Democracy Zone (25th February 2015)


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Name of Committee Democracy Zone
Date and time 25th February 2015, 15:00
Place Meeting Room 2
Present Members
Union President David Mendoza-Wolfson
Vice President Democracy and Creative Industries Megan Downing
Clubs and Societies Officer Chris McGeehan
In Attendance
(non-voting officers and staff)
Director of Engagement Nickola Moore
Democracy Assistant Katie Ng
Democracy Coordinator Guy Drury
Absent with Apologies Vice President Sports Katie Lightowler
Chief Executive Scott Mccarthy
Absent without Apologies Union Council Chair Ben Morton

Actions and Decisions

Decision DZC have approved the rule change to add RON as a candidate in Union Councillor elections (to be taken to Union Council)
Action Megan to meet with Chris Small and Ed Baird about Sabb/SL 1:1s Megan Downing
Decision Megan to meet up with SLs to discuss the format of SL Forum and how it would work Megan Downing
1. Apologies and attendance

Megan welcomed everyone to the meeting. Apologies were received from Katie Lightowler. Emily Shepherd was absent without apologies. 

The following Union members were also in attendance:

Edmund Baird, Shruti Verma, Jade Head and Frazer Delves.

2. Minutes from the last meeting

The committee reviewed the minutes from the last meeting held on 29th January. The committee moved to a vote; 2 voted for. The minutes were approved.

Student Groups
3. Student Groups update

Chris McGeehan provided the group with a brief update on the Student Groups Committee. In their last meeting, the Northern Ireland Society were re-affiliated as they had been accidently disafiliated in a previous meeting. Funding Round three has now closed and Zone Committees are currently arranging funding meetings to review and allocate funding to groups. 

The next meeting is on Wednesday 18th March and this will be an affiliation meeting.

4. Adding RON as an option in Union Councillor Elections

Frazer Delves presented this paper. The Union Councillor elections should include RON so that they can be brought in line with the Sabbatical, Student Leader and Student Trustee elections; this would give the voters more options on how they can cast their vote. The addition of RON in these elections would not impact negatively on how the elections are run from an administrative side. 

Section 6.2 of Rule 7 (Elections) would be amended to include "Union Councillors" in the list of positions.

The Committee moved to a vote; 2 voted for. The Rule change was approved. The change will now be taken to the next Union Council for final approval. 

Decision DZC have approved the rule change to add RON as a candidate in Union Councillor elections (to be taken to Union Council)
Any other business
5. Student Leader Review update

Sabb/Student Leader 1:1s

Edmund expressed an interest in introducing a policy or Rule change that stated that Sabbatical Officers and their Student Leader (SL) meet on a regular basis. Jade agreed that this would be good idea as she has heard from past SLs that there is a lack of support provided to them, which in some cases has lead to resignations. Shruti added that Committee Zone meetings are not enough contact and that SLs would like to feel more consulted on what is going on in their area. Chris Small explained that there will be a more in depth investigation into the amount of support we offer our Officers (both elected and not elected) which can inform any ideas going forward. 

Megan explained that she has pushed this idea to be included in the Sabbatical handover document. David flagged up some issues surrounding the practicialities of arranging and attending these meetings, for example how would Officers take into account holiday periods if the rules states that they should meet fortnightly. There is also the number of SLs in each Zone to consider.

The group agreed that any process that is put into action should be easily enforced but also flexible to suit the needs of Sabbs and SLs. Megan suggested that she should meet up with Ed and Chris Small to work on developing this idea further.

Student Leader Forum

Megan asked the groups opinions and thoughts on having a SL forum; she explained that the purpose of such meetings would be about collaboration and discussion rather then updates from each SL as it was thought that these would have poor attendance. The following ideas for the forum were suggested:

  • themes for meetings
  • the sessions could high levels of interaction and an element of passive learning
  • there should be some informal discussion so that SLs have the opportunity to speak to eachother about upcoming projects with the aim of facilitating collaboration.

Megan volunteered to meet up with interested SLs to discuss and create a draft format for an SL Forum. Shruti asked to be included in these meetings. 

Action Megan to meet with Chris Small and Ed Baird about Sabb/SL 1:1s (Megan Downing)
Decision Megan to meet up with SLs to discuss the format of SL Forum and how it would work (Megan Downing)
6. Date of the AGM

The date of the AGM is 13th May. The General Election is on 7th May and exams start on 18th May. Ideally, the advertising for the AGM should not clash with any other publicity, however due to the short amount of time between the General Elections and the AGM, this is inevitable. Megan asked the group if they had any ideas on this matter. The group decided that the current schedule is the best option. However, to avoid publicity clashes, promotion of the AGM could start earlier before the elections and ideas submission could be opened earlier as well.

7. Date of the next meeting

AOB: Recording how members of Union Council vote individually - David Mendoza-Wolfson.

David asked if it was possible to record the way individual members of Council vote as students should know how their elected representatives are voting. It is not known whether we have the capacity to do this and so the equipment used will be trialled at the next Union Council for testing purposes. The results will not be published. If it is successful, we will look into taking this on in the long term.

There was no other business and the meeting ended at 3.40pm. The next meeting is TBC. 

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