Union Council (8th December 2015)


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Name of Committee Union Council
Date and time 8th December 2015, 18:00
Place Senate, Building 37
Present Members
Physical Sciences & Engineering Faculty Officer Giles Howard
Vice President Engagement Hannah Talbot
Chair of Council Jade Head
Vice President Student Communities Emily Harrison
Vice President Democracy and Creative Industries Kerry Sclater
Wellbeing Officer Mark Davidge
Vice President Education Shruti Verma
Union President Ben Franklin
Vice President Sports Jamie Wilson
National Oceanography Centre (Site) Officer David Allwright
Postgraduate (Research) Students Officer Mike Allwright
Nickola Moore
Union Councillor Adam Turner
Medical Society President Iona Maxwell
Vice President Welfare Sam Bailey
Union Councillor Philippa Pearce
Union Councillor Rebecca Lake
Union Councillor Kieran Reals
Intramural Officer Christie Matthews
Ethics and Environment Officer Amy Paraskeva
Health Sciences Faculty Officer Daniel Browning
Winchester Campus President Ryan Notman-Watt
Clubs and Societies Officer Catriona Philip
Humanities Faculty Officer Frazer Delves
Union Councillor Zehong Au
Scott Mccarthy
Union Councillor Harriet Averill
Union Councillor Arun Aggarwal
Union Councillor William Garside
Natural and Environmental Sciences Faculty Officer Yousra Hikal
Union Councillor Kokulan Mahendiran
Christopher Small
Postgraduate (Taught) Students Officer Ruchika Menon
Ed Baird
Absent with Apologies Union Councillor Naresh Krishna Gopikrishnan
International Students' Officer Nancy Bui
Union Councillor Benjamin Dowling
Union Councillor Alison Irwin
Union Councillor Alexander Howard
Equality & Diversity Officer Caitlin Doyle
Halls Officer Flora Noble
Absent without Apologies Student Enterprise Officer Jamie Furlong
Engineering & the Environment Faculty Officer Vinnie Sivadev
Marc Goh
Union Councillor Kelechi Nze
6pm Policy Ideas
1. Ideas Discussion session
7pm Formal Business
2. Welcome and apologies

Jade Head (Chair of Council) welcomed everyone to the meeting.

Also in attendance were: Darren Richardson, Sebastian Odell, Alex Hovden, Lauren Baugh, Cameron Meldrum, Anthony Kenny, Toby Leveson and James Peploe.

3. Minutes of the last meeting

Darren Richardson raised the issue of non-voting members who were present being recorded on the minutes. The Chair explained that this was a technical issue that had now been rectified for next time.

Kokulan Mahendiran asked about whether there had been any progress in providing voting records. The Chair said that they would be looking to trial it in future meetings.

  • The minutes were approved on an electronic vote (Yes: 96%, No:  0%, Abstentions: 4%).
4. Matters arising from the previous meeting

There were no matters arising.

Membership and Financial
5. Membership matters

The Chair explained that at the next meeting there will be seven Union Councillor positions available running from February 2016 to February 2017.

Spring Elections Working Group

Kerry Sclater referred to the notes on the agenda, explaining that the Spring Elections Working Group assists in the running and oversight of the main Spring Elections. It is made up of the Returning Officer (external), Deputy Returning Officer (Vice-President Democracy and Creative Industries) and another member of Democracy Zone Committee (to be decided). In addition, there are three places for Union Councillors, which are filled by inviting interest, and if there are more people interested than places available, the places are drawn at random. Expressions of interest will be open in the New Year, and it is proposed to change it so the three places can be filled by any member of Union Council, as opposed to just Union Councillors. This change will be proposed at the next meeting of Union Council in February.

6. Financial matters

There were no financial matters.

7. Feedback & decisions from today's ideas session

Workspace and facilities in the University and the impact it's had on you: There was no feedback due to everyone being present when the idea was discussed. Council referred this idea to go to Shruti Verma (Vice-President Education).

Student Groups resource allocation: Again, there was no feedback due to everyone being present when the idea was discussed. Council referred this idea to Student Groups Committee.

