful candidates to find jobs. However, it would mean the incumbent only has one term before a successor is chosen and may not be able to accomplish much. It would also mean that candidates would be less well known or might only work hard for a few weeks to gain support. It was decided that since this cannot be implemented for this year it should be put to a straw poll in the same JCR Meeting, rather than a Motion.
Action Points – SC to submit the motion about live-in exec; CP to run the straw poll in the meeting.
6. The Ball was a financial success, there were no fines, all deposits have been returned and GC has written to thank the venue, security and St. John’s Ambulance. It was felt that advertising, although good, still needed to be improved, and this could be done by having one person in charge of publicity from the beginning of the year (as the Publicity Officer this year only came in mid way through, but the impact of having someone to focus on it was then noticeable). Internationals and Postgraduates seemed to feel that the cost was too high. It was noted that other colleges have their smaller, in-college event in first term, and their bigger event in second term, which would increase attendance at the first event, but people may then regard the second event as too expensive. The international students seemed very keen on the Christmas Formals, so Social Comm may attempt to make these into a bigger event. A JCR-run formal was suggested, since currently the price of formals is controlled, thus limiting the options for events afterwards. GC summarised the report of Social Comm (available in the minutes of their meeting).
Action Points – GC and MF to put the report online.
7. SC wants to have a social before the end of term, with a Secret Santa, to be organised by CP, using a random on-line generator. A limit of £5 was set for presents. SC will set up a doodle poll to pick a date.
Action Points – SC choose a date for the social; CP allocate Secret Santas.
8. Given that previous newsletters had not been well read, we have switched to a video newsletter to increase interest. However, there is still no way of seeing how many people have actually watched it, so they will start appearing on Youtube. It was also suggested that making them shorter and adding some editing would increase interest.
Action Points – MF to upload future videos to Youtube, make the newsletters shorter and try to learn how to edit them.
9. In an attempt to increase interest in the elections, and given that we now have a camera, it was felt that having all of the exec make short promotional videos about what their role involves and why people to run for it, to be posted on-line over the holidays would be a good idea.
Action Points – MF to allocate everyone a time to make their video, then post the final version online and advertise it.
10. SC wants a contract to ensure that teams are aware of their responsibilities and acceptable standards of behaviour. This would also include the equality charter. It was suggested that this fitted well with a Welfare Campaign in February.
Action Points – SC and RR to prepare the code of conduct, and then offer LT and EH help with the campaign.
11. There is a trustee meeting coming soon, one of the main issues at the meeting will be insurance, particularly of the Boat Club, who currently are not insured and would need insurance in the region of £105,000. It was suggested that it could be paid for by the Club this year, as it had not been budgeted for, and that subsequent budgets for repairs by the Boat Club could be reduced accordingly.
Action Points – SC and BH to discuss with Boat Club and Trustees.