MINUTES OF THE UNION COUNCIL MEETING HELD ON THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER 2008 Executive Officers Present: James Scott – VP:Activities & Development, Di Caplinska – VP:Commercial Development & Communications, Orla Rodgers – VP:Academic Affairs, Rahul Mulchandani – Ethnic Minorities Officer, Meera Shah – International Students Officer, Sarah Knox – Disabled Students' Officer & Chris Esser – Mature Students' Officer Union Councillors Present: Gareth Leech – Built Environment, Cat Tsang – Business, Paul Butler & Sara-Jayne Harvey – Health & Social Care, Kenny Kong – Technology, Aaron Brownsdon – Environmental Officer, Ian Hiscock – Spots Liaison Officer In Attendance: Helen West – General Manager, Val Price – Support Services Admin Assistant (minutes), Jon Biggs – Student Advice & Activities Manager, Gwen James & Brian Putman – Student Observers The Student Advice & Activities Manager started the meeting with a talk about the Union Committee Structure and other issues that councillors would find useful during their term of office. The Business School Union Councillor left the meeting before any business began. 1. Apologies for Absence The President, VP:Welfare & Equal Opportunities, Halls’ Representative, Philip Inman (Gipsy Lane Representative) and The Independent Chair. The meeting had 13 attendees and was declared inquorate. All decisions made will need to be ratified at the next Union Council. 2. Minutes of Last Meeting Deferred to next Union Council. 3. Matters Arising from those Minutes It was confirmed that the ten Union principles are available to everyone and can be found on www.thesu.com under the representation link. You can also find them on the My Students Union Council group on the Vision 2011page. 4. Executive Reports & Plans President The President was not present at the meeting but any questions concerning her report should be e-mailed to her. VP:Commercial Development & Communications Q. Why is the safety bus initiative your responsibility? A. The responsibility has been shared historically between the VP:Commercial Development & Communications and The VP:Activities & Development. Recently a proposal was passed by the Executive so that responsibilities for the safety bus would be relevant to the role of the officers concerned to allow for a balanced workload Q. Brookes Bus services are slow and often don’t turn up at all. What is being done to rectify the problems? A. I am in contact with the person within the University who deals with the Brookes Bus operation. So any complaints should be sent by e-mail to me and I will pass all comments and complaints on. However students should be ready to board the bus and have money/cards ready. Brookes Bus is campaigning for this at present. Q. Did you attend the Sports’ Fair? A. Yes on both days. All sports teams, even if not affiliated, were looked at. Q. Is there a facility for people who are deemed to ‘not yet be at team standard’ but are keen to learn a sport? A. If you go to join a team at the Sports’ Centre you should be offered basic training in that sport. This a a H& S requirement. Q. You state that Lidl have approached you – can you give us more details? A. I am hoping to get sponsorship but cannot say any more yet. Q. I am aware that sports’ teams have initiation ceremonies. Can’t these be stopped? A. The Union has a safe drinking policy and societies must abide by these policies. If any one wants to see any of the policies, The Support Services Admin Assistant will be able to provide them for you. The VP:Academic Affairs Q. What does the University use the money raised by tuition fees for – has it ever been investigated? A. I have a report from Paul Large, Director of Finance & Legal Services, to show how fees are calculated. UK students pay 30% of actual cost and international students pay the whole amount. The Union produced a report to show the underspend – the definitive amount was not given but I can circulate the document. Q. The tuition fees were decreased by £80 this year after you got involved, was that for all students? A. No, just for UK students. VP:Welfare & Equal Opportunities There were no questions regarding the VP:Welfare & Equal Opportunities’ report. VP:Activities & Development’s Report The VP:Activities & Development apologised for the lack of detail in his report and said he wasn’t aware of what was needed. Q. Why weren’t you aware? A. We had training but because of Freshers’ and this year’s early first Council, training time had been cut considerably. Q. Events funds rules have been changed – why? A. Budgets are set as if the event will make a loss. If they are a success and none of the events fund is used, the society can now apply again for a different event. If just £1 of the events fund was used this rule cannot be applied. Q. What are the rules and regulations in relation to Society advertising? A recent advert was only in Chinese - surely that indicates only speakers of this language are invited to attend? A. Socieities are meant to be all-inclusive. Perhaps Societies should be able to advertise in their own language as long as it is in English as well. JS The VP:Activities & Development was asked by the Technology Councillor to ‘investigate which society’s publications are not in English and why they can’t put them in English, as many societies do not have an issue with promotions using the official language of this country’. He will report back at the next Union Council on 30 October Disabled Students' Officer Q. Is the Disability Society only for disabled students? A. No it’s for everyone. Q. Have you had much interest in the Disabled Society? A. A few students have shown an interest and I now need to talk to them to discuss what they want from such a society. Women's Officer’s Report There were no questions regarding the Women's Officer’s report International Students Officer’s Report This had not been included with the papers by mistake. The Support Services Admin Assistant will e-mail the International Students Officer’s report to all Council members who can contact her with any questions. Q. What are your objectives? A. To help to achieve a reduction in fees charged to international students and to start up an International Society which will include the presidents of other societies: German, Chinese etc The following officers had not submitted reports but were invited to give a verbal report: Ethnic Minorities Officer The Ethnic Minorities Officer objectives are to look at what ethnic issues there are and to ensure that all cultural groups are included and represented in the SU. Mature Students' Officer’s Report The Mature Students' Officer: Wants to make the University aware what mature students want and need from Brookes; Has changed the name of the Mature Students’ Society’s name to the 21+ Society; Wants to change the name of the Mature Students’ Officer; Has been preparing for the Mature Students’ Forum which will be held on Friday of week 5 in G119. The topic will be the fears/anxieties/needs/problems of mature students. The findings will be collated and presented to the University; Wants to set up a babysitting service through STAX. He confirmed that he had been liaising with the VP:Welfare & Equal Opportunities regarding the intended mature students’ forum. The LGBT Officer was not at the meeting to give a verbal report. The AGM is at 3pm on Friday 17 October and will be held in the SU Venue. Deadline for submissions is 3pm Friday 3 October. 5. General Manager’s Report The General Manager confirmed that the news of a bronze Sound Impact Award being achieved by the SU was on the website. The VP:Commercial Development & Communications is working hard on making students aware that we have achieved this and are part of the scheme. 6. Reports from all sub-committees There were no questions regarding the sub-committee reports. 7. Motions Motion to Restrict Smoking around the Premises of the Students’ Union The motion was discussed but could not be voted on as the meeting was not quorate. However it was decided that the Union will look at our own spaces and ensure the 3 metre rule is not being broken especially by staff, both Union and University although it was accepted that this rule is hard to police. The President attends the University Health and Safety Committee which meets next in mid October. Any questions, comments, concerns should be forwarded to her. 8. Emergency Motions None submitted 9. Any Other Business Update on Vision 2011: The Union put together ten principles which we believe are our core values and would be used to achieve our Vision for 2011. The University didn’t accept these principles when they were initially submitted and asked for some of them to be changed or amended in some way. The principles were formulated after protracted consultation with students but the University ware unhappy that they weren’t involved in this process. At present the University are discussing the principles internally and will report back to the Union what they think are the ten principles and those will then be taken for consultation with students. Further dialogue/consultations have been agreed and following this the revised principles will be taken back to the membership. Q. What subsidy does the University give to the Union? A. £600,000 per annum in the form of a block grant. Q. If the Union don’t have complete control then surely they can’t become number 1? A. Absolutely but the university think the opposite is true – they think the Union cannot be autonomous if we have control over services. Meeting finished at 8pm.
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