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Democracy Zone (30th May 2014)

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Name of Committee Democracy Zone
Date and time 30th May 2014, 15:00
Place The Boardroom
Present Members
(voting)
Union President David Gilani
Vice President Democracy and Creative Industries David Martin
Vice President Sports Evan Whyte
Clubs and Societies Officer Jamie Hemingway
Union Councillor Jamie Barker
Union Councillor Mayan Al-Shakarchy
In Attendance
(non-voting officers and staff)
Union Council Chair Katy O'Brien
Head of Membership and Community Engagement Nickola Moore
Democracy Assistant Katie Ng
Democracy Coordinator Guy Drury
Absent with Apologies Chief Executive Jaki Booth
Non-members Emily Shepherd
Ben Morton
Gabriela Discenza
Megan Downing

Actions and Decisions

TypeDescriptionWho
Action Ongoing: Correct members names in the membership list Guy Drury
Action Ongoing: Speak to Paul Davie about getting UC and Student Trustee results data online David Martin
Action Complete the annual report on Student Groups for 2013-2014 and send out to the committee Katie Ng
Action In the rules, include the procedure followed in the event of a tie during elections Guy Drury
Action Sabbatical Term limits: The Democracy Zone Committee will have a research brief ready to present to the first Democracy Zone meeting after the first Union Council of the new academic year Megan Downing, Guy Drury
Action Policy proposal '1314P28 Improved Leadership and Representation' will be taken to the next Union Council David Martin
Action Discuss gender quotas in an idea session at the first Union Council of the new academic year Megan Downing, Guy Drury
Decision Approved Changes to Rule 4 (Zones)
Action correct order to JCR list in section 3 Katie Ng
Decision The JCR By law was approved by the committee
Action Include RON in future Academic President elections Megan Downing, Guy Drury
1. Apologies and attendance

David Martin welcomed everyone to the final Democracy Zone Committee meeting of the year. No apologies were received form the committee as they were all in attendance.

The following Union members were also in attendance:

  • Emily Shepherd - Student
  • Ben Morton - Union Council Chair-elect
  • Gabriela Di Scenza - Student
  • Megan Downing - VP DCI-elect
  • Jade Head - Student
  • Marcus Burton - Student
  • Giles Howard - Student
  • Josh Cox - Student

* Correction to Agenda: Jaki Booth is no longer the Chief Executive of SUSU having left at the end of May 2014. Nickola Moore is the current Chief Executive (interim). 

2. Minutes from the previous meeting (23rd April)

The minutes from the Democracy Zone Committee held on Wednesday 23rd April 2014 were approved by the committee.

  • Members names were still showing incorrectly on the website; this will be looked into again.
  • David Martin informed the group that he had a Policy information booklet and asked that if anyone requested it, they should email him.
  • David Martin has spoken to Paul Davie about getting the Union Councillor and Student Trustee results data online. Currently, they are still not online, he will check back with Paul.

The rest of the actions had been completed.  

Action Ongoing: Correct members names in the membership list (Guy Drury)
Action Ongoing: Speak to Paul Davie about getting UC and Student Trustee results data online (David Martin)
Student Groups
3. Update on affiliations and funding

David Martin presented this paper to the group. At the last affiliation meeting held on Friday 9th May, 15 Student Groups were approved and became affiliated with SUSU (full minutes for this meeting can be found here).  

Annual Report

At the start of this academic year, there were 270 Student Groups; there are now 310 Student Groups in SUSU. Staff are currently working on a full report that will be released soon; the Student Groups Committee are still in the process of ratifying final zone and support package changes.

David Gilani asked how SUSU compares against other Unions across the UK in terms of number of Student Groups. According to Marcus Burton's policy proposal (1314P16), 310 groups is a considerable amount, and an improvement since the start of the year.

Action Complete the annual report on Student Groups for 2013-2014 and send out to the committee (Katie Ng)
Decision-making processes
4. Business from AGM

Sabbatical Term Limits (1314P19), proposed by Gabriela Discenza.

This policy proposal was first brought to the AGM, held on 14th May. Members passed a procedural motion to refer this policy proposal to the Union President and the Democracy Zone Committee. The committee must now decide how they would like this proposal to go forward. David Martin began the discussion by recommending more research be carried out on this topic before a proposal is taken to Union Council. Gabriela explained that, as the proposer of this paper, she would like to see it be taken to Union Council to be voted on or have a referendum called.

Some members of the group were generally in favour of more research being carried out. It was also suggested that this idea be taken to an ideas discussion at Union Council. However, the next Union Council on 9th June would not be having any informal discussion session and it was felt that Council did not reach a wide enough audience, hence why it had been taken to the AGM. 