Bottled water: Shruti Verma reported back that the discussion had focused on the negative effect that bottles have on the environment and whether or not bottled water should be banned on campus or whether there could be a campaign for more water fountains. Council referred this idea to Sustainability Zone Committee.

Further consultation on ‘Vision 2020’: Jamie Wilson reported back that the discussion had focused on whether there had been sufficient consultation on the Vision 2020 document. On an electronic vote, Council approved this idea to be discussed in the same meeting (Do Nothing: 22%, Consider in this meeting: 44%, Refer to Trustee Board: 33%).

Ethically-divisive adverts: Jamie reported back that there was a discussion about whether there should be guidelines for the approval of adverts. Council decided to do nothing with the idea.

Health Sciences Funding Review: Hannah Talbot reported back that they had discussed the changes to the NHS bursaries and the policy that had been submitted to this meeting. Council approved the idea to be considered in the same meeting.

8. Action from previous ideas session

Societies for the future: Trini Philip reported that she had spoken to staff in the technology department about creating a space on Groups Hub for societies to post their AGM date as well as a tick box to mark as complete when their AGM has occurred.

Menu changes: Ben Franklin reported that the issue had been discussed at Trustee Board and had agreed that future changes will be publicised on social media when they happen.

Streaming SUSUtv live in the Union Building: Kerry Sclater reported that they had tried to stream the Halloween show live but encountered technical issues, which they are now trying to resolve.

MSC certified food supplies: Sam Bailey reported that this issue had been discussed at Sustainability Zone Committee and were planning on proposing guidelines for the sustainable procurement of food either as a policy or as a modification of the Ethics and Environment Policy.

Invest Positive UoS: the Chair explained that this issue had come back to this meeting as a policy.

Postgraduate research students and eligibility to be Faculty Officers: Kerry reported the issue had been passed at Democracy Zone Committee and has now come back to this meeting for approval.

Private dance sessions in Union Spaces: Kerry reported that this had been progressed via the Resource Allocation Procedure.

Volunteers during Freshers’ Week: Anjit Aulakh was not present to give an update.

Policy on quorum and decision making: the Chair explained that this issue had been referred to Democracy Zone Committee

Exploring ways SUSU can promote existing language opportunities to students: Anjit Aulakh was not present to give an update.

Supporting a Living Wage for those under the age of 25: Ben reported that this issue will be discussed at the next Trustee Subcommittee where they will discuss the issue internally before deciding how to proceed.

9. Policy proposals

a. Further consultation on Vision 2020

Speaking for, Frazer Delves stated that there had not been sufficient consultation for such an important document and the policy would request that Trustee Board carry out further consultation. The timing of the consultation attempts were not at good times for students and the consultation at the Student Leader conference was before they were in post and so there was no opportunity to consult with the people that they represent.

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

Speaking for, Kieran said that during the ideas session, lots of good points had been made and should be discussed further, rather than being constrained by a basket debate.

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

Kieran said that the as a document, it comes across as very corporate and that students should have a say in how their Union would look like in 2020.

Kerry said that Sabbatical Officers are elected by students to make decisions and asked what the policy would actually achieve. She also said that Trustee Board had discussed coming up with some student related goals about what would actually happen, which would get lots of student consultation, but creating strategy is under the remit of Trustee Board.

Kokulan Mahendiran said that the student body in general doesn’t get much of a say and it would look bad to vote down a policy that seeks further consultation.

Ben said that voting for this Policy Proposal would be undoing a decision made by Trustee Board, which would cause reputational damage. Ben also questioned what constitutes adequate consultation and that in his opinion redoing Vision 2020 would not be worth the money and time for something that Trustee Board has approved.

Arun Aggarwal asked whether there could be a similar document for every year. Ben said that there is a pop out sheet for the Sabb team for each year to decide what the year’s visions should be, which would have student consultation. Frazer said that this would help, but ultimately Vision 2020 is a 5 year document.

Frazer also referred to a Union Council in 2009, where the Union’s mission and values came to Council, after widespread consultation.

David Allwright said that he didn’t like the Vision 2020 document and found it clunky but noted that it was designed to be a practical document. Overall, David said that the policy would be regressive and the focus should be on better consultation in the future.

