The All Student Meeting, held 3 times per year, is a reunion of Guild officers and students to discuss ideas and policies that have taken place during the year and suggest new projects.
The All Student Meeting (ASM), held 3 times per year, is a reunion of Guild officers and students to discuss ideas and policies that have taken place during the year and suggest new projects. In the meeting, students can recommend policy change to the Guild’s decision-making committees (Activities, Welfare & Liberation, Campaigns & Education). The Officer Team also provide updates on their work and then the decision-making committees and the Scrutiny Panel provide a report.
Students have the opportunity to ask Guild Officers questions too. They discuss these ideas and if the meeting meets the quorum (200 students present), they collectively make decisions on these by voting. This meeting was not at quorum, so nothing could be voted on.
All the officers provided their updates :
Tobi Adeyemi, the Guild’s President announced that Students Reps were going to be educated on LGBTQ+ issues and that they had worked a lot on sustainability.
Rob Hegarty, the Sports Officer managed to get gym and sports refunds. He also created short-term gym membership of one, two and three months for students staying for short periods of time. With the Commonwealth Games coming up soon, he is in the process of filming videos for volunteering opportunities.
Jules Singh, the Education Officer is making sure that students are supported during assessment period with de-stress events. He is working on making study spaces available for everyone to work well in and looking at extenuating circumstances.
Charlotte Minter, the Welfare Officer launched the safety campaign in March. They trialled a bus from Medical School to Harborne, but due to its unpopularity, it was discontinued. The Selly shuttle bus was put in place. Concerning rent rebates, they supported individual cases of students. She started conversations with library services on campus about relaxation spaces on campus. Many officers worked on COVID hardship funds.
The Scrutiny Panel members provided their updates :
Osione Oseni Elamah (Scrutiny Panel Member) commented that there had been many successful campaigns feedings into each other, such as the Black Voices Campaign or the Climate Emergency (Go Green Week). Officers have been very reactive during this pandemic this year – Student Support Fund, Safe Exercise Initiative, Rent Rebates, Fair Assessement Policy, Gym Refunds are a few examples to show this. There has also been lots of work on inclusivity with new categories for Guild Awards, the work towards creating a canvas EDI course, continued push for accurate Panopto captions and daily updates for international students.
Eleanor Thomas, the other Scrutiny Panel member highlighted long-term goals for the Officer Team :
- Working on student engagement with the Guild, All Student Meeting and on a new democratic structure
- Working on transparency – ensuring that work is communicated to students, Officers have worked on the language used in communications this year
- Continue being a proactive Guild with a strong stance on issues – this is already growing with the Black Voices Campaign and work on looking at LGBTQ+ student experience this year
The Black Voices Campaign was discussed in breakout rooms between students and Guild Officers. Overall, remarks were made on the lack of student engagement and that UOB had a very depoliticised student community. The idea to lobby for scholarships for black students was raised and ensuring that it is clear to everyone that the campaign is relevant to everybody, as it’s about creating a more equal education for all.
Student Satisfaction this Academic year:
There was a general agreement, arising in discussions on student safety in Selly Oak, that students were reluctant to contact the police but that the safety of students does not have to rely solely on the police either. Complaints were voiced regarding the early closing time of the library and study spaces. Concerns about the University’s mental health services emerged, with students’ feeling that long waiting times imply that the university does not care. But the improvement of access to low-level support means that students can get help with minor issues surrounding their mental health.
There was also discussions about keeping the ASM and meetings at the Guild inclusive and accessible for different groups of students.
Indeed, this year, ASM has been online due to COVID and although this has been more accessible for some students, it could be less accessible for some. In-person meetings allow for a sense of community, however, online meetings are more flexible. The future of meetings may depend on which one will have better engagement. An option would be a hybrid meeting which means that there is a meeting in person, but people can still attend online (eg call in on Zoom).
Remote Learning at UoB:
Hybrid learning could be an option and there are pros and cons to online learning. Learning online is more accessible for commuter students but some students cannot physically do their degree completely online. Most officers and students agree that doing an entire degree remotely would greatly degrade the quality of the teaching and learning. Moreover, the issue of how testing was to be conducted fairly with both students on campus and students at home was raised. The key point is recorded lecture content – students can go back and watch lectures. That should continue in the future, even if everything goes back to normal. There will be a vote arranged to decide democratically whether the Guild will support Remote Learning at UOB and there needs to a quorum. So, if you would like to participate and contribute to the democratic aspect of the university, come and vote!
The voting will take place at the same time as voting for the Summer Elections, which is Thursday 27th June, 10am to Thursday 3rd June, 4pm. It will take place on the Guild website and can be accessed through this link: https://www.guildofstudents.com/elections/.
Like this article? Here are some more stories from News: