Student Groups Committee (18th May 2015)


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Name of Committee Student Groups Committee
Date and time 18th May 2015, 18:00
Place Meeting Room 2
Present Members
Student Life Zone Representative Charlotte Pollins
Clubs and Societies Officer Chris McGeehan
Education Zone Representative Michael Sims
Sustainability Zone Representative Natalie Rowell
Absent with Apologies Performing Arts Officer Anna Kent - Muller
Student Communities Zone Representative Jithin Mullappillil
Absent without Apologies Vice President Democracy and Creative Industries Megan Downing
Creative Industries Zone Representative Jamie Hanna
Athletic Union Officer David Lawrence
External Engagement Zone Representative Catriona Rawlins
1. Apologies and attendance

Chris welcomed everyone to the meeting. Jade Head and Frazer Delves were in attendance. 

2. Approval of minutes from the last meeting (6th May)

The minutes of the meeting held on 6th May have already been ratified through email. 

Requests to change constitutions/Zones/support packages
3. Changes to group constitutions

Southampton University Guitar Society: the committee accepted this constitution.

Rock and Metal Music Society: the committee accepted this constitution.

Cyber Security Society: the committee accepted this constitution.

Islamic Society: the committee accepted this constitution.

Theatre Group: the committee accepted this constitution.

4. Zone changes

There were no Zone change requests to review.

5. Support package changes

There were no Support package changes to review.

Main business
6. Resource Allocation Procedure (Student groups funding policy)

Guy provided an overview of the funding policy and explained that we will still be keeping the ‘How to’ guides that are on the website as they are more accessible.

Allocation of storage space and room bookings: Space will be reviewed every year. Currently, this does not happen. We could explain to the University that we need more space and try to include this in the Feasibility Study that the University are carrying out. Michael Sims asked how hard it is to ask the University for more space. Guy answered that there are restrictions from the City Council about building on green land and also, the University do not like building storage space as it is not seen as the most efficient use of space. Guy ran though general booking procedure e.g. booking rooms and space on campus. There needs to be more communication when discussing block bookings e.g. for UF on particular days. Michael Sim suggested speaking to iSolutions about the forms required when booking University space for external speakers and making them readily available on their site, similar to how SUSU process bookings.

Advertising: Sabbaticals and relevant staff are meeting this week to discuss a new procedure for student group advertising in the Union building.  

Allocation of funding: funds are there to assist student groups, not run them. It outlines the new funding rounds which were discussed in a previous meeting. Biggest cause of problems with funding is incorrect group bank details; student groups need to make sure they give the right account details. Looking into introducing a new finance system but we are currently awaiting recruitment of staff who will lead on this.

  • New Events pot as mandated by the policy
  • What we do and don’t fund is also included
  • Sports Development Zone and PA have separate guidelines; these are outlined in the paper
  • Reiterated that the Zones look over funding
  • Formalising the current procedure with PA committee and caps on budgets
  • Capital funding: clarifying this pot of funding
  • Clarifying procedure behind loans to student groups

 Transport: clarifies the procedure behind hiring out of minibuses.

During previous discussion about this policy, creating an appeals process was suggested, however it was thought that this may not be the best option. Instead, groups can arrange a meeting with the relevant Sabbatical Officer and discuss, in detail, why their application was rejected.

Chris suggested that there should be procedure included for student groups who get into debt. A final draft of this paper will hopefully be ready by the end of the week. 

7. Policies from AGM
  1. Student groups should get priority over external companies (1415P15)
  • There is cross over between this policy and sections of the Student Groups funding policy (e.g. booking facilities). Staff and Sabbatical Officers have met today to discuss some details of this policy.
  1. Supporting our societies through funding for events (1415P17)
  • This has been addressed by the Student Groups funding policy which introduces an ‘Events Pot’.
8. Constitution Allowances
  • Committee members in constitutions: keeping the descriptions as clear and concise is best, and positions should remain in the constitutions. Changes will need to be agreed at EGMs.
  • Name changes or Article Changes: is this committee the best decision making body for this? We can ask groups to give a reason for their name change, similar to Zone/support package requests.
  • Associate members of the Union being on the committee: we need to make sure that groups are aware that non-full members cannot hold any office positions and cannot vote. However, we want to do this in a way that does not alienate these members.
  • Restrictions in members who are part of the committee: student groups are open to all members but some groups have restrictions on who can be on the committee e.g. members need to be an active member of the student group for a year before they can run for committee positions. The committee agreed on the following principles:
    • Groups should not impose restrictions on who can nominate themselves for committee positions; any member of the group should be allowed to nominate themselves.
    • Only full members of the student group should be able to nominate themselves.
    • There shouldn't be a requirement for candidates to be seconded by existing committee members.
    • Moving student group committee elections online might be a possibility next year; students may feel that this is more secure. There could be deadlines for nominations and word-limited manifesto. Students can be invited to stand if, by the AGM, there are no candidates for a position.
    • the database would have a record of who is currently a member of the group.
  • Only long term members being able to vote at AGMs:
    • A time limit is needed by some groups as the system is sometimes abused within groups that do not have a membership fee. It should be the same for all groups who wish to impose any time limit on voting members. 

General points:

  • Encourage and promote groups fundraising
  • Introduce time limits on support packages e.g. groups must be on a certain package before they can be moved to another. As one aspect of reviewing support packages so they are more important, groups understand them better, and they can allow SUSU to judge how many groups it can support.

These points will be passed on to next year's Committee to take forward as part of a review of the model constitution.

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