Union Senate (12th February 2019)


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Name of Committee Union Senate
Date and time 12th February 2019, 14:00
Place Below Deck
Present Members
Senate Representative - Sports Development Zone Tara Granea
Senate Representative- Education Zone Adrian Li
Senate Representative-Creative Industries Zone Isaac Treuherz
Senate Representative - External Engagment Zone Charlotte Colombo
Senate Representative - Student Communities Zone Arvin De Vera
Senator Joel Jordan
Senator Zakaria Al Shmaly
Absent with Apologies Senator Katja Stout
Senate Representative - Sustainability Zoe Booth
Chair of Senate Tom Radford
Senate Representative - Student Life Zone Emily Whelan
Senator Amalia-Andreea Cojocar
Senator Nazrin Wilkinson
Absent without Apologies Senator Katy Davies
Senate Representative - Democracy Zone Ned Williams
Senator Channing Eady-Gately
Senator Galyna Mandra

Actions and Decisions

Decision Union Senator Adrian Li to act as Chair of Union Senate. Approved unanimously.
Decision Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.
Decision Evie is to lead a working group looking at improvements to You Make Change based on suggestions from the proposed report. Feedback to be provided at the next Union Senate meeting.
Decision Remove the section 'Developing the Role' from the Sabbatical Plan template for next year.
Action Isabella to report back on what work the Sexual Violence Working Group is doing to support anxious students after the recent assault and to generally raise awareness and promote safety.
Decision Sam has Union Senate's pre-approval to take on an additional role if he is successful at interview stage.
1. Welcome and apologies

In the absense of the Chair of Union Senate, Tom Radford the Acting Union President, Steve Gore opened the meeting of Union Senate in line with Rule 2, Section 11.4. 

Steve led a vote for a nominated Senator to take over as Chair of the meeting in order to ensure fair scrutiny of all of the Sabbatical Officers present. Adrian Li put forward a nomination to act as Chair of Union Senate and was voted in unanimously.

Decision Union Senator Adrian Li to act as Chair of Union Senate. Approved unanimously.
2. Minutes from previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

Decision Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.
3. Update on Actions

- Evie to look into how the data is anonymised on You Make Change.

- Evie to look into the issues that no longer having policy has created for You Make Change and where decisions can be sent to.

Evie suggested that these actions be covered during the agenda item on You Make Change. The Senators agreed with this and moved on to the next action.

- Isabella to look at increasing informaiton about the Safety Bus Service. 

Isabella confirmed that the Safety Bus times had been extended so that it now runs later. This is being advertised in Enabling Services, Halls and the Advice Centre. This seems to be successful as the bus is being used during the extended times. 

- Sam refered to the attached Printing Update to inform Union Senate that he is still waiting on figures for student and staff costs. 

Papers and proposals
4. You Make Change

Adrian, acting Chair of Senate introduced the attached Senate Motion 1 and explained that the proposal is for Union Senate to authorise the creation of a Working Group that will make improvements to the You Make Change system.

Zakaria opened the discussion by asking whether opening the You Make Change system to so many people would make it more difficult to keep it functioning and regulated. 

Charlotte agreed that this could potentially make the system messy to use and suggested that it could be a seperate system. 

Sam suggested that submissions shouldn't be completely dealt with by Student Leaders and refered to the SIMON system at Bournemouth where ideas are passed to relevant areas. If this could be combined with what we already do here as we can work with Student Leaders already. 

Question - An audience member asked if this would be a tick box so that the system can combine related submissions.

Adrian replied by saying that part of the discussion was around allowing students to self-catagorise their submissions. 

Sam agreed with this suggestion, stating that it would help to streamline the Friday afternoon meetings and identify ambigious submissions for the team. 

Isabella asked how this change to the system would conflict with the current feedback system for faculties and course reps. 

Adrian confirm that it would work seperately to the academic feedback and would be for all Student Leaders. 

Steve agreed with categorisation as the system only shows a list of submissions at the moment. It would help with delegation of submissions at the meetings and the team should definitely be involving their Student Leaders more.

Evie refered to her Sabb plan where it is one of her goals for the year to reform the platform and said that she would be happy with any suggestions that help make it easier to use.

Sam suggested that there may also be some web dev time freed up soon to work on improvements.

Question - an audience member asked if it could be as simple as adding a drop-down menu as most students would be right about their assumed category and this would automatically provide groupings.

Isaac asked about the involvement that Student Leaders and that although they could take on ideas submission from the You Make Change platform, there needs to be better communication between the Sabb and Student Leader to ensure that they can contribute to the work that is going on even if they haven't been assigned the idea to work on. Isaac also suggested that this would provide more work for the committees.

Adrian asked Union Senate to vote on creating a working group for You Make Change that would report to Senate no. 3 on a plan for improvements. This was approved by Union Senate and Evie will lead this over the next term.

