Union Council (6th June 2016)


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Name of Committee Union Council
Date and time 6th June 2016, 11:00
Place The Cube
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
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
Union Councillor Anthony Carter
Vice President Welfare Sam Bailey
Union Councillor Rebecca Lake
Union Councillor Kieran Reals
Union Councillor Alexander Howard
Union Councillor Anthony Kenny
Halls Officer Flora Noble
Winchester Campus President Ryan Notman-Watt
Humanities Faculty Officer Frazer Delves
Union Councillor Zehong Au
Scott Mccarthy
Union Councillor Arun Aggarwal
Union Councillor William Garside
Union Councillor Kokulan Mahendiran
Christopher Small
Ed Baird
Absent with Apologies Creative Industries Zone Student Group Rep Samantha Standley
Ethics and Environment Officer Amy Paraskeva
Equality & Diversity Officer Caitlin Doyle
Social, Human and Mathematical Sciences Faculty Officer Bradley Tombleson
Absent without Apologies Union Councillor Naresh Krishna Gopikrishnan
Student Enterprise Officer Jamie Furlong
Wellbeing Officer Mark Davidge
International Students' Officer Nancy Bui
Union Councillor Benjamin Dowling
Union Councillor Louise Bellamy
Engineering & the Environment Faculty Officer Vinnie Sivadev
Union Councillor Philippa Pearce
Union Councillor Alison Irwin
Intramural Officer Christie Matthews
Health Sciences Faculty Officer Daniel Browning
Clubs and Societies Officer Catriona Philip
Union Councillor Harriet Averill
Union Councillor Kelechi Nze
Natural and Environmental Sciences Faculty Officer Yousra Hikal
Union Councillor Isabelle Morgan
Postgraduate (Taught) Students Officer Ruchika Menon
6pm - Policy Ideas
1. Ideas Discussion session
7pm Formal Business
2. Welcome and apologies

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. Also in attendance, Elliot Grater (Vice-President Education-Elect), Thomas Gravatt, Bart Jennings, Cameron Meldrum (Vice-President Democracy and Creative Industries-Elect) and Liibaan Mohamed (Student Trustee-Elect).

In her opening speech, the Chair noted that although passions were high, and that this was clearly an issue on which there was considerable feeling, that the free and fair flow of debate at Council was paramount, and reminded everyone to show respect to each other’s opinions.

3. Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the last meeting were approved.

4. Membership matters

The appointments of Honorary Life Members were approved on a clear show of voting cards.

5. Financial matters

 There were no financial matters.

6. Feedback & decisions from today's ideas session

Rise in Tuition Fees – Jamie Wilson (Vice-President Sports Development) reported that they had discussed the potential rise in tuition fees and the implications. Council referred this idea to the VP Education.

Changing the way in which amendments to the Rules are made – Sam Bailey (Vice-President Welfare) reported that they had discussed whether rule amendments should just go to Senate in the future and there was general agreement that extra scrutiny from zones is useful. Council referred this idea to Democracy Zone.

Establishing a student led full-time officer review in the Autumn Term 2016-17 – Sam reported that the Proposal sets out the timeline and how the review would happen. Council referred the idea to Democracy Zone.

Is it necessary to have an additional Sabbatical Officer on each Zone Committee? – Jamie reported that they had discussed the changes that the Democracy Reform would have on the makeup of Committees and that the additional often Full-Time Officer promotes collaboration between the Zones. Council decided to do nothing with the idea.

Expanding the membership of the Democracy Zone Committee and other Zone Committees with a low membership – Ben Franklin (Union President) reported that they had discussed the changes that the Democracy Reform Proposal would have and had concluded that it would be important to see the changes in effect first. Council decided to do nothing with the idea.

Formally establishing a working group/committee to focus on increasing participation in elections at the Students' Union – Kerry Sclater (Vice-President Democracy and Creative Industries) reported that they discussed the work that has already been done and the recommendations from that and also the wider issues of getting underrepresented groups involved. Council approved this idea to be considered in the same meeting.

Halting the implementation of the new brand until the outcome of the referendum and using both logos in the Union’s promotion and communication – There was no feedback due to everyone being present when the idea was discussed. Council decided to do nothing with the idea.

7. Action from previous ideas session


a. Gender balancing

Kerry reported that they had discussed the issue at Democracy Zone Committee and voted not to accept the amendment. Kerry noted that it would be important to review the new system in the future to make sure that the system works properly.

b. Events at WSA

Anjit Aulakh (Vice-President Student Communities) reported that they had made good progress this year and when the new Committee takes over, they will come up with an action plan for the year.

c. Re-run Full-Time Officer Elections that receive One Nomination

Kerry said that following the discussion at Council, there was general agreement that this would be more damaging to the elections process and therefore they would not be going forward with the idea.

d. Implementation of Policy 1415P12 (Longer opening hours for SUSU during the holidays)

Ben said that opening hours had been increased in some outlets but were unlikely to increase anymore due to financial constraints.

e. Supporting the Students not Suspects campaign

Sam said that after attending the Students not Suspects Conference, his general feeling was that joining the campaign would not be useful and that we can campaign on issues more effectively without being tied to a particular named campaign.

f. Democracy Reform Proposal

Kerry reported after being passed at the AGM, they are now looking at the implementation which includes lots of training and communication about the changes. 

g. Media Review

Kerry said that the main changes are the creation of a new committee with several new roles as well as a media umbrella brand, helping present a unified brand.


8. Policy Proposals

8a. Halting the implementation of the new brand (1516P36)

This Proposal was not moved, as Council had decided to do nothing with the idea following the Ideas Discussion session at the start of the meeting.


8b. 5 day cinema policy (1516P41)

Speaking for the Proposal, Alex Howard (Union Councillor) said that Union Films currently operate a 3-day schedule and that the new seats have cut the capacity of Union Films. 5 days would give Union Films more flexibility and ability to screen more films, which brings money back into the Union.

  • Procedural Motion E

Speaking for, Kerry said that she had some information on bookings that she’d like to discuss.

There were no speeches against.

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

Kerry explained that if the Proposal was passed, Union Films would be able set their times before block bookings and that although we have a problem with space but this change in reality wouldn’t make much of a difference.

Jamie agreed that Union Films needs more time but do to the limited space for groups, the Proposal might be too extreme and they should just try to give Union Films as much time as possible instead.

Bart Jennings made the point that lots of groups benefit from being able to use the Cube.

Alex said that Union Films can only use the Cube, whereas lots of other groups have different options and that the Proposal would realistically only result in an extra 4 hours being given to Union Films.

Shruti Verma (Vice-President Education) suggested that it might be better to have something that can be adapted each year.

Ben noted that they are looking at creating much more flexible space in the Master Plan project.

Kieran Reals (RAG President) said that allowing a 5-day cinema could impact upon people wanting to use the Cube for an event.

Kerry said that this is the first year that student groups have been allocated the Cube and there have been mixed results. Union Films bring so much positive engagement and the extra time wouldn’t make that much of a difference to the bookings schedule.

Jamie also questioned whether Mandates 3 would be too inflexible. Giles Howard (Physical Sciences and Engineering Faculty Officer) said that he was intending to take the Proposal in parts and remove Mandates 3.

Kokulan Mahendiran (Union Councillor) reiterated that there is a lot of demand from student groups for the space. Kerry said most groups were given the Cube as a space due to the lack of other rooms and said again that the Proposal wouldn’t impact heavily on the lack of space issue.

Jamie said that some groups have limitations and need to use such a large space and the Proposal could impact on them.

Moved out of informal discussion

  • Amendment (proposed in the meeting)

Speaking for, Jamie proposed changing mandates 1 from ‘facilitate’ to ‘should support in principle’ to allow flexibility.

Speaking against, Kerry said that this would make this a meaningless policy.

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

Speaking for, Giles proposed removing Mandates 3 because it doesn’t add anything to the policy.

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

Speaking for, Rebecca Lake (Union Councillor) said that some Student Groups Reps were concerned that students groups hadn’t been involved in this decision and there should be some consultation with the groups that would be affected.

  • On a clear show of voting cards the Amendment was not passed.

There were no speeches against the motion as amended.

Summing up, Alex said that they are only asking for one extra day and that this would increase engagement and revenue.

