a. Invest Positive UoS (1516P1)
Proposed: Mike Allwright, Postgraduate (Research) Officer; Maddie Cava-Beale.
Speaking for, Mike Allwright stated that the policy intends to lobby the University to commit to not investing its endowment fund in industries considered to be damaging. An open letter had been published in the Wessex Scene, supported by societies, students and University staff, and he said that as tuition fees accounted for around 40% of the University’s endowment fund, Union members should have some say in how it could be spent.
Speaking against, Kokulan Mahendiran argued that the Proposal would generalise industries and gave the example of energy companies who themselves invest in renewable energy. He also stated that there were economic considerations that need clarification and that the policy could be damaging to alumni relations, and therefore argued that the views of the entire student body should be heard before deciding, as this decision affects a large number of students.
- Darren Richardson moved Procedural Motion B (to take the proposal in specific parts), namely to take Believes 5 separately.
Speaking for the Procedural Motion, Darren said that whilst he agreed with the Proposal, he felt that this particular part did not represent the view of the student population. Speaking against the Procedural Motion, Sebastian Odell argued that there is a distinction between the arms trade and the military.
- Mike moved Procedural Motion D (to move to an informal discussion) in order to discuss whether to take the Proposal in parts. On a clear show of voting cards, this was not passed.
- On a clear show of voting cards, the original Procedural Motion (to take the Proposal in parts) was not passed.
Debate resumed on the Policy Proposal.
- Daniel Browning moved Procedural Motion D (to move to an informal discussion).
Speaking for, Daniel said that there were multiple points that people would want to contribute. There were no speeches against.
- On a clear show of voting cards, the Procedural Motion was passed.
Sebastian continued, using BAE as an example of a company that because of the corruption investigations into them, should not be invested in by the University. Darren said that BAE was not specifically mentioned in the Proposal, and made the point that companies similar to BAE who were not involved in corruption allegations would be tarnished by association.
Amy Paraskeva said that there was a distinction between taking money away and investing positively, and that as most of the endowment fund is in cash at the moment, no money will be taken away from companies, but rather invested in other companies.
Mike said that he believed that it was questionable for the University, having a large international and diverse community, to invest in companies arming conflicts around the world.
- Sam Bailey moved Procedural Motion C (to refer the question to another body or person), namely to refer the policy to Sustainability Zone Committee.
Speaking for the Procedural Motion, Sam said that there was a lot of discussion on several of the points and that the Proposal was not ready to go to Union Council, and a more informed discussion could take place at the Zone.
Speaking against, Mike stated that due to climate change talks in Paris, and the fact that 99% of the money the University has available to invest is currently in cash, it would be a good time to pass the Proposal. Mike also said that the debate would still be the same even after having been through a further discussion.
- On a clear show of voting cards, the Procedural Motion was passed, and the question was referred to Sustainability Zone Committee.
b. Exploring ways that SUSU can promote existing language opportunities to students (1516P2)
Proposed: Frazer Delves, Humanities Faculty Officer; George Hope, Modern Languages Academic President.
This Proposal was not moved, as it had been referred to Anjit Aulakh (Vice-President Student Communities) earlier in the meeting.
c. Policy on quorum and decision making (1516P3)
Proposed: Giles Howard, Physical Sciences and Engineering Faculty Officer; Shruti Verma, Vice-President Education.
Speaking for, Giles stated that there were two faculties with students frequently on placements and those in elected positions negatively affect quoracy. He explained that the policy acknowledges the issue and does not have a specific solution, but mandates the Vice-President Democracy and Creative Industries to see how a solution might be implemented, for example through a rule change.
Speaking for the amendment, Daniel agreed that the policy was a good idea, but the policy should recognise a larger problem - that when the two Faculty Officers cannot attend, that’s over 20% of the student body that are not represented.
There were no further speeches.
- The amendment was passed on a clear show of voting cards.
There were no further speeches.
- The Proposal, as amended, was passed on a clear show of voting cards.
d. Amendment to the Complaints Procedure (Rule 8) (1516R2)
Proposed: Kerry Sclater (Chair), on behalf of Democracy Zone Committee
Kerry explained that the policy was a simple change to the Complaints Procedure following discussions with the University.
