Voting intentions for Extraordinary Guild Council 13/3/2014

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A number of amendments will be discussed tonight at the Extraordinary Guild Council on the Democratic Structures and Officer review, which will decide options for the campus-wide referendum next term on changes to Guild democracy.
Some ideas proposed in the Review are decent but in implementation seem poor alternatives to Guild Council. My other issues with the Review can be found here.

Below are a description and voting intentions on the amendments proposed to make the Review proposals more viable options – I’m judging them here on their own merits, (mostly) regardless of how I feel about the Review on the whole.

Any questions/queries get at me axs278 [at] bham.ac.uk

Peace,

Azfar

4a) Alternative Proposed Model
I intend to vote For this amendment

Main changes to the democratic model in this amendment are removing the bureaucracy of the model-as-initially-proposed. Instead of the multiple stages and votes needed to pass any proposals in the original model, this alternative has online indicative votes lead to a proposal being taken to a binding vote at a General Assembly (or dropped due to lack of interest), which then goes forth to ratification by the Trustee Board if required. This just seems to make more sense – if a proposal seems to have support from voters, going to another ratification vote with an unreasonably ambitious quoracy seems set up to fail, and would ensure that Guild democracy is slow and ineffective.
This amendment also outlines the role of a ‘Triage group’ that decides how best to categorise ‘Ideas’ sent in by members and what channels to take them through, ensuring that the proposals process is easier and more open to general students to involve themselves in. Also reduces the influence that staff members of the Guild have over this process, which is good.
Finally, it restores the ability to submit amendments to motions during discussion, which is crucial to having a fluid democratic system, and has allowed many motions to pass Guild Council through debate and compromise.

4b) Changing Initial Ideas Procedure
I intend to vote For this amendment

Outlines the role of the Triage group in deciding the fate of proposed Ideas; as above.
Still seems that the process is at risk of being weighed down with bureaucracy but compared to the initially proposed mechanism this is a positive measure.

4c) Representative Speakers
I’m unsure how I’ll be voting on this amendment

Elected speakers to represent Liberation and Representation groups will have a reserved place at General Assemblies, and will be prioritised, to ensure that those minority interest aren’t drowned out at the Assemblies.
Seems like a compromise between opening up Guild democracy and maintaining some degree of guaranteed representation for marginalised groups, but I think amendment 4d) provides a better solution to the issue (even if these two amendments are in opposition to each other really). Most likely to be voting For this anyway.

4d) Liberation Working Group
I intend to vote For this amendment

Motions/proposals pertaining directly to the work of Liberation groups shall be deferred to a Liberation Working Group and discussed + ratified by self-defining members of the group concerned, with feedback passed back to the General Assembly later. This way the students most affected by the issues concerned can vote upon them, while the general democratic bodies are still kept informed so that Liberation issues aren’t isolated from wider Guild consciousness and discourse. Sounds good.

4e) Student Steers
I’m unsure how I’ll be voting on this amendment

‘Student steers‘ are held fortnightly to mandate Guild officers, with proposed Steers being voted on with a quoracy of 150.
Not sure if adding another separate process to the Democratic model isn’t overload, need to hear out the argument for this proposal a bit more to see how it would work practically.

4f) Full Time Postgraduate Officer
I intend to vote For this amendment

Makes the Postgraduate Officer a Sabbatical, full-time role. Aite.

4g) Non-Sabbs + GOG
I intend to vote For this amendment

Retains non-Sabbatical officers (including Liberation officers) and replaced weekly Sabbatical Officer Group (SOG) meetings with Guild Officer Group (GOG) meetings which include the Non-Sabbatical officers, so that they have more influence over Guild directions and procedure instead of giving precedence to Sabbs. Also non-Sabbs get staff support to help burden their workload.
This seems more congruent with what the Review suggested should be done to improve support for Non-Sabbatical officers, before it took a turn and decided to abolish them. Having Liberation non-Sabbs is important for visibility and outreach and accountability, replacing them with Associations Chairs isn’t adequate.

4h) Guild Affairs Name Change
I intend to vote For this amendment

The review proposed changing the name of the Vice President of Democracy, Resources and Sustainability (VPDRS) to the ‘Guild Affairs Officer’. This amendment proposed changing it to the ‘Democracy and Sustainability Officer’.
Agreed.

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