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Union Council (31st May 2016)

Minutes

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Name of Committee Union Council
Date and time 31st May 2016, 19:00
Place The Cafe
Present Members
(voting)
Vice President Engagement Hannah Talbot
Chair of Council Jade Head
Vice President Democracy and Creative Industries Kerry Sclater
Vice President Education Shruti Verma
Union President Ben Franklin
Vice President Sports Jamie Wilson
National Oceanography Centre (Site) Officer David Allwright
Vice President Welfare Sam Bailey
Union Councillor Rebecca Lake
Union Councillor Kieran Reals
Union Councillor Alison Irwin
Union Councillor Alexander Howard
Halls Officer Flora Noble
Winchester Campus President Ryan Notman-Watt
Clubs and Societies Officer Catriona Philip
Humanities Faculty Officer Frazer Delves
Union Councillor Zehong Au
Union Councillor Kokulan Mahendiran
In Attendance
(non-voting officers and staff)
Democracy Co-ordinator Guy Drury
Chief Executive Scott Mccarthy
Policy & Volunteer Manager Christopher Small
Democracy Assistant Ed Baird
Emergency Union Council
1. Welcome and apologies

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and clarified that this would not be a discussion about whether there should have been a referendum or when to have the referendum, but instead whether Democracy should be asked to reconsider their decision. The Chair also explained that the vote would be conducted by secret ballot so that everyone can exercise their democratic right freely and without any pressure.

 

2. Proposal

The Chair read out correspondences from Louise Bellamy (Housing Officer), Rachel Lobo, Anthony Kenny (Union Councillor) and Mike Allwright (Postgraduate (Research) Students Officer) in support of Democracy Zone Committee reconsidering their decision and a correspondence from Will Garside arguing against the Proposal.

Speaking for the Proposal, Frazer Delves (Humanities Faculty Officer) said that the matter was a serious one, emphasising that this was not an attack but necessary because the decision made was not representative. Furthermore, it would be damaging to deny final year students a vote on the issue and new students would not be able to make an informed decision on the two brands.

  • Alex Hovden (Student Trustee and Union President-Elect) proposed Procedural Motion A (to give the current speaker an extension).

Speaking for, Alex said that it was important to hear all the arguments.

  • On a clear show of voting cards, the Procedural Motion was passed.

Continuing speaking for, Frazer said that people are clearly engaged with the issue now so quoracy should be met and that if the Union can engage students in the EU Referendum then the Union can also engage students in a rebrand referendum.

  • Amendment A

Speaking for the Amendment, Darren Richardson said that it is wrong to assume what the Committee would have done.

  • On an electronic vote, the amendment was passed.
  • Amendment B

Speaking for the amendment, Darren said that as a statement of fact, Believes 3 should be in the notes section.

  • Procedural Motion B (to take the proposal in specific parts).

Speaking for, Trini Philip (Student Groups Officer) proposed removing Part 1 of the Amendment, saying that there was no official record of how everyone in the room would have voted.

Speaking against, Frazer said that the minutes are on the website and you can clearly see how members voted and what everyone said.

On a Point of Clarification, Trini said that the issue was how non-members would have voted and there is no record of that.

  • On a clear show of voting cards, the Procedural Motion was passed.

Speaking against the amendment, Kieran Reals (RAG President) said that Part 1 of the Amendment has been removed because it is not a statement of fact, but Part 2 should remain in because it is a belief.

  • On an electronic vote, the Amendment was passed.
  • Amendment C

Speaking for, Darren said that the amendment is to ensure that we take into account the interests of future members.

Speaking against, Kokulan Mahendiran said that this Proposal shows that students didn’t think Democracy Zone acted in the interests of its current members, so it would be odd to ask it to also consider future members.

Speaking for, Trini said the Amendment isn’t asking Democracy Zone to predict the views of future members, but rather to take them into account.

Speaking against, David Allwright (NOC (Site) Officer and VP Welfare-Elect) said that the current students are the ones who have got involved in the issue and are the current stakeholders and that taking into account future students would be strange.

On an electronic vote, the results were tied. The Chair used her casting vote to vote against the Amendment and so the Amendment was not passed.

  • Amendment D

Speaking for the Amendment, Frazer said that the purpose of the Amendment is to strengthen the argument to request Democracy Zone Committee reconsider its decision.

On an electronic vote, the Amendment was passed.

