LIVEBLOG: Union Senate
I am here, 4 pints in liveblogging a senate meeting – wish me luck xx
We are here with the Sabbs and chief executive of the Student Union and democracy officers, plus Union officers. Flora Noble has not been able to make the meeting.
Each saab gets five minutes to go through their reports
VP Education, Sam Deadman
Deadman apologies that his main points are seven pages long but reiterates that the main issue is currently the strikes. The academic rep restructure, adds another layer into the restructures which is an extensive piece of work.
There is a possibility of 14 day strike action across the exam period, but the main concern is that everyone gets their degree. The printing promise has unfortunately been bound by commercial rules, and the University is taking pricing issue seriously. Sam is hoping this will change, along with more study space.
Sam thanks reps and staff in the education zone.
The audience takes the floor.
Laura Barr asks: “there is too much of a distinction between students and course reps, how can you help those two work together?”
Sam answers: “By introducing post grads per faculty means better tailoring for course reps…we only fill half our course reps at the moment… there is still work to be done, hopefully we will get there”
VP student communities, Arun Aggarwal,
Arun starts with speaking about the Malaysian campus. “Malaysia was lit, I was able to get knowledge from how the Malaysian campus ties into work done with sites.”
He then moves on to speak about the culture festival – “Culture festival is bigger and badder and better.”
Arun wants The Tab to interview him (who doesn’t)?! We can arrange that bro. The culture week period celebrates international culture and also asserts generally, from a Union stand point, to engage with students. He stresses that he needs students to tell them what they want, so the sabbs can make positive changes. Arun wants a better presence at Avenue campus, and he can see this happening in the next couple of months.
Audience majority for a mini investigation into housing and student contracts
VP DCI, Evie Riley
The plan is they want to present the students to have a final say on the Union’s ‘make a change’ summit. HR are also involved with this organisational structure. It is a huge project, bigger than anything Evie has ever done.
There was a promise from the Vice chancellor that there will be more space for rehearsal groups. There will be a Creative Industries finance review.
The audience again take the floor – Giles Howard asks: “what do you think is the thing that is most worthy of improvement with spring elections?”
Evie replies”oh boy I have a list” we all laugh, especially the candidates. Trust me it was painful (not that I’m bitter)
Evie continues: “… the planning wasn’t great, no spaces were booked and no communications within the media groups…there should be a checklist that ensures things need to be completed by a certain date.”
VP Welfare, Sam Higman:
Sam begins by stating that the gender-neutral toilets, honestly got backlash. She says there are now five gender-neutral toilets and there will be new builds and the Uni will consider gender-neutral toilets in the new builds.
In terms of Sustainability, there are now only paper and re-usable straws. There are eco-friendly sustainable products and a disability awareness campaign. On reflection, the fayre doesn’t get the engagement that they wanted from it.
During the 16th-20th April there will be an exhibition on concourse about healthy relations and self-empowerment and also a ‘wall of mirrors’ which students can write positive messages on. Pop up food stalls is still a working process. In terms of working with Welfare Sports, there are lots of submissions which could have been better.
Overall, the housing fayre went well during refreshers and engagement went up. The LGBT history month also went well as did woman’s health month which involved STI screening today and mooncup giveaways – this is still ongoing. Most importantly bees are probably happening!
Laura Barr asks whether the project “expect respect will continue” with the new sabbs? Sam answers that she will make sure it will
Arun asks: “what will students be able to do with bees?” Scott CEO of the student union, jokingly says we can put leashes on them
Sam says they will be on a padlocked safe area, and they will be checked weekly to stop them swarming, and open up small visiting groups for students.
VP Sports, Steve Gore:
Steve warns that his senate report is fairly lengthy. He states that sports passes needs more value added to it, and wants the passes turned into a super-peak option. He wants to strive for a split membership costs over the year…even splitting the membership in half will help students.
There should be a cost-effective plan in place by next academic year. In order to cope with admin, they need to add an extra member of staff. This, however, did face a bit of resistance but if this does not happen Steve Gore will initiate petition!
There is a move towards having a unified sports department which collaborates sport and wellbeing over the Union. Steve mentions,”Varsity happened and we won, a lot of people commented best varsity ever and we raised about £6,000 pounds.”
There is talk of a gender-neutral sports tournament.
Steve concludes his senate report: “Other than that, I was re-elected, which was good.”
VP President, Flora Noble:
There is no saab report from Flora Noble as she is not here.
Sam Deadman has been in contact with Bath Union about Vice chancellor pay, and they responded that their Vice Chancellor resigned so there action was successful. There was talk of Flora to contact Surrey Union’s chief about restructure but this will be moved to next senate as she is not here.
The performing arts societies want to move into the sports zone as they are unhappy with current funding. But more clubs competing for the same amount of grants will be difficult as they have already overspent.
However, a merit of this would be that their guidelines would wave towards competitions. This echoes Evie’s concerns about full autonomy: they should be able to put case forward about where they can go, but the final say should be down to Union.
The senates are asked whether Flora Noble should have for a disciplinary for not turning up?
The majority vote yes, Flora Noble will be bought to a disciplinary
The next senate could potentially be very soon
Watch this space