Final Council usually has a season cliff hanger or some drama and May’s AGM and Council did not disappoint. This meeting took us (for those of you were around) to the vibes of final Council in 2016 when we battled against a major power cut and a filibustering member who caused some havoc. Although we had power in the final 2021 meeting we were at the end of a year spent in a pandemic with nothing feeling normal. Obviously, this was the perfect time for a record breaking amount of motions coupled with major technical difficulties to create a mood fit for unprecedented times!
*Spoiler alert*There were points in the meeting that were truly wonderful and amplified the student voice in a democratic, calm and respectful way and then there were times when members were removed in a way reminiscent of Jackie Weaver times. We won’t spoil it for you any further but you can watch how the evening unfolded here, via NUTV's amazing coverage.
The AGM started of the evening and Dorothy Chirwa (NUSU President) did a great job of ratifying the official charity business.
The Council business started off with elections and we are pleased to report that Elizabeth Meade was voted as the incoming Ethics and Environment Rep. We look forward to working with Elizabeth in the new academic year. Unfortunately, the Marginalised Genders Officer post was not filled and will be back as well as the vacant positions for Steering and Scrutiny committee.
Student’s passion and dedication in creating positive change for all students, resulted in 18 motions coming to Council. A record for NUSU and perhaps a world record for Students’ Unions? Who knows, but one thing we did know was that it would be a long meeting. Popcorn at the ready…….here are the motion headlines.
101 “To suspend Ordinary Life Memberships temporarily until an evaluation on alumni members is carried out”
201 Formal Motion of No Confidence in the Commuting Students’ Officer
301 “To implement Associate Membership status for University of Law students on Newcastle campus”
302 “Sabbatical Officer Job Description Update"
303 “Variable Employment for Sabbatical Officers”
304 “Updates to the Disciplinary Procedure”
305 Motion “To disband the current Liberation Officer and Chair system and implement a new vision for student representation at NUSU with Liberation Executive Committees”
306 Motion Title “To clarify additional points on the disciplinary framework”
307 Motion Title “To Dissolve the Commuting Students' Officer position”
308 “To ensure liberation forums are convened”
*309 “NUSU will support student media in enacting Student Election debate coverage”
401 Motion on NUSU Hate Crime Policy
402 Motion on “Safe Drinking and Drug Policy”
403 Motion on “Communication Access training”
404 Motion to “Support People & Planet’s Pledge Against the Hostile Environment”
405 “Mandate the Sabbatical Officers to investigate Newcastle University’s hiring practices and for the creation of the NUSU modern slavery policy”
406 “Mandate the Sabbatical Officers to lobby the university to install adult changing facilities in all new developments”
407 “Accessibility Training for anyone involved in teaching”
You can see full details of each motion here.
Unfortunately, some of these motions were heard, debated and passed when the meeting was not quorate. This means that they will come back to the next council as a block and will be voted on to make them official policy. So we did have a season finale cliffhanger…………
Time got the better of us and the meeting ended with a few very swift student notices. No time for the open debate. This Mammoth May Council closed with a final farewell from the outgoing Chair, Christopher Winter..
A big thank you to all who make NUSU Council the marvellous, world record-breaking (TBC), democratic giant that it has grown into. Looking forward to seeing the returning students next year and good luck to those graduating!
If you want to hear more about Student Council or how to get involved in NUSU Democracy you can read more here or email here.