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


8c. Establishing a student led full-time officer review in the Autumn Term 2016-17 (1516P37)

This Proposal was not moved, as it had been referred to Democracy Zone following the Ideas Discussion session at the start of the meeting.


8d. Formally establishing a working group or committee to focus on increasing participation in elections at the Students' Union (1516P38)

Speaking for, Frazer Delves (Humanities Faculty Officer) said that the Proposal would help to get more student input into the work that goes on to increase engagement in elections.

  • Amendment C

Speaking for, Frazer said that this would faith groups to the list of underrepresented groups.

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

Speaking for, Frazer said that the Amendment would add the VP Welfare to the working group because of their experience and knowledge.

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

There were no speeches against.

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


8e. Fair Access to University (1516P39)

Speaking for on behalf of Education Zone Committee, Shruti explained that fair access is about ensuring that no one is disadvantaged when applying for University or during their time as a student.

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


8f. Actively supporting a Living Wage for under-25s not in full-time education (1516P40)

Speaking for, Frazer referenced the previous discussions on the issue and whilst the Union cannot implement the Living Wage for under-25s themselves, they could still support the campaign.

  • Amendment F

Speaking for, Frazer proposed amending Resolves 1 to ‘To lobby the University of Southampton to introduce a Living Wage for individuals under the age of 25 years and not in full-time education.’

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

Speaking for, Frazer proposed inserting ‘who are not in full-time education’ in Resolves 2 after the words ‘To call on HM Government to introduce a Living Wage for individuals under the age of 25 years’.

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

There were no speeches against.

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


8g. Charities and Community Officer changes (1516R6)

Speaking for, Kerry explained that this was a change to Charities and Community Officer to better reflect the makeup of the groups within External Engagement Zone.

There were no speeches against.

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


8h. Student groups finance & Money Management Rule amendments (1516R7)

Speaking for, Kerry explained that this was the result of the Bank of SUSU policy. The Amendment makes a provision to allow a by-law to be created in the future.

There were no speeches against.

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


8i. Honorary President - SUSU the Cat (1516R8)

Speaking for, Kerry said that this would simply change the rules to make SUSU the Cat Honorary President.

There were no speeches against.

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


8j. Rule 10 amendments (1516R9)

Speaking for, Kerry said that following the Enhancing Volunteering Project a few changes are proposed, including the addition of a new praise section.

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


8k. Emergency motion: Apology from the Union President for the response to the rebrand

Speaking for, David Allwright (NOC (site) Officer and Vice-President Welfare-elect) said that he wanted to put into words what many students had said to him. An apology would clear the air and respond to some of the specific failings of leadership on some of the issues and would allow everyone to move on.

Speaking against, Ryan Notman-Watt (Winchester Campus President) said that whether the process has been perfect or not it is unfair to ask Ben to do this. Demanding an apology is unnecessary and almost bullying to target one person for the whole rebrand.

  • Procedural Motion F (to withdraw the question)

Speaking for, Mike Allwright (Postgraduate (Research) Students Officer) made the point that apologies should be given and not asked for by a vote.

On a point of information, Ben said that he has apologised at every possible chance.

Speaking against, David said that he intended for this issue to be discussed in Any Other Business or as a question and that he never intended it to be voted on and the question should be withdrawn in its current form.

The Chair allowed another speech against as the previous speech was judged to not be against the Procedural Motion.

Speaking against, Bart said that he had heard Ben apologise numerous times and that they should actually vote on the issue to show that Ben shouldn’t have to apologise.

  • On a clear show of voting cards, the Procedural Motion was passed.
Accountability and Praise
9. Union Council Stars

a. Union Council Star

Emma Morris was awarded the Union Council Star for her contributions to the democratic process during the Rebrand Referendum discussions.

Natalie Rowell was also awarded the Union Council Star for her role as President of the Feminist Society.


b. Student Groups Star

The Feminist Society were highly commended for organising and running the Sleep Out event.

Invest Positive were awarded the Student Groups Star for their incredible work in convincing the University of Southampton in investing in ethical companies rather than damaging industries.


c. Motion of censure

Speaking for, Frazer said that Union Council passed a Proposal strongly urging Democracy Zone to reconsider their decision, which was ignored. The censure would have the effect of recognising the discontent on this decision without making personal attacks.

