Katherine Butterfield reports on the last QM Council meeting of the academic year
The last Student Council meeting of this academic year took place on the 28th February, 2017.
The meeting got off to a rather rocky start, as the Council was unable to reach quorum. As it got to around 7:15 (meeting scheduled to start for 6:30), the meeting finally commenced.
Firstly, the Executive Officers reported on their action plans which listed the achievements and updated council members on their work so far. Notable updates included progress on the prayer space plan, to find a suitable room for those who observe Friday prayer. VP Education Sumeera Ahmad reported that she was in negotiations for a room, and she believed it would not be long before they reached an agreement. So far, it appears the choice is between the Octagon and the Sports Hall.
Another update concerned residential fees. Officers were not invited to a meeting about price rises, and the University has acknowledged the Union’s complaint on this matter. Officers are currently attempting to negotiate a fixed increase, however they have had no solid assurances of such. They reported that, for university halls, the price of residence would rise in line with inflation for the next academic year.
BLSA President Will Atkins discussed the openingnew opening of a medical school in Malta which is a part of QM. He reported that the Union were debating ways in which they could support and represent the new students of that medical school, as it did fall under their jurisdiction.
There were a considerable number of motions put forth. The backlog was due to the previous council meeting not making quorum.
First up was VP Welfare Adam Sparkes presenting the case for the creation of a part time Trans Representative role for the Student Council. Arguing for it, he claimed that Trans issues were a lot more frequent and specific, so much so that the LGBT+ representative could not effectively deal with such issues due to time constraints. This motion was passed.
Next were four proposals put forth by Disabled and Specific Learning Difficulties Representative Will Dyer. Three proposals swept through with near unanimous support on the amendments concerning Disabled Go and accessibility training for societies. Most contentious of these motions were those concerning the dictation of an exam paper after the script was deemed illegible. Dyer called for a procedure which is used by most University of London Colleges, that of dictating a script if it is deemed illegible. Opposition to this motion was mainly concerned with those who could cheat the system. The motion was called to be referenced back.
Atkins called for the Union to provide the same perks and training for Student Council members as for non-Representative positions on the BLSA board. This motion was passed.
For motion 7.7 the Male and Female BL Boat Club captains called for recognition and support for women’s teams in mixed gender sport clubs. This debate mainly became entangled in funding, and after an amendment it passed to go to the Society Committee.
Following this, the next motion called for the Union to discuss and create time for Union staff to research the creation of a Student Housing Co-operative. The motion passed unanimously, and is taking a step closer to creating affordable housing for students.
The final two motions called for the instillation of an individual sanitary product machine in the BLSA building, and calls for the Union to commit to oppose Prevent and actively support groups that are campaigning against it; both of which passed.