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Guild Council papers for 4th June 2015

Agenda

Minutes

Reports

Elections

All Change for Guild Democratic Structure

The Guild of Students’ democratic structures will change, after a majority of 88.1% voted in favour of switching to a new online model in Monday night’s General Meeting.

The current system — in which 130 students are elected as Guild Councillors to attend seven Guild Council meetings in an academic year, where motions are discussed and passed or rejected — will be scrapped. The new democratic online model will replace it.

'Our ultimate goal should be to include as many students as possible in decision-making at the Guild, and to be as representative of them as possible.'

The new model — which students voted on during the meeting as Special Resolution 1 — will move this system online. Students will be able to propose ideas through an online form, with a deadline for ideas occurring five or six times in the year. After this deadline, ideas will be looked at by an assessment group (made up of all of the full-time officers and seven elected students) who will check for issues and suggest amendments to the student who proposed the idea. The idea will then be published on the Guild website for one week for debate, with students being given the opportunity to post comments for or against. After feedback is completed, voting will open. At least 0.5% of students – approximately 165 – need to vote in order for the outcome to be passed. If an idea is passed, the Guild will start working on its implementation.

Speaking in favour of the change at the General Meeting, Representation and Resources Officer Daisy Lindlar said, ‘It’s undeniable that an online model would engage more students. Our ultimate goal should be to include as many students as possible in decision-making at the Guild, and to be as representative of them as possible.

However, some of the students heading the ‘No campaign’ took issue with the timing of the meeting, claiming that holding it so close to the start of term made it difficult for those who opposed the change to formulate a plan to reject the proposal. In a speech against Special Resolution 1, Michael Foley said, ‘Because of the timing of the meeting, liberation associations were not able to be consulted. Consultation with liberation officers was done before the start of term; before many of the liberation officers had come back.’

President of the Guild of Students, Jack Mably, in response to Foley’s concerns about the timing of the meeting, said, ‘This is not to silence students from having a say’

‘It’s certainly not a way of pushing through an unfinished model so that we don’t have to attend Guild Council.’

Education Officer Izzy Lenga, added in her closing statements in favour of Special Resolution 1, ‘This meeting has been called so closely to the start of term so that we can have a full academic year with the new model.’

'Cutting down on racism, homophobia, transphobia etc will be more difficult as people have to put themselves out there online

Further issues were raised during the speeches against the resolution. Foley questioned the assertion that students would be able to engage as and when they wanted, pointing out that comments have to be moderated before appearing online, and noting that ‘debate is confined to office hours.’ He added, ‘Cutting down on racism, homophobia, transphobia etc will be more difficult as people have to put themselves out there online, risking persecution from other commenters.’

Special Resolution 2, an amendment to the Guild’s objects to reflect new democratic structures, sparked considerably less debate at the General Meeting. This amendment was passed with an 87.7% majority, and will remove the terminology of ‘Guild Council’ from the Guild’s objects, as it will no longer exist.

1138 students cast a vote on Special Resolution 1, with 998 voting for, 135 voting against, and 5 students choosing to abstain.

1137 students voted in total, with 991 voting for Special Resolution 2, 139 voting against and 7 abstentions.

Motions

Passed

Failed

Withdrawn

Deferred

a) EU Motion
Proposed by: Joe Armer
Summary: For the Guild to campaign and support the UK remaining in the EU
b) HE Policy Motion
Proposed by: Joe Armer
Summary: To make clear what our policy is on education funding and to add it additional information about beliefs on student loans and grants
c) Puppy Day Motion
Proposed by: Wadim Wesolek
Summary: To declare every day a Puppy Day
d) Guild Council Availability
Proposed by: Wadim Wesolek
Summary: To provide a procedure for removing Guild Councillors form post.
e) Independent SGX
Proposed by: Wadim Wesolek
Summary: To make Student Groups Executive an independent body from Guild Council.
f) Referenda
Proposed by: Poppy Wilkinson
Summary: To change the current quorum for all Referenda referring to Governance changes.
g) Recognition
Proposed by: Ed Sainsbury
Summary: Mandating VPAD and ADO Elect to consider adding a Staff Recognition Award to Guild Awards

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