Voting intention for Extraordinary Guild Council 22/1/13


Due to the large number of motions deferred from December’s Guild Council because of time constraints, and the fact that some of those motions had been previously deferred themselves, an ‘Extraordinary Guild Council’ has been called for this Tuesday to deal with all those motions finally, before the regular Guild Council on the 31st of this month.

The motions deferred have been carried over unaltered in their exact form as before, so below are my original intentions for them: unaltered, in their exact form as before.
Forgive the audacity.

Guild Council is open to all, and takes place in the Guild Council Chambers this Tuesday, from 6-9:30pm.

**On a related note, I strongly recommend that any/everyone comes to the General Meeting being held on the 28th of January that you would have gotten an email about last week.

It’s a chance to exercise actual direct control over your Guild, and unlike Guild Council this General Meeting [Under Company Law]’s outcomes are completely binding, and can’t be overturned by any body in the Guild’s hierarchy.

The ‘Special Resolutions’ #3 and #4 regarding the composition of the Board of Trustees are particularly important – the Trustee board has been responsible for overturning/denying many motions passed through Council, often on dubious grounds; getting more student representation and removing University representatives is definitely a good step towards democratising the Guild and re-establishing it as being under students’ control.**

Motion title Summary of motion My voting intention
9a) VPDR motion Change name of Guild ‘Vice President of Democracy and Resources’ to ‘Vice President of Democracy and Sustainable Resources’, better reflecting the aims of the role. For
9c) Guild Council Guidance Notes reform Ratify re-written Guild Council guidance notes to better reflect Guild’s current needs. For
Mostly; will ask for amendments to some points that seem questionable/give Chair of Council too much power
9d) Voting Regulations Both self-defining Disabled students and now those ‘who feel strongly’ about Disability (carers etc.) will be encouraged to vote for the Disabled Students’ Officer in elections. Against
To me, this motion violates the ‘liberation’ aspect of the DAMS Association (Disabled and Mental Health Students’ Association), and would prove disempowering to its members.
9e) Unethical companies should not be allowed to advertise jobs in the Guild Companies identified by Guild policy as being unethical/environmentally damaging will no longer have their job spaces actively promoted by the Guild.
The Guild is already disallowed from securing contracts/services from such companies by its Ethical Business Practices code; this would bring the Guild further in line with such policy.
Will check to see that in their place, alternative job opportunities will be actively pursued and promoted by the Guild.
9f) Changing the VPS’s title Change the title of the Guild Vice President (Sport) to Vice President (Sport and Nutrition) to better reflect the nature of the role. For
9g) Sports Club stereotyping prevention Make it commitment that the Guild clearly does not condone stereotyping of sports club members. For
9i) My Vote Motions in Guild Council that receive between 45-55% (inclusive) of votes For (vs. Against) or those with more Abstentions votes (vs. either For or Against individually) will be taken to online referendum for general students to vote on via my.bham. Against
Just about; I like the idea of having the general population of students voting on issues in the Guild.
But many votes pass with small majorities (say 53%) and it might in practice prove unwieldy and redundant to have numerous motions put up for referendum after every Council.
Also those voting in referenda wouldn’t be privy to the nuance of arguments that could be made in Council.
9k) Office hours Guild Councillors must hold 2×1 hour meetings with constituents before every Guild Council meeting for canvassing. Against
I’m not against the principle, I think it’s good to place more responsibility upon Guild Councillors and ensure they engage with their constituents.
But I don’t think enforcing this is best way to accomplish that; different Councillors and constituent groups might function in different ways, and alternative mediums for consultation might prove more effective.
9m) University Meetings For the Sabbatical Officer group to refuse co-operation with any University attempts at restricting officers/elected student representatives from engaging with the University. For
Allowing the University to exercise any such power over the Guild and our representatives undermines the credibility and effectiveness of the Guild in representing the interests of students.
This motion is in response to recent such actions by the University.
9p) Steering Council Alter the role/remit of Steering group to be more in line with those of other Student Unions; remove Sabbatical officers (minus VPDR) from the group. For
Steering is the group responsible for scrutinising motions submitted to Guild Council, and has the power to edit and occasionally reject motions based on a number of criteria (some of which are pretty open to interpretation).
This is power that can be abused politically, and its ability to reject motions is also unusual compared to other Unions, so I think it ought to be powered down.
Also given that many motions mandate Sabbatical officers, to have them judging the acceptability of motions prior to Council is a bit of conflict of interest.
9s) RA Training Improve the quality of training of RAs (Resident Associations for Halls). For
9t) Action The Guild will encourage and support students’ actions in defence of education, including protest by walkout, occupation and actions that disrupt University’s events. For
Definitely; the current climate for Higher Education is very unsettling, and the University’s happy complicity with the government’s destructive policies is not something students should be accepting in apathy.
Action is thus justified, and the Guild has a duty to support students here.
9u) Student Housing Guild should actively support financially viable alternative solutions to improving the state of accommodation/rent in Selly Oak et al., including affirming support for housing co-operatives. For

Let me know if you have any thoughts/concerns with my voting, or if you have any questions about the General Meeting.



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