1630 Conference Room, House 8

Apologies and absences
Minutes from previous meeting; matters arising
Open Days

Apologies and absences

Apologies: EH, MF, BH

Minutes from previous meeting

Matters Arising:
Team Durham-
Ap-President to push for more student input in the decision making processes of Team Durham regarding College Sports.
Video for Marketing
Agreed that progress needs to be made quickly with President to head this up although some videos will need more time to get content for them. Videos needed for Accommodation and Facilities which can be made fairly easily. Socials, Open Days, Formals should appear in a socials video. Postgraduate, International and Sports and Socs should have their own videos. Much can be done with existing media for the time being such as photos to create a montage.
AP-President to agree a time where dialogue can be scripted for the videos, in particular Accommodation and Facilities and will then approach any interested parties for filming. To attempt to gain access for videos from previous President.
AP-Social Chair to work with Social Comm and Publicity Officer to get photos for a social events montage. Collect videos and other media for future big social events such as formals and Cuth’s Day and small events like acoustic night and fora
AP-Welfare officer to pull any videos from previous open day he has.
AP-Postgrad, International Rep and Sports and Socs rep to ask for a general photo and video call for their various videos.
Welfare Interviews and Interviewing for Exec
Decided all candidates for exec positions should be mandated to contact incumbents to find out more about the role and to sign off on their submission sheets to the SRO. Decided we need better information in the standing orders as to the nature of the roles.
AP-Chair to update standing orders and send around forms for Exec members to update their forms.
Cap on Sports and Soc’s Budget
Discussed much previously but needs to be addressed this side of term to enable Sports and Socs to consider their positions and give effective feedback. Decided Sports and Socs need more support for fundraising and other areas that might save them money. Agreed that we should only be looking to reduce it based on what we should be spending in other areas. Important to remember that Cuths is based around good investment in our Sports and Societies and this should be retained. We should however look at other colleges to ensure our societies remain the most diverse, cheapest and competitive.
AP-President to create a discussion and presentation with Societies that will outline how much we should be investing in other areas of the JCR and compare to other JCRs expenditure. Compare costs of subs in other colleges. Provide information at the discussion on how to fundraise and get sponsorship, how to save money in their sports and societies and how to apply for budgets. President to take feedback from this meeting to develop a more sustainable budget that represents student’s interests.


    1. Postgrad and Mature Students Report- HLEThe first Cuth’s Reading Group last week went well, and we had a good turn out from UGs, PGs, and SCR members. We have confirmed speakers for the next Research Forum on the 10th March. We are planning at some point to do a bigger event that brings together members from different disciplines working on the ‘Hearing the Voice’ project, not necessarily members of Cuths. Planning and organisation for the Inter-MCR formal are in the final stages, and invites will be going out this week. We are also looking to plan events for the PGs who will be staying over the holidays, such as film nights, day trips etc.

      MCR PresComm is currently reviewing how MCRs have responded to the 2013 PG Officer’s report. The main thing I took from this is the importance of the Induction Week, to coincide with Freshers Week, which I want to try and start preparing for over the Easter break. Generally I think we are actually doing quite well in what we have on offer for postgraduates, and have received a lot of support from the JCR and college in this respect, but we are really only at the start of what we could potentially be offering. In this regard, developments have to be considered as part of a long-term initiative. I would like to note that we have had good responses from the International PGs (as well as now having an International PG Rep) and hopefully this will continue. However, despite this, I am still concerned with the lack of PG numbers showing up at events. We have a regular crowd of people who do make an appearance at academic and social events, but I would still like to increase this (for example, although all PG events are open to all students and staff, I wonder whether this turns away more PGs than it attracts?). However, this aim is difficult to find a balance with the number of events going on in the college and JCR as it as, plus the heavy work commitments that a lot of PGs have. The difficulty is sustained by the number of PGs from non-collegiate universities, who I believe at this stage of the year, are not entirely convinced by college life and what it can offer.