Ryan Notman-Watt said that redoing the consultation would cost a lot of time and it would not be a good idea to go backwards, but should look forwards. Ryan also said that something as big as Vision 2020 should be consulted with other campuses.

Darren Richardson compared the Vision 2020 document to the University’s equivalent document and was worried that Vision 2020 was lacking in some clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Adam Turner said that if further consultation sessions were held, it would be unlikely to expect students to read through Vision 2020 and give their feedback.

Amy Paraskeva said that she was struggling to find any benefit in further consultation and expressed concern about the sustainability of reprinting a new document.

  • Ben moved Procedural Motion D (to move to a vote).

Speaking for, Ben said that the same points were being raised and going round and round.

Speaking against, Mike Allwright said that it was too soon to move to a vote.

  • On an electronic vote, the Procedural Motion was passed (Yes: 73%, No: 27%, Abstentions: 0%).

Speaking against the proposal, Ben said that whilst Vision 2020 is ambitious, it doesn’t set any actual policies and sets goals that no one would disagree with. The proposed policy would open up the document to be redone, which would be a waste of time and money.

Summing up, Frazer thanked everyone for the discussion and urged everyone to vote for further consultation. The policy simply requests further consultation takes place, so if students don’t think it needs to change, then nothing would need to happen.

  • On an electronic vote the Policy Proposal was not passed (Yes: 36%, No: 64%, Abstentions: 0%).


b. Invest positive UoS

Speaking for, Mike Allwright said that this policy seeks to bring this Union in line with many other Unions in lobbying the University to invest its endowment fund positively by abstaining from investing in the most damaging industries. The issue came to the last Union Council and has been discussed at Sustainability Zone Committee before coming back to Union Council.

  • Amendment B

Speaking for the amendment, Will Garside spoke about removing the section about the arms trade because there had not been adequate consultation from engineering students.

Speaking against the amendment, Sebastian Odell said that many engineering students feel that the proposed policy would damage the employment prospects of engineering students, but if someone chooses to work for the arms trade that’s fine but the student body shouldn’t be dissuaded from doing what is right.

Speaking for the amendment, Darren Richardson said that the defence sector has a legitimate role in society and that this policy implies that all organisations that work in the defence industry are inherently immoral.

Speaking against the amendment, Ryan Notman-Watt said that University removing their investment from those companies wouldn’t affect the industry much.

Speaking for the amendment, Giles Howard said that the policy proposal paints everyone who wants to work in the arms industry as unethical because of the loose wording of the policy.

Speaking against, James Peploe said that the investment would not affect students too greatly.

Summing up, Will said that the main issue is that there has not been enough consultation with students who will be affected most.

  • On an electronic vote, the amendment was passed (Yes: 72%, No: 16%, Abstentions: 12%).

Speaking against the Policy Proposal, Darren said that the policy was well intentioned but ultimately would harm the students and graduates by damaging the University’s relationship with employers. Darren suggested that investments should be kept the same and by being active shareholders, attempt to change the companies from the inside.

Speaking for the Policy Proposal, Ryan Notman-Watt said that the University is an educational body and not there to change companies from the inside. Investing in different organisations might open up other opportunities for students.

Speaking against, Kokulan Mahendiran said that the issue is divisive, and can affect different groups of students and it wouldn’t be fair for Union Council to make this decision and that a referendum would be more suitable.

  • David Allwright moved Procedural Motion E (to move to an informal discussion)

Speaking for, David said that this issue was so important, and a bigger discussion is needed.

Speaking against, Daniel Browning said that the same issues still exist with the policy.

  • On an electronic vote, the Procedural Motion was not passed (Yes: 16%, No: 84%, Abstentions: 0%).
  • Daniel moved Procedural Motion C (to refer the question to another body or person).

Speaking for, Daniel said that the proposal should be referred to Sustainability Zone Committee because the same issues existed from the last time the proposal came to Union Council and the wording needed to be tighter.

Speaking against the Motion, Shruti said that it has been to Sustainability Zone once and didn’t need to go again.