Nickola suggested that relevant staff and students could work together to create a comprehensive research brief which would include scheduled progress updates throughout the year. Josh and Gabriela asked who would be carrying out this research. Nickola explained that there are many research companies to choose from, if it was decided to do this externally. The actual research brief would be created by students and staff.

The committee approved the following actions:

  1. The Democracy Zone Committee will bring a complete research brief to the first Zone Committee after the first Union Council of the new academic year (provisionally week 5 for the Zone meeting).

Guy added a POI: Any prohibition on re-runners will have to be taken to the University for them to approve changes to the Articles of Association, which will be a slow process, and therefore it's unlikely any changes would come into effect for the 2015 Spring Elections.

Improved Leadership and Representation Policy (1314P28), proposed by Emily Shepherd.

This policy proposal was first brought to the AGM, held on 14th May. Members passed a procedural motion to refer this policy proposal to Union Council with a view to hold a referendum. As the AGM has asked that it be taken to Union Council for a decision, Union Council may decide to call a referendum on this issue.

The committee decided to take the following actions:

  1. Take this policy to be voted at Union Council (mandated by AGM).
  2. Have an ideas discussion during the informal session of the first Union Council held in the new academic year.

 

Action Sabbatical Term limits: The Democracy Zone Committee will have a research brief ready to present to the first Democracy Zone meeting after the first Union Council of the new academic year (Megan Downing, Guy Drury)
Action Policy proposal '1314P28 Improved Leadership and Representation' will be taken to the next Union Council (David Martin)
Action Discuss gender quotas in an idea session at the first Union Council of the new academic year (Megan Downing, Guy Drury)
Constitution
5. Changes to Rule 4 (Zones)

David Martin explained that the Zone definitions outlined in Rule 4 have recently been reviewed and this paper details the changes that are recommended. If the committee are happy to approve them, they will be taken to Union Council for approval.

  • Emily asked why the Zone by-laws repeat Rule 4. Guy explained that this may change in the future, but at present, it is easier to make small changes to by laws than it is to change rules. Emily also asked why Nightline had been taken off the list of responsibilities for Student Life. The reason behind this was to avoid calling out certain Student Groups over others, and also bring Nightline under Peer Support, which is on the list.  

The committee approved the changes to Rule 4.

Decision Approved Changes to Rule 4 (Zones)
6. JCRs Committee By law

David Martin explained that with the creation of two new Student accommodations, Gateway and Mayflower, two new JCRs have been added to the JCR By law.

  • Emily asked why there is a reference to the Formal Meeting Elections By-law which has not been created yet; it was explained that this by-law is currently being prepared.
  • David Gilani asked that JCR list be corrected (switch Glen Eyre and Gateway).

With the corrected JCR list, the Committee approved this by law.

Action correct order to JCR list in section 3 (Katie Ng)
Decision The JCR By law was approved by the committee
Elections
7. Summer Elections 2014

David Martin provided the group with an update on how the Summer Elections went last month. All Student Leader positions are now filled except Outreach Officer, Engineering and Environment Faculty Officer and the Postgraduate (Taught) Officer. He explained that there has always been an issue surrounding the Outreach Officer position and therefore it may be reviewed in the upcoming Student Leader Review. The candidate for the Engineering and Envrironment Faculty Officer was not elligible for this position, and therefore not elected, and the Postgraduate (Taught) Officer is elected in October. There were approximately 1300 unique votes.

  • Katy asked that in future, can the rules state that in the event of a tie, a coin is tossed to decide the winner. This would be included in future rules. 
  • Giles asked that RON always be included in the Academic Presidents Elections. This raised the question as to whether RON be a candidate in all Voluntary Officer elections. Guy explained that this will be looked into during a review of Rule 7 which will be happening soon.
Action In the rules, include the procedure followed in the event of a tie during elections (Guy Drury)
Action Include RON in future Academic President elections (Megan Downing, Guy Drury)
AOB
8. Date of the next meeting

There was no AOB and so David Martin asked if anyone had any questions about the Sabbatical By-election currently taking place. Megan Downing asked if incoming Sabbatical Officers were allowed to campaign for candidates in this elections. David Martin explained that this was up to the incoming Sabbatical but also advised that this may not be a wise decision to make. There are no rules stating that they cannot help in campaigning.

There were no other questions and the meeting closed at 4pm. David Martin thanked everyone for attending the final meeting. The next meeting will be in the new academic year. The new committee will be emailed closer to the time.

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