Computers, committees, and choice: the #LincSUCouncil report

Everything you want to know – and more – from February’s SU council meeting

council library students union the shed volunteering

The Lincoln SU council meetings are usually packed – full of controversy, argument, debate, and this time it was full of people too.

Last Monday evening saw the top floor of The Shed rammed with council members, interested parties, and the odd reporter. So rammed, in fact, that it was almost impossible to hear what was going on. The new venue, which replaced the warm and wifi-less Cargill Lecture Theatre, was immediately ruled out for future councils.

The most controversial item of the night was only compounded by the poor acoustics: the creation of a women-only women’s committee, with men only allowed to attend with permission from the chair of the committee.

Some complained that men were also interested in women’s issues, and should have the right to speak at the committee. One woman proposed that, in the interest of equality, there also ought to be a men’s committee. Another suggested that the debate should be postponed until “when we can hear people talk”.

Ultimately, though, all that shouting was worthless – the voting council members all squashed together to vote in favour of the original women-only proposal, which Brian Alcorn, VP Welfare and Community, praised as a “safe space for women to speak”.

That wasn’t long over before the shouting began again, as the SU announced that they wanted suggestions for a new name for The Shed, the on-campus pub that the SU took over in January. Good ideas were in short supply, but the criticism was flowing.

“Shouldn’t the SU do proper market research like normal companies would do?” asked one member, with another noting that “a lot more students are concerned about the refurb of The Shed rather than the name”.

The “open session”, which was open to any student who could shout loud enough, began with a list of lacklustre names that had already been submitted by email. They included ‘Your SU Pub’, ‘Your SU Bar’, ‘The SU’, and ‘The Nest’.

However, a select few did praise the work of the Students’ Union. “It’s up to them what they do first, but they’ve given us a chance to speak,” one council member said.

The referendum on the name of the Shed – dubbed “a waste of resources” by several people at council – has since gone live, with the choices narrowed down to ‘The Brayford Arms’, ‘The Swan’, ‘The Nest’, and of course ‘The Shed’.

A representative from the other side of campus also came to speak at the meeting. Ian Snowley from the library came to update the council on their improvements.

He announced that they’d tripled the amount of Macs available, have introduced a feature that saves work automatically when you lock a computer, will be rolling out a ‘text LOUD’ system for when someone is being too noisy on the non-silent levels, and accepted the proposal of “food areas” on part of the first and second floors.

Lincoln GCW Library

The library has undergone several changes in the past year, and more are yet to come

While there was good news for library users, tennis players didn’t fare so well this council. A representative from the tennis society had asked for tennis courts on campus at a previous meeting, and while SU President Dan Sam had followed this up, he told the tennis fans that “the simple answer is no”. The estates team have other priorities that will affect more students, he was informed.

Joe Burt, VP Activities, seemed confident that this lack of facilities wouldn’t restrict Lincoln’s rise up the BUCS rankings. Lincoln is currently in 63rd place out of almost 150 universities, and Joe says the long-term plan is to get Lincoln into the top fifty.

Other updates from the meeting included:

  • attendance on committees was up to 88%
  • links with the Lincoln foodbank, so that the SU can refer students in need
  • volunteer registration with the SU was up more than 20% to 446
  • the success of recent international culture events
  • closer links with Bishop Grosseteste and Lincoln College to better represent students in Lincoln

Eventually though, the two hours was up, the free pizza was all gone, and the SU council meeting for February was over. By the time next month’s meeting happens, we’ll have had SU elections, and no doubt change will be in the air…

Lincoln Students' Union building as it appeared 26/02/2014

How long will the front of the SU look like this?