Present: EM (VP), SM (Communications Officer), KW (LGBT+ Rep), AK (President), EuM (SwD Rep), JF (JSU Rep), CG (JSU Rep)
Absent: DV (POC Rep) and SS (Assistant POC Rep)
Apologies: MW (JSU Rep)
Setting: The conference room after what looks like a really nice art soc biro session run by SM. Well done, SM.
• SM reports back on last term
• Power to make our university pay all workers the Living Wage
• Rent Strikes
• Creating a Platform for Discussion: Sports, music and Outreach
• Student worker rights
• Support the fight for marriage equality in Northern Ireland
• Support for direct action against rising accommodation fees
• Student Group governance
SM reports back on last term
SM: Nothing really happened last term. Everything went through and we all got out an hour early.
Power to make our university pay all workers the Living Wage
SM: This is by KM as is by the NUS candidates. This about the living wage. I don’t understand why we’d say no to this…?
EuM: What is the living wage?
AK: £9 an hour, more or less.
EuM: Who does that apply to? Student ambassadors don’t get that much, but I don’t think we’d complain that much because we don’t do it for the money.
JF: Does this apply to full time employment only, and does it apply to students as well.
EuM: PhD will not be on £9 an hour.
SM: For clarification, the DSU do implement this but we are trying to make the whole uni implement this.
EM: Will this increase the amount DSO Presidents need to be payed more? Could this negatively impact their budgets?
SM: It’s more a campaign for if someone was struggling.
All support this motion.
SM: This is by TC. Wants to build relationships with students so they can strike. It has worked in UCL and SOAS.
EuM: Can’t the evict you if you don’t pay? Is this for the university accommodation of living out campaign?
SM: It does make me slightly uncomfortable that the people who would have to strike would be the freshers.
EuM: How would we know it’s going to be effective. The uni could just fine everyone and people would get into debt and not be able to graduate. The uni doesn’t give a shit about us. (all agree). If they cared they would have done something. Palace Green isn’t going to work. People are still going to come here, and we are pricing out poorer students.
JF: The uni knows there are enough people wanting to come here for it to still be selective
EM: I disagree and think we need to still kick up a fuss, but I’m also not sure about these rent strikes, especially when there are freshers involved.
EuM: Lots of freshers haven’t been in Durham seeing the prices going up.
EM: Freshers don’t pay it.
CG: The maximum is 10k and that wouldn’t even leave that much left after a shared room here.
JF: Would enough freshers even participate in this for it to be effective? Most people I know wouldn’t want to do something like this and take the risk.
CG: If you said to us “don’t pay your rent” then we would still pay.
SM: In what it actually wants to do is to support the groups who do want to do this, so it’s not technically endorsing it.
KW: Wouldn’t we rather have people support them rather than leaving them to do it alone.
SM: My issue is that the early part of the motion implies that wider rent strikes should be happening.
KW: Are they going to be effective? It’s going to happen at Aiden’s anyway, but it probably won’t happen here.
AK: So, I guess it’s a case of covering Aiden’s backs. If that goes well then it could spread to other colleges next year.
SM: I could abstain.
EuM: What will it achieve?
AK: The hope is that it will make the uni late on their payment so they don’t see this as something they can brush under the carpet and that might get media attention.
SM: There is a second motion we could support that shows support for action but doesn’t encourage rent strikes. It’s all well and good us supporting it but it won’t affect anyone around this table.
EuM: None of us around this table would do it. How big much momentum does Ripped Off have?
AK: Not a lot, the last protest only had a few freshers from Cuth’s.
CG: I remember not going.
EM: Who would name a baby Jonti?
SM: Where are we at?
EM: I think you should abstain.
All agree to abstain.
Creating a Platform for Discussion: Sports, music and Outreach
SM: This is MB (NUS Delegate)’s one. They just want to support and lobby for increasing funding.
EuM: Seems like common sense.
AK: Does this even need to be a motion really?
SM: He’s actually also written it a little bit wrong. I feel like we can vote for this one, but it will drop to the bottom of the priority list because it just makes sense.
All agreed to support it.
Student worker rights
SM: SJA’s one. We want to make a best practice guide surrounding workers rights and encourage student groups to join the relevant trade unions.
EM: I think that’s fine.
All agreed to support it.
Support the fight for marriage equality in Northern Ireland
SM: We should support this.
KW: Ok, yes.
JF: How would we do this?
SM: Reads from the motion.
All agreed to support this.
Support for direct action against rising accommodation fees
SM: This is pretty self-explanatory. [SM reads the motion]. I think this one is a lot better than the other one.
CG: Lets throw tofu. Not eggs. Did you know I’m vegan?
Student Group governance
SM: IT’S BACK! Before, the motion was to put in a framework for societies and organisations so that if something went wrong, they would have support.
EuM: Is this for DSU and/or DU. Because they work quite differently.
AK: Fair point.
SM: I didn’t know this was a thing. But its about 250 societies and groups but I don’t know exactly which ones.
EuM: Active societies can basically just pick which one they want to be.
CG: What is this for? Like if people die at climbing soc or if they are streaming things illegally and get sued?
SM: (SU CEO’s) argument is that some society had a car and they don’t know who it’s owned by, also, Champaign ball have had problems. Assembly have written on the motion that one of the societies have sent a commercial to 800 students who didn’t consent to that information, the labour club occupation wasn’t passed with the opportunities team, and other groups have not hidden emails when sending group emails, another society has had a Home Office enquiry etc etc so that’s why they are doing this.
KW: Have they changed anything since we said no?
SM: Now they have done the consultation so that’s good. Personally, from the arguments I heard, it does need to get passed at some point and at the moment I don’t see that much wrong with it. The problems at the moment are little ones that can be solved easily.
EuM: There was a thing in the original motion that said presidents had to be chairs…?
SM: Yeah people can just change that and they’ve removed the bit about how many meetings people have to have.
All agreed to support this.
EuM: Now that there is a Pro Life society, if they wanted to be SU ratified, would they we be able to block that?
AK: H?’s post makes it clear they aren’t affiliated with the Student’s Union.
KW: It’s Christian related so they aren’t doing it for drama, its genuinely because they believe in it.