Here’s how I voted on behalf of BEMA at the last Guild Council of he 2012/13 year.
Positives to note: passed motions in support of action towards getting Full-time Liberation officers, and (semi-)successfully Vote of No Confidenced a Guild Officer on grounds of being racist and sexist.
|Motion title||Summary of motion||My vote||Outcome|
|15a) Liberation Emergency MotionsDeferred from last Council||Allow Liberation Associations to propose Emergency motions with priority after the deadline for regular motions if they are of urgency to the Association and/or its members.
-Changed to Liberation and Representation associations.
-Allow adequate time in agenda for discussion of motion also.
|15b) Full-Time Liberation OfficersDeferred from last Council||Investigate possibility of introducing Full-time paid Sabbatical Liberation Officers, working alongside the President/Vice Presidents of the Guild.||For||Passed|
|15c) Correct motivation for Sabbs Deferred from last Council||Get rid of excessive perks for Guild Officers; remove references of ‘CV bettering’ from advertising for positions to ensure that those running for positions apply for the right reasons.||N/A||Motion withdrawn|
|15d) ESD motionDeferred from last Council||Ensure that in the long-term, ‘Education for Sustainable Development’ is integrated holistically into the University curriculum.||For||Passed|
|15e) Support Workers motionDeferred from last Council||Outline the Guild’s belief that the University is a community, with social responsibility and commitments (as opposed to some commodity or service).
Also, Officers to write letter to University management outlining the Guild’s opposition their decision to propose redundancies and contract changes for support staff.Amended: Sabbatical Officers to consult with proposers over the letter content – it should welcome the concessions made so far by the University, but stand firm by the principle that the changes proposed are on the whole detrimental to workers.
|15f) Apprentices||The Guild should offer work experience and apprenticeships to local young people, and lobby the University to do the same.||N/A||Passed
|15g) FE cooperation||Guild to try and establish links with FE Unions in Birmingham and support them, given that they’re often under-resourced.||N/A||Passed
|15h) Student Businesses||Guild to prioritise student/alumni-led businesses when looking for business to operate within it.
Also give them benefits/perks over those given to regular companies.
|15i) Guild Council Guidance Notes||Tweak system of proposing amendments to motions in Council, so that they can’t be called mid-discussion etc.
Amended: Accepted amendments become property of amender (instead of original motion proposer; so amender can chose whether to accept further amendments)
|15j) Establishing Quoracy||Quoracy of Council to be determined by a running count of voting pads/ID cards.||N/A||Passed
|15k) Protecting personal privacy||Reserved Open Place Guild Councillors positions (e.g. for LGBTQ, Disabled, BME) to be filled by a system that allows candidates to avoid publically disclosing their membership in those minority groups.||N/A||Motion withdrawn|
|15l) Appointment Panel Make Up amendment||Removes University representatives from the Appointments Panel (who decide upon Trustees from candidates, to be ratified by Council), and replaces them with elected members of Council.||N/A||Passed
|15m) Student Movement||Make clear that the Guild’s position within the student movement is not one of isolation, but directly impacted by and impactful upon other Unions and groups nationally.||N/A||Passed
|15n) Timetabling||Support/lobby University to ensure that standard timetabled lecture days don’t extend beyond 4 or 5pm, so that students (particularly Home Students) can attend social/society stuff, and Guild Council.||N/A||Left undiscussed due to time*|
|15o) Book Exchange||Try and set up a formal book exchange system for 2nd hand books for students of the school of English, Drama and American & Canadian studies.
Amended: Officer shouldn’t take control of fair, relevant course reps and G.Councillors should.
|N/A||Left undiscussed due to time|
|15p) Free Fab||Remove guest list (and +1) entry for Sabbatical officers to ticketed events run by the Guild.||N/A||Deferred due to time|
|15q) Love your officers||Bring back commendations (analogous to reprimands) for Guild Officers who have done good.||N/A||Left undiscussed due to time|
|15r) SGC composition||Remove the VP (Democracy & Resources) from the Student Groups Committee (who ratify societies/pass penalties against them etc.) and replace them with another elected student.||N/A||Left undiscussed due to time|
*i.e. these motions died and would need to be resubmitted.
15a) I voted For this because it helps the autonomy of Liberation Associations and could potentially allow the Guild to be more responsive to important Liberation issues should they come up.
15b) I voted For this because working for a Full-time officer is something BEMA have committed themselves to, and fully support in the case of the other Associations also.
15d) I voted For this because Sustainability is an important aspect to consider if our education here is to be holistic, relevant and outward-looking.
15e) I voted For this because it should be a duty of ours to support those with the University community when necessary.
15h) I voted For this because it sounded like a nice idea. The counter-argument that prevailed was that the Guild should only concern itself with, and extend such benefits towards, to its current members – not past.
Censures/Reprimands/Vote of No Confidence:
A Vote of No Confidence was triggered against the Home Students’ officer on the grounds that his conduct on a series of Facebook posts was indicated he had expressed, held, condoned and/or failed or sufficiently challenge (mostly) racist and sexist views.
The whole letter in support of the Vote, initially launched by BEMA members and signed by 27 Guild Councillors (as well as the evidence presented, and the HSO’s response in his defence) can be seen here
I voted For the Vote of No Confidence, and the Vote Passed.
Note: As it was a subquorate Guild Council, and the last of the year, the Vote couldn’t technically remove the HSO from his position (as the Vote couldn’t be ratified by a quorate Council).
So if anything this was more a ‘symbolic’ No Confidence vote.
I think it also means that the HSO would not be given honourary Officer Life Membership of the Guild.
For intervening in an apparently biased manner and refusing to allow – as per his mandate – Liberation Associations to discuss with the Residents Associations about some problems the latter had had with the RA Liberation Officers motion passed in May Guild Council.
i.e. It seemed that the VPHC had broken his mandate and rallied the RAs against the Liberation Associations, alienating the Liberation Assns.
In his defence, the VPHC said he hadn’t started the mandate yet, and that a meeting between the Associations had been arranged for the day after Council. Also said sorry for alienating us.
I voted For this reprimand, reprimand Passed.
The VPHC didn’t seem to really own up to his failure here and passed the blame a bit too much. Also caused unnecessary antagonism between the Liberation/Residents Associations.
For filibustering on a Guild Council motion in earlier Guild Council, and then intervening during a Trustee Board meeting that led to an important motion about changing Guild Council’s composition (to the benefit of BME representation, among others) not being ratified in time for implementation next year.
In his defence, the VPAD said that he was following standard protocol at the Trustee Board meeting.
I voted For this reprimand, reprimand Fell.
For cussing out a student at the General Meeting.
In his defence, the VPDR admitted his guilt and said sorry, and that he was worked up at the time.
I voted For this reprimand, reprimand Passed.
For failing to convene Entertainments Committee, which falls under his remit.
In his defence the VPDR said that he’d tried to do his job but circumstance prevented him dong so properly.
I voted to Abstain from this reprimand, reprimand Passed.