Speaking against, Shruti said that the rules clearly state that Democracy Zone makes the decision about the timing of referendums, not Union Council. Democracy Zone made a decision, so it’s not appropriate to censure them for that.

  • Procedural Motion F

Speaking for, Mike said that whichever way the Proposal goes, the Motion of Censure doesn’t achieve anything and withdrawing the question would avoid any further bitterness.

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

Jade stood down as Chair and Jamie Wilson took the Chair for the following motions.


d. Motions of commendation

Jade Head

Speaking for, Frazer said that traditionally the Chair of Union Council gets a Union Council star, but Jade already has one, so the motion of commendation would recognise her work this year instead.

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

Kerry Sclater and Ben Franklin

Speaking for, Jade said that throughout her time as a student, the current Full-Time Officer team have been the best she has seen. Ben and Kerry have handled the rebrand issues so professionally and the Democracy Review has been really well done and would make some great changes.

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

Jade resumed as Chair.

10. Officer Reports and questions

a. Attendance of Union Council Members and Student Trustees


b. Officer Reports

Kerry thanked all the student groups from Creative Industries for an amazing year and said that highlights from her year include the Democracy Reform and getting the Money Management project started.

Shruti reported that her highlights for the year include the formation of the PGR Committee, changes to Stress Less Fest and reports on PGR students who teach and PGT graduation dates. Shruti also thanked all her Student Leaders for all their hard work.

Anjit reported that his highlights for the year include restructuring committees. Anjit reiterated that the Full-Time Officer team has been the best team he has worked with and thanked all his student leaders and volunteers.

Hannah Talbot (Vice-President Engagement) said that a lot of her work over the year has been trying to find an identity for External Engagement Zone. Recent work has included creating Twitter profiles for Full-Time Officers and the completion of the Communications Strategy. Work on the EU Referendum is going well and they will continue to push out as much information as possible. Hannah also thanked everyone that she had worked with over the year.

Jamie thanked all his Student Leaders and student groups. Planning has already started for Varsity next year and the recent AU Ball and Summer Tournament went really well. Sport and Wellbeing will be implementing some kind of tiered gym membership in the 2017 year but they are looking to lobby the University to make it into something that is more student focused.

Ben said that it’s been a really challenging year, but it’s still been a great year and a really rewarding experience. Ben also thanked everyone for their enthusiasm, ideas and comments over the year.


c. Questions to Officers

Repairing the image of the Union - Ben said that whilst he doesn’t feel like he has fully repaired the image, he does feel that he’s improved the image.

Council attendance – Ben explained that this is a difficult issue because when the system flags up poor attendance, it’s often too late in the year to do anything about it. Ben said that throughout this year the Full-Time Officer Team have spoken to people with poor attendance to try and get explanations rather than automatically recalling them.

Jamie added that the attendance sheet isn’t always accurate of the meetings attended so shouldn’t necessarily be taken at face value.

Student Leader blogs – Hannah explained that there have been delays due to the rebrand and will be picked up either as a student leader blogs or zone blogs.

Student Voice – Kerry said that the secret vote was decided to protect the voting members of Democracy Zone as had happened at Union Council. A secret vote would ensure no one felt pressured by how other people were voting.

Kokulan responded by questioning how elected officers can be accountable for decisions made by a secret ballot. Kerry said that it was a judgement call she made and felt that it was necessary to stop any negative attacks to individuals.

Officer Report – As Sam left the meeting early, Shruti said that no individuals or groups were attacked and that this was purely advice from three years of experience in the Students’ Union. She said that a full answer from Sam would go on You Make Change.

11. Zone reports and updates

The Chair thanked Arun Aggarwal and Harriet Averill for their Zone Report.

12. Disciplinary and Appeals Committee reports

Ben presented the report, saying that there have been very few disciplinary issues this year due to a lot of disputes having been resolved before the official process.

Other Business
13. Any other business

Jade said that this year has seen really high levels of engagement with lots of debate and thanked Kerry and the Democracy Team for their support.

14. Date and time of the next meeting

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