  • On an electronic vote, the Procedural Motion was not passed (Yes: 8%, No: 92%, Abstentions: 0%).
  • Jamie Wilson moved Procedural Motion D (to move to the vote).

Speaking for, Jamie said that the issue has been discussed a lot and that people should have made up their minds by now.

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

Summing up, Mike encouraged members to vote for the Proposal.

  • On an electronic vote, the amended Policy Proposal was passed (Yes: 64%, No: 28%, Abstentions: 8%).


c. Health Sciences Funding Review

Speaking for, Daniel Browning said that at the moment there are many proposed changes by the Government will affect the current and future student nurses, such as cutting the maintenance grant, retrospective changes to student loads and providing no guarantee that travel and accommodation will be reimbursed. The proposal seeks to set up a working group to decide what the students want and their position on the issues.

  • Amendment A

Speaking for, Daniel said guidelines should be in policy, due to recent events with a trade union.

  • On a clear show of voting cards, the amendment was passed.
  • Amendment C

Speaking for, Kerry said that the proposal could take a big stance for the Union, so this amendment give oversight from Education Zone and Union Council.

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

Speaking against the proposal, David Allwright said that the policy needs to be clear about whether we are campaigning for nurses specifically or more generally about the maintenance grants being scrapped.

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

Speaking for, Daniel said that an informal discussion would give people the opportunity to ask any questions and there were some points that he wanted to address 

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

Responding to David’s point, Daniel said that all the health science degrees were covered by the proposal. The changes to the bursary are very specific to health science degrees and it would be wrong to link it into the maintenance grant issue.

David said that there were other degrees that would be affected by the maintenance grant issue.

Daniel said that the issue is worse for Health Sciences, because they have to be on placement.

Darren Richardson said that there are things in the proposal that are concerning, particularly resolves 1.

Amendment (Daniel Browning)

In Union Resolves 1, after “support any actions”, insert “agreed by the working group”.

Dan spoke in favour of the amendment.

  • On a clear show of voting cards, this amendment was passed.
  • Kokulan Mahendiran attempted to move Procedural Motion D (to move to the vote).

The Chair moved to formal discussion.

  • Jamie Wilson moved Procedural Motion C (to refer the question to another body or person)

Speaking for, Jamie said he believed that the Proposal needed further clarification before being passed.

David Allwright asked why the Chair had not considered the Procedural Motion by Kokulan to move to the vote.

The Chair clarified that the Procedural Motion should have been accepted.

  • Kokulan Mahendiran moved Procedural Motion D (to move to the vote).

Speaking for, Kokulan said that it was sensible to vote on the Proposal now.

  • Shruti Verma moved Procedural Motion G (to challenge the Chair’s ruling)

The President took the Chair. He clarified that the return to Procedural Motion D was not a ruling that could be challenged.

Jade Head resumed the Chair, and debate continued.

Resuming his speech for the Procedural Motion, Kokulan said it seemed that people were on the same page.

Speaking against, Jamie Wilson said that there is a lot to this proposal but there needs to be extra clarification and he was planning to move Procedural Motion C.

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

Summing up, Daniel said that Students’ Unions are here to campaign for students and need to support their students.

  • On an electronic vote, the Policy Proposal was passed (Yes: 79%, No, 17%, Abstentions: 4%).


d. Enhancing SUSU Volunteering Policy

Speaking for, Kerry went through the different aspects of the policy.

There were no further speeches.

  • On a clear show of voting cards, the Policy Proposal was passed.


e. JCRs Officer to Halls Officer

Speaking for, Kerry that these were simple name changes to reflect the wider change to Halls Committees.

There were no further speeches.

  • On a clear show of voting cards, the Rule Amendment was passed.


f. PGR Students not to be Faculty Officers

Speaking for, Shruti said that this came to the previous Union Council and went back to Democracy Zone and is now back as a Rule amendment.

There were no further speeches.

  • On a clear show of voting cards, the Rule Amendment was passed.
Accountability and Praise
10. Union Council Stars

a. Union Council Star

Poppy Bowers was highly commended for her work with the refugee crisis.

