Here’s how and why I voted on behalf of BEMA at the ‘Extraordinary Guild Council’ held last Tuesday to deal with the large number of motions rolling over from previous Councils.
Quaintly enough, the EGC was unsuccessful in its aims – a number of motions have been deferred to the January Guild Council on 31/1 because snowfall deaded this Council.
Let me know if you have any problems or queries with my voting.
Sidenote: The General Meeting of the Guild that was meant to be held yesterday (28/1) has been adjourned due to some alleged malpractice taking place beforehand.
We’ll keep you updated on the new date – and hopefully see more BEMA members out there on the day.
|Motion title||Summary of motion||My vote||Outcome|
|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.
Amended: Change name to ‘Vice President of Democracy, Resources and Sustainability’
|9c) Guild Council Guidance Notes reform||Ratify re-written Guild Council guidance notes to better reflect Guild’s current needs.
Amended: Numerous edits with wording and clauses
|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.
Amended: those ‘affected by disability’ rather than those ‘who feel strongly’
|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.
Amended: 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.||X||Passed|
|9g) Sports Club stereotyping prevention||Make it commitment that the Guild clearly does not condone stereotyping of sports club members.
Amended: Changed wording so as not to infringe upon protected characteristics (race/gender/religion/sexual orientation): recognises that stereotyping is wrong but ‘-ism’ prejudices only are to be covered by Zero Tolerance policy.
|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||Fell|
|9k) Office hours||Guild Councillors must hold 2×1 hour meetings with constituents before every Guild Council meeting for canvassing.
Amended: 1×1 hour meeting mandated
|For (accident – meant to Abstain)||Fell|
|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.||N/A||Deferred to next Council|
|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
|9s) RA Training||Improve the quality of training of RAs (Resident Associations for Halls).||N/A||Deferred to next Council|
|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.||N/A||Deferred to next Council|
|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.||N/A||Deferred to next Council|
9a) I voted For this motion because even if it didn’t propose any particularly radical change in itself, steps bringing environmental issues to the forefront of the Guild’s activity are important and necessary; green issues aren’t as soft as some folks seem to think.
During the debate it was made clear that ‘Sustainability’ applied to economic and practical sustainability as well environmentally, I should point out.
9c) I voted For this because a revision of the GCGNotes was definitely necessary and I applaud the proposer for taking the task upon themselves.
A number of amendments were debated and passed that dealt with a few points in the Notes that I was initially reserved about; I was quite happy to vote For the final version.
9d) I voted to Abstain from this – the amendment made to the motion (that those ‘affected by disability’ rather than those ‘who feel strongly’ about it) was put in place to allow those who had previously experienced disability but who now no longer self-define as such to vote in DSO elections.
This brought up an important point, I felt, about the differences in Disabled liberation versus other liberation groups, where disability may not be a permanent or continuous state, and disallowing those who don’t consider themselves currently disabled from voting didn’t seem right.
However because this revision still meant that carers etc. that didn’t have any disability could vote on behalf of disabled people, I couldn’t vote in favour here.
9e) I voted For this on the condition that the Guild would seek out alternative job opportunities to replace those now disallowed from being advertised and avoid any deficit there – because the Guild has responsibility to its members as well as socially-ethical practice I reckon. The amendment assured this condition was met.
9f) I didn’t vote for this because I got distracted and missed the voting window.
I would have voted in favour though.
9g) I voted For this, and didn’t consider it as contentious a matter as some other people in Council; seemed like a decent enough gesture.
An amendment was made to the wording because it was felt that the original motion wrongly appropriated liberation language, whereas the concern at hand clearly wasn’t a liberation issue.
Even after this there was resistance to the motion seemingly on the basis that perhaps some stereotyping is justifiable…didn’t fly with me.
9i) I voted Against this for the reasons I outlined in my voting intentions – it seems to undermine the dynamic element of debate that is crucial to democratic decisions, especially ‘controversial’ motions. Also seemed a bad idea logistically.
9k) I (intended to) vote in Abstention for this. The motion was amended to mandate only one 1 hour meeting before each Council as opposed to the original 2×1 hours, which seemed now more reasonable.
The issues I had about mandating Councillors to hold meetings, whilst the composition of their constituencies might make them more conducive to other types of consultation, remained.
But not to the degree that I would vote Against this.
9m) This motion was deferred to next Council because snowfall led to this Council convening early.
I ain’t scared of no snow.
9p) I voted For this motion because Steering as it stood was very much open to mal-use (a few degrees shy of abuse).
Also I felt that Guild Council should be trusted with the responsibility of dealing appropriately and maturely with motions coming in, rather than having Steering decide if that is the case.
9s), 9t) and 9u) Were all deferred to next Council because of the snow.