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Union Senate (16th May 2022)

Minutes

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Name of Committee Union Senate
Date and time 16th May 2022, 12:00
Place
Present Members
(voting)
Chair of Senate Georgios Ntoules
Senator Behrad Koohy
Senator Aiden Graham
Senator Harry Bull
Senator Salvador Quintana Montano
Senator Alice Harbor-Collins
Senator Alamea John
Union President Benjamin Dolbear
Vice President Activities Ella Foxhall
Vice President Education and Democracy Lottie James
Vice President Sports Matthew Smith
Vice President Welfare and Community Savanna Cutts
Senator Ethan Chiu
Absent without Apologies Senator Thomas Andresen
Senator Jad Dao
Senator Hussein Al Hashimi
Senator Wang Wong
Senator Kayla-Rey O'Neil
Senator Sabiqa Umer
Senator Rahul Anand
Senator Qiuxia Tan
1. Welcome

The Chair of Union Senate, Georgios Ntoules, welcomed everyone to the third Union Senate meeting of the academic year. He briefly went through the purpose of the meeting.

2. Minutes of Previous Meeting

Georgios shared the link to the previous minutes.

Senators voted to approve the minutes. 

15 Approve

5 did not vote

3. Sabb Reports

Ella: 

Ella went through her report.

While talking about her report, Ella responded to the below pre-submitted question:

Are discussions expected, either by yourself or your successor, to look at increasing the amount of money available for the Events Fund?

Ella explained that the amount of money that had been asked in the second grant round has not left too much money for Events Fund. However, she has been informed by SLT that some of the £1 million can possibly be used for the different events on different sites.

One of the senators asked a question about societies affiliation process. He explained that he is aware of a society who has been trying to affiliate to SUSU for some time but they have not been successful. He wanted to have some clarification on affiliation window, and the funding available to societies as he mentioned given the growth of the University and promoting diversity, it would be helpful to facilitate the process.

Ella thanked the senator for the question, acknowledged she does understand the situation, and that there is going to be a meeting later on societies affiliation window and when that opens. She said she is hoping that the affiliation window opens soon and asked what society he refers to.

He confirmed this has been Hungarian society who used to be affiliated in 2018 but are not now due to some paperwork issues at the time. He explained that the society is still active since there are many Hungarian students who are active members of the society.

Ella thanked the senator for the information and explained following the meeting later today about the timing and procedure of affiliation window, he will be notified in due course.

The senator thanked Ella and said he will send her an email for a follow-up.

Matt:

Matt went through his report and answered the following pre-submitted questions.  

Will SUSU being buying a 'new fleet on minibuses' or will this be on a lease basis?

He confirmed after having a chat with the CEO about this, it looks like this will be on a lease basis due to high prices to buy one at the moment. He said the provisional plan (with no guarantee yet) is to have 2X9 seats mini buses, 4X15 seats mini buses and a van for kayaks and other pieces of equipment after consultation with lots of clubs and societies.

How much of the £1 million fund is directed towards the sports bursary? How many students do you envision this will benefit?

Matt passed on this question to Ben as he has more information about the plans with this fund.

Ben explained that since he only heard about this question today, he is unable to provide much information on it. He confirmed that he is working with colleagues from senior leadership team on the delivery of £1 million and the access to activities and he is happy to share more information later today.

One of the students asked if there are any plans for disabilities sports, clubs, or events. She mentioned she has heard there is some plans that SUSU and University is looking into and was wondering if she can have more information about that.

Matt mentioned that he working with Savanna (VP Welfare) on setting up a group with Sports Wellbeing which is mentioned in the report around inclusivity and accessibility in sports and also more general,  and the idea came from that. He also mentioned “We are listening” campaign and that there has been talks around setting an event through Be Active. He confirmed he is happy to chase this up. In terms of sports club, Matt mentioned that they always welcome any clubs coming through the affiliation process. He also mentioned previous events such as wheelchair basketball and highlighted he is looking forwards to inclusivity meeting with SUSU and Sports Wellbeing to discuss these ideas. He said if the student is keen he can try and ensure they get an invite too.

The student thanked Matt and mentioned that they are involved in some disabilities sports and would like to hear more about this plan.

Matt said he will ensure that they receive the meeting invite link too.

Lottie:

Lottie went through her report and answered the following pre-submitted questions.

What has been the outcome so far of SSLC meetings?

She explained that she is currently waiting for a list of outstanding SSLC meetings, the minutes for which SUSU does not receive. She confirmed she will be chasing Student Offices to ensure we get those.

Are there intentions for the 'Sabbs on Tour' project to continue?

She confirmed it will be up to the elected sabbs for the next year if they want to continue this project or not and she cannot tell. She said as her next step for this project, she would be keen to find out from the Big SUSU Survey if students have a better understanding of SUSU vs. the University and the role of sabbatical officers. It was also confirmed by Ben that a recommendation from current sabbs will be in the handover.

With regards to running the Safety Bus over vacation periods, is there not more recent data than 2019 to evaluate the viability of this?

She explained it is not viable to use the data from 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic and not as many students using the library. 2019 has been chosen as a normal year prior to the pandemic. She said they are looking into the number of students using Hartley library to see if they can secure funding for the Safety Bus during vacation period but also mentioned U1N which has returned now.

One the senators asked if Lottie can into more details about the survey she mentioned to find out how much students know about SUSU.

Lottie mentioned that Big SUSU survey is currently live with the aim of finding out more about students’ knowledge on subjects such as the University and SUSU offers. She encouraged the students to fill in the survey if they have not already done so.

The senator thanked Lottie and confirmed he was not aware that the survey is open.

Savanna:

Savanna went through her report and answered the following pre-submitted questions.

Can we have an update as to the work the Rate Your Crib Project Group has been doing? Is it working towards any specific goals?

She explained they are currently working on the content and refining the questions for the project survey which is primarily focused on housing. Survey is due to go live next month. She said following the survey result and depending on the responses they receive, actions will be taken to improve students’ housing experience.

The Good Night Out training received complaints by bar staff for being extremely graphic and emotionally draining - has this feedback been given to the course providers?

She confirmed this feedback has been passed on. She continued to say that there are two training and the trainers were spoken to the second training and they give it a more explicit trigger warning from that. She explained that they currently looking into gaining further feedback from staff and students who attended.

What is the Student Awarding Gap Project?

Savanna mentioned this project is run by the University and is aimed at tacking the ethnicity awarding gap that exists between minority ethnic students and the white counterparts. She explained that the largest gap currently exists between black and white students and the project’s main focus is on this. She mentioned this is currently done through working with students’ panels from black ethic backgrounds to create inclusive events and activities. She also provided the link to the project where more information could be found.

Ben:

Ben went through his report and answered the following pre-submitted question.

It has been revealed that after four candidates being interviewed for the position of Chief Executive, all four were unsuccessful in being accepted for the role. What qualities are being sought that these four candidates failed to demonstrate?

He explained that they were keen on someone with knowledge on social enterprise to understand the commercial side of activities as well as the Student Union’s governance and the reports. He also mentioned stakeholder management skills and being able to value students’ leadership, trustee board, the senate, and the University as important qualities they were looking for. He continued to say that SUSU continues to look into filling in this role.

One of the senators asked about some clarification on SUSU Strategy Plan which was briefly discussed in the first senate meeting. He explained that he was under impression that senators would vote on this but it did not happen.

George clarified that this was not open to vote and it was just discussed in the first senate meeting.

One of the senators asked about the details of £1 fund and that in their opinion, some sections such as the criteria for eligibility for graduation fund has been unclear.

Ben explained that the criteria was for the students who had a household income of under £25K in their final year of study and that they should have been contacted directly.

The senator continued to say some of the expenses such as hiring the graduation robe is very high even though some students may not meet that criterion above. He also mentioned having to bring back the gown by 9pm to the campus even though someone’s graduation ceremony may be in the evening.

Ben agreed that it is expensive, and he confirmed the University as the organiser of the ceremony would welcome that feedback.

One of the senators thanked all the sabbs for their hard work and highlighted that all the questions which are asked are out of good faith and that they have the University community’s best interest at heart. He also suggested perhaps some more clarity throughout the projects that sabbatical officers are involved in can be more helpful.

Ben agreed with the senator and explained that updates on ongoing projects is not always possible as live negotiations are going on and things may change.

4. AOB

There was no AOB, George thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.

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