Approve - 10

Reject - 0

Abstain - 1

Decision Evie is to lead a working group looking at improvements to You Make Change based on suggestions from the proposed report. Feedback to be provided at the next Union Senate meeting.
5. Sabbatical Plan Template

Steve introduced the report asking that the section titled 'Developing the Role' be removed from the Sabbatical Plan template for next year. This would allow the Sabbs to move forward with more realistic and acheivable goals on their plans for the year. 

Isaac asked if there are any examples where a goal in this section had been attempted?

Steve confirmed that there was on last year but that is was only to fill space on the plan and was not followed through on. 

Sam suggested that the first meeting of Union Senate could involve a review of this section where Senators can provide additional actions for the Sabbs to work on over the year.

Charlotte asked whether it would be worth working on this section and trying to bring it back to its original intentions of enshrining the work the Sabbs to do with the student body rather than removing it completely.

Steve said that he would be reluctant to agree with Senators creating additional expectations for the Sabbs workload as they may not know how the team is working currently. 

Emily agreed and added that the first Union Senate meeting is in November but the Sabbs start their roles in July. 

Joel suggested that the Sabbs should have plans that are based on their election promises and manifestos and not on the actions given to them by the Senators.

Adrian asked if the removal of this section would help with the change to the Sabbatical Team which will reduce from 7 Officers to 5 next year. Steve agreed that this would allow the team to highlight the work that they are doing better but that the other aspects of the role wouldn't be forgotten.

Adrian asked Union Senate to vote on removing the section 'Developing the Role' from the Sabbatical Plan template for next year. This was approved:

Approve - 8

Reject - 2

Abstain - 1

Decision Remove the section 'Developing the Role' from the Sabbatical Plan template for next year.
Senate Reports
6. Sabbatical Plans

(Please may it be noted that this section of the agenda should have been name Sabbatical Reports rather than Sabbatical Plans)


The Chair confirmed that the Sabbatical Officers could provide a short summary in addition to the attached reports before questions from the Senators.

Steve - VP Sports

In addition to the attached Sabbatical Report, Steve confirme that the Sports Experience Board is neaing completion. The next step is to call the AU Conference to ask their feedback and have a wider consultation with all students. 

The Safe Sesh (working title) is going well. Steve has been working with Isabella and they now have a list of information that will be put on the website. They will be looking to get some first aid/first response advice that can be included. Not many University/Union's are doing this kind of work on drugs and so we are breaking ground. 


Sam - VP Education

Sam discussed key items from his Sabbatical Report including the NSS which will be opening soon. 


Evie - VP Democracy and Creative Industries

The Careers Day on Wednesday is smaller than expected but it is open to all students which we will make sure is advertised. Evie summarised the attached Sabbatical Report, adding that she is also working on Spring Elections and that the nominations close tomorrow.


Emily - VP Student Communities

As well as summarising the attached Sabbatical Report, Emily confirmed that she has been working on the trial to extend the WSA Shuttle service. The first working group meeting took place last week for Diveristy in the Curriculum. 


Isabella - VP Welfare

After discussing briefly some of the key points in the attached Sabbatical Report, Isabella also promoted the success of the Housing Fayre.

7. Zone Reports

The Chair of Senate confirmed that for efficiency, the Zone Rep Reports would be taken as read and they would not need to provide a summary or update. 

No questions were raised in the meeting.

8. Questions from Senators

Steve - VP Sports

Q - It was noted that there was a lack of progress on some goals, the question was whether this was due to taking on additional responsibilities as acting Union President?

A - Steve confirmed that taking on compulsory aspects of the Union President role had contributed but that this was also due to the limited number of days the team has had in the office due to Union Visits and the January Residential. 

Q - Expanding on the previous question, are only compulsory aspects of the role being taken forward?

A - It is mainly the compulsory aspects of the role but Steve confirmed that the Sexual Assault Awareness Campaign was also being progressed. This is currently with the University Council and that they will be coming up with a plan to take to the next meeting.

Q - Asked whether there could be any formal representation for users of the gym, although this may not be possible as the Spring Elections are already underway.

A - The Sports Experience Board was not intended to be that formal but as it is still in discussion, Steve will take this into consideration. 

Q - Could the Give it a Go week be brought back to introduce the idea of Mental Health and Sport, physical activity as a way of helping to improve health and wellbeing?

A - There wouldn't be enough time to do that this year but it is a good idea and could be picked up by the team that are elected for next year. 

Q - Related to the previous question, there was a Mental Health Panel in the Bridge recently that talked about how the benefits of exercise are important, is there anything that we can do this year? Could a society be formed?

A - Isabella answered and discussed the programme for the 'You Are More Than..' campaigns. Later in the term when the You Are More Than Your Exams is running, Pilates will be put on again. Forming a Society would be a good idea but my exclude people outside of the society from getting involved in activities. 

Evie asked if this could be something she takes on as a way of promoting that you can get involved in activities without being a member of a society. 


