student.union@newcastle.ac.uk

What happened during the First Student Council or the Year!

First blended council: a few teething problems but a lively and action-packed meeting!

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We welcome Haaris Qureshi as the 2021-22 Chair and wish him good luck in the role this year. As we all adapt to being back on campus in person. 

The session starts off with a welcome from the Chair with notices to council including the introduction of a new blended approach allowing both in- person and online attendance, along with the rules of how this will operate.   

After this we moved on to elections for the various committee and rep positions that were still currently vacant.  An objection was raised against one nominee for Open Places positions, and so these positions were taken to a council vote (to be facilitated outside of the meeting). 

The elected students are listed below as well as the contested positions which will be voted on by council: 

Open Places (8 places available) - Owen Lukins, Alex Walker, Kristiyan iliev, William Hayes, Lewis Telford, Elias Al Dahan, Charlie Drakesmith, Elliot Kirkpatrick, all nominated themselves for the position however an objection raised by Elizabeth Meade means that a council vote will take place on their appointment. 

Campaigns Rep - 1 nomination received from Ali Zuhad, who was duly elected by Council in the position. Congratulations Ali! 

Marginalised Genders Officer – No nominations were received, as such will be open for election at the next council session.  

LGBT+ Officer - 1 nomination received from George Wood who was duly elected by Council in the position. Congratulations George! 

 

After the nominations and elections of the vacant positions we had our first State of Union address from new President Abbie Hutchinson, who welcomed everyone and thanked everyone for being adaptable with the new blended approach.  

This was followed by Sabbatical Officer questions with notable questions from Chloe Grant, asking the Postgraduate Officer about plans to make PG researchers into members of Staff and a question from Own Lukes to the Welfare & Equality Officer around the Spiking issue. (Check out the council minutes for the officer’s replies: https://www.nusu.co.uk/yourvoice/council/documents/) 

 

Moving onto the Motions – 

 

BUSINESS MOTIONS

Business Motion on “ANNUAL POLICY REVIEW” 

This annual motion is brought to the first meeting and proposed by Steering committee. It lapses out of date policy to keep the current policies in line with ongoing work. 

Business Motion to “Remove Sub-Councils from Annexe C” 

Chair explained Sub-Councils no longer exist, so this is to update the document, so they are removed. No objections were received 

Business Motion on “Updates arising from Motion 304” 

Chair gave a brief outline of the business motion. Motion was passed in May but did not include updates to all relevant documents.

No objections were received, so motion passed.

 

CONSTITUTIONAL MOTIONS – need a super majority to pass (67%) to pass. 

Constitutional Motion to “Postpone the NUS Referendum until next academic year” –  

Eleanor McCarthy explained NUSU is currently not affiliated to NUS and need to have a referendum every 3 years to decide if we are affiliated. The motion proposes postponing the referendum until Semester 1 of the next academic year. This is an important choice, but at a time when student engagement is low, we are in a covid recovery year, are dealing with a lot of unknowns and feel this would have a negative effect on turnout. Want to ensure students are prepared, have info available and know pros and cons before referendum is put to them. It is also likely that a referendum would coincide with the possible UCU strike ballot. Better to share information at the end of term so students are informed and engaged. 

This motion garner an amount of interest from council with multiple for and against speeches for the motion, with concerns that this was just the Sabbatical Officers trying to avoid the effort required for the referendum.  

During the debate a Procedural motion was received by the Education Officer which was allowed by the Chair to make an amendment to the motion. The amendment changes the postponement of the referendum until Semester 2 of the 2021/2022 academic year.   

PASSED by 68% 

 

ORDINARY MOTIONS – A simple majority is needed to pass. 

Motion on “NUSU to incorporate the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of Antisemitism into the NUSU Hate Crime Policy -  

Alex Walker outlined the motion explaining NUSU voted in May to adopt the Hate Crime Policy and it was important to clarify what antisemitism is, this is very hard to define therefore important we are all “singing from the same hymn book”. There is a great deal of debate around whether a comment could be deemed to be antisemitic and think the 

PASSED by 66% 

Motion on “Mandate Sabbatical Officers to conduct on cross-campus poll on potential UCU industrial action” -  

Chair explained this was a Late Notice Motion. 

Livia Scott said Sabbatical Officer Team understood students have felt unheard in the past year or 2. Want to put it to students so they decided what the stance is. Feel it is a large decision and would potentially really impact the students we are here to represent. Would be a cross campus poll and would ask different Executive Committee’s for the wording of the question. Don’t feel it is fair for the Sabb Team to make a stance, this would be the fairest way. Regardless of stance NUSU will go above and beyond to make sure students are supported. 

PASSED by 88% 

Motion to “Support People & Planet’s Pledge Against the Hostile Environment” -  

Elizabeth Meade presented the motion noting it was considered at May’s Council and went through so was unsure why it did not go through with the other rubber-stamped motions. People and Planet are a UK wide organisation and have developed a pledge against UK government policies for international students and migrants, as believe many of these policies are racist and xenophobic. Motion calls to lobby the university to sign the pledge and meet with People and Planet. 

PASSED by 56% 

 

Committee Elections 

After the motions the Chair extended the guillotine by 10 minutes. This allowed for elections to take place for the below committee positions. Livia Scott took the Chair role for this portion of the meeting, allowing Haaris to stand for a committee position himself. 

NUSU committees feed into the democratic structure but don’t automatically hold a voting place on Council.  

Disciplinary Committee (12 places available) – Those nominated were elected to post. 

Education Executive (4 places available) - Objection received. vote to be held after meeting

Finance Committee (2 places available) – Numerous nominations, vote to be held after meeting. 

Steering Committee (2 places) - Those nominated were elected to post. 

Welfare, Campaigns & Liberation Executive (8 places available) - Those nominated were elected to post. 

 

The Open Debate 

Unfortunately, due to a lack of time, the proposed open debate “What are your experiences of blended learning?” did not take place. 

 

Close of meeting 

A busy first meeting, thanks to all who were involved and to those new members of committees and execs, the SU couldn’t exist without you. 

Don’t miss the next meeting on the 11th of November at 5.15pm. Head here for a full section on Council. https://www.nusu.co.uk/yourvoice/council/  

 

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