  1. International Report- CA

Chinese New Year was a great success at Cuth’s! We held a party at Brooks Bar to kick off terms events with sang. The food compeition brought in delicious Chinese dishes that were greatly enjoyed by all. There was also karaoke, and atraditional Chinese raffle game. Next, we hope to organize a full Bailey bar crawl as this has been requested. An end of term Easter party will also take place similar to last terms end of term revision break party. The ISA are also excited to announce their International Fashion Show which will take place on the 8th March at the RaddisonBlu Hotel.

  1. Livers Out Report- MT

Since the last meeting, a couple of articles have been published coming out against the Take Your Time To Sign campaign. The backlash was unexpected but has been countered by some good feedback within Cuth’s. Having spoken to GA about this, I couldn’t glean much more information – it would appear there was a miscommunication somewhere along the line. The Livers-Out reps for all colleges were told that all major landlords agreed not to advertise or release tenancy agreements until December 1st, and this did not happen – I’m still trying to figure out what happened, in order to prevent this happening again next year.

With other commitments and academic work taking up time I have unfortunately not yet got any further with Outreach Committee but plan to make this a priority in the coming weeks.

  1. Vice President Report- MF

Been fairly quiet since the last meeting. Most of the stash has now been given out, the next order will be Graduation stash in the summer. Also, been trying to make the newsletter reach more people by spamming Facebook and doing a mini version to be put on tables in the Bailey. The Facebook thing seems to be irritating people, which at least means they’re seeing it. Not sure how the table thing has been going, comments from SC or BH?

  1. Library Report- HR

From what I can tell the library is having a reasonably good level of use, but I am getting staff to keep a rough record of how many people are working in the library on their shift so I can have a better idea of when peak times are and see if our opening hours best suit peoples’ preferences,and also with a view to bringing back extended opening hours next term.

In the next few weeks I will be looking to talk to the postgrad rep about whether library use over the Easter break will be possible/useful.

I’m continuing to order new books, although there haven’t been many requests lately. I’m looking to promote this again more and also begin to get hold of reading lists in preparation for a larger, more comprehensive book order next term.

  1. President Report- SC

As well as the regular swathe of emails, meetings and maintenance that occupy my time I can report that that I have been involved in various other projects such as the Sporting Commitment, The Feast, Greg Langley-Kyle Music Fund, Loss of the Pool Table and Games Machines in the Bar, Expansion/Use of the Back Room in the Bar, FemSoc debate, Environment Committee events/initiatives and Open Day planning.

Two large scale projects that need reporting on are Team Durham and the University Accommodation and Commercial Services Review.

TEAM DURHAM- Issues with price increases should be resolved in the very near future. Each President has, to the best of their ability, found out exactly how much all the facilities cost this year and last to compare and go back to Team Durham to tell them their figures are incorrect. This should give us leverage on how much we do pay especially considering the information released to the President’s Committee. The fear though is that if we don’t move soon the senior management of the University will pressure Team Durham to increase prices further because there logic is that we are incredibly competitive price wise. Not the case when all the extra funding from the student body through Experience Durham is considered. I am pushing personally for more interaction and decision making to come from our Sports and Societies Officers with Team Durham and between the President and Team Durham. Ultimately we are all on the same side and this interaction and involvement in the decisions taken that affect college sport is crucial.

ACCOMODATION AND COMMERCIAL SERVICES REVIEW- Frustratingly little to report as the University is refusing to release information to the Student body. As a brief recap the review involved a large amount of focus group input and then began to proceed with “Phase 1” which began reviewing the positions of Bursars in colleges and seeing whether they can be centralised under Estates and Buildings. This is not what was clear in focus groups and the University has so far refused to release the full report from focus groups, the rationale of Phase 1, the business case that supports this as a money saving exercise and thus value for student money and refused to state any further on further phases. This obviously makes arguing the case against this extremely difficult from a student perspective as we do not know the nature of the beast officially. It appears however that it will damage student experience in various operational ways and make things difficult to organise in particular student facilities and social events. As a wider issue, students lose the accountability of the bursar to colleges and the principal profoundly changing the relationship with which feedback and change can be sort in relation to student problems. President’s Committee are petitioning the VC for clarity and the release of this information through the committee, through the Heads of College and the Union Sabbs. It is becoming increasingly clear there are some big politics involved on the back of the “Governance Review” which is to be debated this afternoon. This review proposes that all colleges and departments should have power and autonomy over their own budgets, the complete opposite to the Accommodation and Commercial Services Review. We are expecting big changes and I will continue to update all students when I have something to update with.