Sam - VP Education

Q - Why is the Academic Rep review taking so long and doesn't appear to be started yet?

A - We are waiting on some I.T. updates and due to staff departure this has been delayed. These updates will hopefully be completed soon so that the team can get started on the review. As soon as possible, a Working Group meeting will be put in the calendar.

Q - Why has the goal for printing not been completed?

A - It is considered completed but the work on free printing has been in addition to the original goal. Overall, the cost of printing has been reduced by 50%.

Q - Isn't it a long term project to work on Blackboard?

A - Sam confirmed he wanted this work to be added to the University's plan so that it outlasted him. Although it will need to be passed on to the next elected sabbatical, it should still be completed by September. 


Evie - VP Democracy and Creative Industries

Q - Referring to Goal 2 and the commitment to creative arts space from the University, although this is very positive work the PA Officer should be included in those discussions.

A - The meeting that took place was just an initial disucssion and wasn't all focussed on creative arts space. Sam also attended and other things were discussed. However, we will make sure that more representatives are involved. 

Q - There doesn't seem to be much progress since the AGM, some items are still marked as 1 or 2?

A - I would only mark items as a 3 if they're complete and there is still 5 months left to work on those items.

Q - What progress is being made on welfare for candidates in the Spring Elections?

A - This is something that should be built on year on year, although the focus is on Spring Elections we do also need to consider the Summer and Autumn Elections as well.

Q - How will your time be effected by the Summer Elections considering that there has been a drop in Creative Industries work during the Spring Elections?

A - The Summer Elections are smaller and shouldn't be as much of a problem.


Emily - VP Student Communities

Q- Referring to Goal 1, there has been a lot of work within your own zone but not much collaboration with other zones.

A - This goal was less about working with other zones and more about getting others to understand what the zone does and to increase the communication from the Student Communities zone out to other areas of the Union.

Q - You have done a lot to improve welfare, have you been working with Isabella?

A - Emily confirmed she has mostly been working on PG Mental Health but that Isabella is on the University steering group and has been feedbin into the work she has been doing as well. 

Steve told Senate that although we naturally hear welfare and think that Isabella should be involved, it should be something that all the sabbatical officers focus on and consider as part of the projects.


Isabella - VP Welfare

Q - In reference to the Sexual Violence Working Group, what has been done to support anxious students after the recent assault close to halls?

A - Although we hadn't really considered this, there is work that happens in the background and isn't so public. Student Services reach out to students to talk to them about incidences. Isabella confirmed that she would look into this and report back. 

Union Senate put it to action that Isabella should report back on what work is being done to help with anxiety and Sexual Assualt Awareness.

Steve also mentioned that although we want to ensure that students are safe, we equally don't want to scare them unnecessarily.

Action Isabella to report back on what work the Sexual Violence Working Group is doing to support anxious students after the recent assault and to generally raise awareness and promote safety.
9. Publicity Review

This discussion was raised as Student Leaders oftern struggle to have adequate publicity of their projects and work. Could a priority be given to work that has been started by Student Leaders within the Marketing and Communications team?

Isabella responded by stating the team were there for SUSU as a whole and as a brand. Although this does include supporting the work of Student Leaders, the team is currently overworked and restricted by pre-set timelines throughout the year. There are multiple large projects ongoing that require their attention. Isabella suggested that Student Leaders talk to their Sabbatical Officer directly to see how their projects can be included into that yearly plan.


10. AOB

Sam asked Union Senate if they would approve his involvement with a Govenement Project, working with the Office for Students who have oversight of Higher Education in the UK. Currently they are looking to appoint 12 students for a fixed term of 1 year. Sam is interviewing for this role on Thursday and is looking for pre-approval to take on the role outside of his work as a Sabbatical Officer as it may require him to take time away from the office.

This is in line with the rules that state that Senate must approve whether elected Sabbatical Officers take on additional responsibilities. 

Q - Would you need to take annual leave for this if you are appointed, shouldn't it be incorporated into your role?

A - This is a difficult situation, as a student representative Sam wouldn't need to take time off to fulfill this extra responsibility but Sabbatical Officers are also members of staff and would need to take annual leave. Sam said he would look into this and how it can be managed. 

Q - To Steve, as line manager to the Sabbatical Team what are your thoughts?

A - Steve confirmed he would be very happy, not only for Sam personally but for SUSU as it would put us on the map in terms of a national discussion.

Adrian asked Union Senate to vote on whether Sam has their pre-approval to take on the additional role of working with the Office for Students. This was approved:

Approve - 9

Reject - 0

Abstain - 1


Steve read a statement to Union Senate confirming that Fleur (VP External Engagement) was currently on special leave. The attached zone report was provided by a member of staff to show the work that is currently underway in this area of the Union. As this is special leave we could not plan to for this or provide apologies in advance.

Decision Sam has Union Senate's pre-approval to take on an additional role if he is successful at interview stage.

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