Morgan Roberts was awarded the Union Council Star for his work on Jailbreak 2015.

b. Student Groups Star

FemSoc were highly commended for their Stand Up, Shout Out event.

The Erasmus Society were awarded the Union Council Student Groups Star for holding a successful cultural event.

11. Officer Reports and questions

b. Officer Reports

Hannah ran through her main goals and focused on Sabbs on Snapchat, and training for External Engagement Zone as two successful projects.

Jamie reported that he is still in the process of discussing gym membership and the opening hours of the gym with the University as well as making progress on recording lectures. Looking for new sponsorship is still in progress and he currently meeting with Portsmouth about Varsity.

Kerry reported that the Referendum had seen a record breaking turnout. She also spoke about the Creative Industries careers season, including 11 events with a bigger presence at WSA.

Sam reported that he had met with the library about ideas from the referendum to take to them. Stress less fest has been renamed You Are More Than, which will be more inclusive and allow them to take it to more students, rather than just the undergrads who have exams.

Shruti reported that the PGR elections had gone really well, with a full committee before Christmas. The CapsOff campaign had also been really successful and she was focusing on an ongoing project to raise student experience issues with the University.

Ben spoke about the progress of the ongoing brand review. He also reported that a feasibility study of the building was taking place in order to better understand the potential of the building.

c. Questions

Q1. Referendum costs: Kerry referred to the full answer on You Make Change and explained that a full breakdown had been published and that the overall amount spent on the referendum amounts to a very small value per student.

Anthony Carter also asked about the feasibility of students being able to spoil their ballot in a referendum. Kerry said that it would be something to take on board in the Democracy Review.

Q2. Democracy Review: Kerry went through the feedback form that is sent out at each trial in order to gauge what the participants thought of the process.

Q3. Vision 2020: Ben referred to his full answer on You Make Change and answered that the document has been approved by Trustee Board and will not go to Union Council for approval.

Q4. Recorded lectures: Shruti answered that all the steps will hopefully be put in place for the next VP Education.

Q5. Adam Turner asked whether funding meetings were open meeting and what provisions were taken to avoid conflicts of interest. Kerry responded by stating that every meeting at the Union is open unless there is a good reason for not being so, which is very rare. In terms of conflicts of interest, officers should know that they have to declare any conflict and there are structures in place if people aren’t happen about a potential conflict.

Q6. Darren Richardson asked about the advertised Education Researcher and why the pay was lower than a PGR student would get for demonstrating. Shruti said that the job was not necessarily a PGR level job.

Q7. Giles Howard asked how the Chair was enjoying chairing meetings of Council. The Chair said that she found them very fun, and that she loved chairing meetings and loved the members of Council very much.

12. Zone Reports and updates

a. Democracy Review

Kerry gave a presentation to Council about the various trials that have been held, with the strengths, weaknesses and feasibility of each trial.

Anthony Carter asked about whether it would be possible to see a list of questions on You Make Change as it is difficult for users to see past questions at the moment. Kerry said that it was currently on the list of improvements for You Make Change.

Alex Hovden asked about whether anonymous questions asked on You Make Change would still be anonymous when asked at Council. Kerry said that it was something they were looking into.

b. Brand Review

Ben spoke about the ongoing Brand Review, which would cost £20,000. This £20,000 would be buying in expertise that the Union does not currently have and the review would be really important for SUSU’s image.


13. Disciplinary and Appeals Committee reports

a. Politics Society

As the Chair also held the position of Chair of Disciplinary Committee, the President took the Chair.

Jamie Wilson asked what guidelines had been issued to people who are drawn to sit on the Disciplinary Committee. The Chair of Disciplinary Committee (Jade Head) informed Council that the Penalty Guidelines were in the process of being written.

Iona Maxwell also asked about guidelines for student groups. Trini Philip said that they had discussed them at Student Groups Committee and that they were currently in development.

Other Business
14. Any other business

Kerry Sclater urged everyone to consider running for a position in the Spring Elections.

15. Date and time of the next meeting

The next meeting will be on Monday February 1st at 18:00.

As there was no other business, the meeting was closed at 10:03pm.

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