- The Rule amendment was passed on a clear show of voting cards.
e. Emergency Policy Proposal: Should we have a 24-hour library? (1516P4)
Proposed: Shruti Verma, Vice-President Education; Sam Bailey, Vice-President Welfare
Sam explained the context behind the University’s decision to have an extended 24-hour library and that he and Shruti did not feel that they could adequately represent all students on the issue and therefore argued that a referendum would be best suited to gauge the student opinion. Sam stated that the library affects every student, whether they use it or not and emphasised that the Sabbatical Officers are not against the 24-hour library, but merely want to ask the student body what they think. Furthermore, Sam stated that no matter what the outcome of the referendum is, he will work with the University to ensure that welfare provisions are properly considered.
- Shruti moved Procedural Motion A (to give the current speaker an extension)
Speaking for the Procedural Motion, Shruti explained that she wanted to give Sam another minute. There were no speeches against.
- The Procedural Motion was passed, on a clear show of voting cards.
Sam continued by explaining that the Sabbatical Officers had all agreed to remain impartial.
Speaking against the policy, Kokulan Mahendiran said that whilst he was not against the welfare concerns, he did not feel that a referendum was a very good use of SUSU’s resources. He added that a referendum would likely just provide an answer that is already known.
- Daniel Browning moved Procedural Motion E (to move to an informal discussion)
Speaking for the Procedural Motion, Daniel said that there were points that people wanted clarity on and an informal discussion would be best for this. There were no speeches against.
- The Procedural Motion was passed on a clear show of voting cards.
Darren Richardson said that in the past, ECS had Building 59 (Zepler) open 24 hours a day but the University mandated the department not to continue this due to welfare reasons and noted that it seems odd that welfare doesn’t appear to be an issue for the 24-hour library.
Shruti, giving more context as to why a referendum has been proposed, said that they did not want to presume that a 24-hour library was something that students would automatically want.
Ben Franklin said that if there was a no vote, there was the possibility of reputational damage to SUSU if the University go ahead with the 24-hour library anyway.
Kieran Reals asked about what would happen in the result of a yes or no vote. Shruti said that the Sabbatical team would inform the University of the result, along with the data, giving them the mandate about what students do or don’t want.
Kieran stated that there was already a 24-hour library during exam time and wanted clarification on what Shruti thinks is different with the ongoing 24-hour library. Shruti said that there don’t seem to be any concrete solutions in the University’s paper as to solving issues like food and cleaning.
Alison Irwin asked whether the University had properly thought through the idea. Sam said that he personally believes that the University have not fully thought through implementing the 24-hour library and that’s why the Sabbatical Officers have picked up on some issues that the University seems to have not considered.
David Allwright said that whilst it is frustrating that the University has put SUSU in a difficult position, the average student is unlikely to care enough about the issue and therefore a referendum is not necessary.
Kerry Sclater said that SUSU gets a lot of criticism from students about being out of touch and not listening to what students want. She stressed that we should seize this opportunity to ask students what they think and a referendum is a good opportunity to reach out to students.
Harriet Averill asked about welfare provisions in the past during the trial periods. Sam said that he wasn’t sure about past provisions, but it was important to recognise the gaps in the current proposal.
Daniel said even though he expected the outcome of the referendum to be yes, it would be wrong to assume this outcome.
Jamie Wilson said that issues have been raised before during the trial periods that have not been resolved and added that it is two years ago since the trial period started and student views could have changed dramatically.
Frazer Delves said that he believed that a referendum is the best way to ask students what they think and this policy is good because it still gives the Sabbatical Officers a mandate in the event of a yes vote.
Frazer also asked how campaign teams would work. Sam said that Democracy Zone Committee will set out how the conduct and rules of the referendum.
- Daniel moved Procedural Motion D (to move to the vote on the Proposal).
Speaking for, Daniel said that both sides of the argument have been presented and discussed and the same points are being raised now.
Speaking against, Frazer said that the informal discussion has been great to give people an opportunity to ask questions, especially given that no ideas session had taken place. Frazer added that there had been lots of misinformation in the student media, and that a referendum is a really important issue and needs more discussion to make sure that everyone understands the implications.
- On a clear show of voting cards, the Procedural Motion was passed.
Summing up, Shruti emphasised that she and Sam were not against the 24-hour library. She said that she believed that Union Council should not be making this important decision on behalf of 23,000 students and that a referendum gives students a voice. Shruti also reiterated that no matter what the outcome of the referendum, the Sabbatical Officers would continue to work with the University on the issue.
- On an electronic vote, the proposal was passed (Yes: 24, No: 7, Abstain: 2).