  • Procedural Motion E (to move to an informal discussion).

Speaking for, Alex said it was the best way to get everyone’s voices heard.

Speaking against, Jamie Wilson (Vice-President Sports Development) said that it would be better to have a debate first to allow the arguments to be set out clearly.

  • On an electronic vote, the Procedural Motion was not passed.
  • Procedural Motion D (to move to the vote).

Speaking for, Trini said that everyone had already come to this meeting with their opinions formed and therefore they should just vote on the issue now.

Speaking against, Kerry Sclater (Vice-President Democracy and Creative Industries) said that it would be fairer and more respectful to let people voice their opinions.

  • On an electronic vote, the Procedural Motion was tied. The Chair used her casting vote to vote against the Procedural Motion to ensure further debate and so the Procedural Motion was not passed.

Speaking against the Proposal, Kerry said that whilst there had been a really good level of debate and engagement, the members of Democracy Zone Committee have been elected to make decisions often by thousands of other students. The recent Democracy Zone Committee meeting was conducted in a fair and democratic way and although many people might not like the decision, it was the decision made by the Committee. Therefore if they were to reconsider the issue, it should be because the meeting was not properly conducted and not just because some students don’t like the decision.

Speaking for, Chris Wright said that it’s wrong to assume that four people can represent the entire student population. Furthermore, in the time after Democracy Zone Committee, people have had time to express their opinions and the members of Democracy Zone Committee might have changed their mind. Therefore it is worth referring back it back to Democracy Zone Committee to reconsider.

  • Procedural Motion E (to move to an informal discussion).

Speaking for, Kerry said that it would be the best way to discuss the issue.

  • On a clear show of voting cards, the Procedural Motion was passed.

Kerry started the discussion by saying that they understand that there are a few issues with the democratic system at the moment and that the changes from the Democratic Reform Proposal will hopefully improve the situation.

Ryan Notman-Watt (Winchester Campus President) said that the main issue for him is letting the issue continue into a new year. The Union would be denying final year students a vote and start the new academic year on a negative note.

Trini said that the issue isn’t whether we should have a referendum or even when the referendum should be. The question is about whether the process at Democracy Zone Committee was correct.

Kieran said that he agreed that the question is about whether the process correctly carried out. A decision was made and students now need to work with that decision and move on.

Kokulan said that everyone who signed the petition have shown that they care. The people who have engaged with the issue should have a right to vote.

Trini responded by saying that the Change.org petition shouldn’t be used in the discussed because the signatories cannot be verified at all. Kokulan responded by saying that Governments have changed their policy based on Change.org petitions

Shruti Verma (Vice-President Education) said that there isn’t much point in asking the same group of people to make a decision that they have already made.

Chris said that the whole point of the rebrand was to increase engagement with the Union, but now the perception is that the Union is saying that your opinions don’t matter.

Anthony Carter (Union Councillor) said that like Democracy Zone Committee, members of Union Council are also elected to make decisions, so Union Council should get a say in when the referendum should be.

Kerry said that it’s how the current system is and reiterated that the Democracy Reform Proposal should make positive changes.

David said that throughout his time as a student, he’s never seen students as engaged as this. The procedure at Democracy Zone was correctly followed, but the decision itself was wrong because students clearly want a referendum now.

Alex said that following the correct process isn’t the only important issue. The majority of people in the room at Democracy Zone were in favour of having the referendum as soon as possible.

Speaking for the Proposal, David questioned whether the views of two people are more valid that all the students that have been engaged by the issue. Having a fresh start for the new Full-Time Officer team is really important and continuing the issue into a new year would negatively affect the team and their work.

  • Procedural Motion A (to give the current speaker an extension).

Speaking for the Procedural Motion, Xavier Voigt-Hill said that he wanted to hear the end of David’s speech.

  • On a clear show of voting cards, the Procedural Motion was passed.

Continuing speaking for the Proposal, David said that holding the referendum in the new academic year would damage the reputation of the Union.

Speaking against, Flora Noble (Halls Officer and Vice-President Student Communities-Elect) said that holding the referendum in October might be inconvenient, but the decision made should be respected and they should now focus on creating a fair and engaging referendum.

Summing up, Alex urged people to vote for the Proposal to allow the correct decision to be made.

  • On an electronic vote the Proposal was passed (19 for, 12 against).

Key: P (Papers Provided), PF (Papers to Follow)