In other news, I have some big things I decided I wished to resolve by the end of the year that I have made no progress on in recent weeks namely Trustees, Treasury and Training Sports and Socs. I hope to be able to make progress with these in the very near future.

  1. DSU Report- CO

This is the week where the candidates for the sabbatical officer roles will be going around campaigning and attending debates. The debates will be occurring at 630pm, Thursday 27th February CM101, 630pm Friday 28th February Fonteyn Ballroom and Waterside Stockton (same time). They may be other opportunities to grill the candidates which I shall advertise at a later date. I shall be running polling stations all next week, either in the dining hall or at the bar whilst giving people an opportunity to find out what the union can do for them. At assembly on the 19th February, a motion was passed for the union to lobby the university into improving its feedback process for university assignments. They felt although some departments work better than others, there was still a lot more they could do and planned to give them general outlines to help improve this process. Many new societies have been ratified by the union, noticeably the recorder society and the baking society. Lastly at camcom (DSU reps and student development officer), we discussed ways to improve the role of the senior DSU reps for our successors. It was agreed that their effectiveness needed to increase but this could be done with the correct training. As a group we feel that with the union’s many changes, we have been left directionless which would need to improve for the next batch coming in.

A quick reminder of the late opening hours of the riverside bar till 3am on a Friday!!

  1. Welfare Report- LT

The Student Union’s “Respect Irrespective” campaign seemed to be a success, especially the debate with a huge turnout from many colleges, including a large proportion of Cuths. The signing of the sports equality charter was also successful. Though not entirely related, the LGBT event in empty shop was also a success with a Zine being set up and everyone asking when the next event is!

Our next campaign is this week and aims to target the stigma attached to mental health. There is a symposium being run in the SCR’s Difficult Dialogues attached to this as well as (hopefully) effective poster making with ideas being taken from the Time2Change website (a website which aims to tackle the stigmas attached to mental health).

The alcohol awareness campaign is still being discussed but shall probably be during Easter Term now.

Open Days: SC

Plans discussed for Open Day. Decided to spend some money from Social Comm budget on the events. Already have U18 wristband but need 18yr old wristbands. Hiring of Reps almost complete. Train Station raised as an issue but is being handled by BurComm. Exec offered a position if they wish to help out.

AP-Social Chair to purchase Wristbands for open days and decided if we need/can spend money on more tech for the disco.

Noticeboards: SC

All notice boards in the JCR need updating.

AP-Social Chair to organise some photos of new social events to be put up

AP-Welfare Officers to update the Welfare Board

AP- Postgrad Rep to provide material for a section on academic for a and other PG activities

AP-DSU Rep to get materials to advertise the Student Union and their role

AP-Sports and Socs Chair to get photos and information so they can advertise their societies and using the ratification forms filled in at the beginning of the year.

AP-President to display Commitment and Charter and Update the Accommodation Pictures

Postgraduate Rep Position and Postgraduate Fresher’s Week: MT, RR, HL-E

Postgrad Rep expressed a need for a specific PG Induction

AP-To be discussed at PG Comm and fed back to President Elect and Social Chair Elect. Consider the possibility of creating a PG induction week rep and present to JCR Meeting.

GLK Music Fund

All progressing smoothly. Question raised as to whether we should name the Music Room for the Alumni Donor
Ap-President to put this to a JCR Meeting
Sporting Commitment and Charter
Questions raised as to what the purpose is and how to encourage people to sign it. Purpose explained as to encourage our members to consider their behaviour and how it may impact on others.
AP-President to organise and liaise with the Sports and Socs Chair to organise an Equality and Diversity Training session for all societies.