The SU’s Annual Members Meeting was a bit of a shambles

We’re keeping our safe space after all

Last night Bristol SU hosted their Annual Members Meeting (or AMM) in the Anson Rooms, where students voted on a series of motions that affect how the union (and the university) are run and organised.

But the serious discussions on safe-safe policies and the organisation of the Union too a bit of a backseat to the hilarious mishaps that frequented the evening.

The suspense is building...

The suspense is building…

On entry, we were given a voting remote and free pizza (highlight) and after waiting for an hour for the even to begin were instructed to vote on the different motions when prompted following speeches for and against the proposals.

The voting remote

The voting remote

However, after the first motion was passed with seeming ease, the night quickly took a strange turn. Voting was not displaying correctly on the audience screen, and there was obvious dissent in the crowd, with one audience member asking for the microphone and saying: “It’s quite clear that no one has any idea what is going on”.

Some comic relief was also provided by the projection of the live Twitter feed for tweets using the hashtag #IAMMHere. Like a red rag to a bull, the audience quickly jumped on the chance to entertain one another with tweets comparing the theatre to Nando’s and others organising taxi rides together through this new form of social media.

The Twitter feed

The Twitter feed

But after this brief confusion resulting in the electronic voting system being abandoned alltogether (ironically, this was decided by a hand vote), a speech from the Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Leiven and the arrival of the really engaging motions set the evening back on course.

First there was the motion to move the SU to the university campus, a proposal that a lot of students I spoke to supported whole-heartedly. The motion was passed, however the logistics are still a long way off being understood, and the time frame for this process is anyone’s guess.

Jamie Cross speaking on Union Organisation

Jamie Cross speaking on Union Organisation

A motion calling for a referendum on the Safe Space policy provided some of the most heated discussion of the evening. The motion was proposed by the Journalism Society’s Ben Kew, with counters from the audience appealing to the inherent value of the policy on keeping student’s safe and protecting their well-being. The motion was eventually defeated, despite a recent poll of students at Bristol resulting in a vote to remove the policy all together.

Finally, the remaining motion that interested most people was that which called for ‘the University to divest from Israel’s illegal Occupation of the West the President of Bristol Friends of Palestine, Daniel Wernberg. an opposing speaker from the audience argued that divestment would harm Palestine as much as it would Israel. After much debate, the motion was eventually passed at 117 for to 92 against, a victory for the Friends of Palestine Society and Daniel Wernberg.

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