CUSU Blog

“Cambridge University Students' Union (CUSU) exists to represent your interests and ensure that you have a say in your University experience. CUSU works by bringing together students from all colleges and departments in order to campaign for positive change in Cambridge. As Vice-President I will be representing Peterhouse at CUSU every fortnight: I vote at CUSU on behalf of the JCR and raise awareness of university-wide issues within Peterhouse.

Below you can find a summary of each CUSU Council meeting. If you'd like any further details contact me at vice-president@peterhousejcr.co.uk ” - Elizabeth Lloyd, JCR Vice President and External Officer 2016/17


23.1.17: Report on CUSU Council

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN BY VP E LLOYD, accompanied for the evening by Sam Longton

Pre-Discussion

Discussion

Constitutional Changes

Motions

Supporting a Boycott of the National Student Survey

Campaigning for Unconscious Bias Training in Colleges

Elections for Elections Committee

*And that's all folks. E Lloyd signing off for the last time...


24/10/2016 REPORT ON CUSU COUNCIL

A ONE TIME POST BY PRESIDENT FRAN HAWKER

Limiting CUSU’s promotion of external events to those that have step-free access • Limit which events and businesses which CUSU advertises • No limiting to student groups and societies advertised by CUSU – everything student run is not affected by this limitation • Problems with businesses advertising environments which are not step free • Businesses should hold there events which are accessible to everyone • Stop advertisement as an encouragement to businesses to find step-free locations for their events • No supporting data • Current advertisement is through the weekly bulletin • Particular recent example is a coding event meant for women and LGBT+ but did not have step-free access – was linked with Amazon so presumably they have funds to be in step free environment MOTION PASSES

Support the Truth for Giulio Regeni Campaign • The Egyptian authorities have admitted to investigating Giulio Regeni because of his research into independent unions in Egypt • The group has extended and is now working with Amnesty International • Put more pressure on University to give more of an affirmative stance on the events that occurred • Update of policy agreed in CUSU Council in Lent III last year • Any significant costs will be brought to Council in future (making contributions towards local publicity costs) • CUSU has always supported this campaign – this motion is just to update current Council policy with the way the campaign has grown • Mailing list available if anyone is interested in this campaign MOTION PASSES

Funding for Cambridge University Calais Refugee Action Group • CUSU provided £800 to CUCRAG (Cambridge University Calais Refugee Action Group) to allow students to go and help in humanitarian operations in Calais and associated areas where there are refugee camps • Remained in contact with many volunteers, and volunteers are continuing to be needed after the eviction has started • Asking for £800 from the CUSU free budget, as the volunteer effort cannot function without excess funding MOTION PASSES

Supporting the National Education Demo • Requesting £340 from free budget to travel to London to take part in the National Education Demo • Demonstrating against the increase in tuition fees (increasing to £9250 for new attendees in October) • Strong support from students and lecturers for the demonstration against rising fees • Those with keenest interest in Free Education are those who cannot afford the transport • Access Officer consulted with regards to costing – £340 is half the cost of a coach to London (split with ARU) MOTION PASSES

Opposing the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF2) • Carrying on with teaching framework would allow the University to charge an increased fee if they reached ‘Gold’ standard • Cambridge trying to decide if they will take part in the second year of the TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework) • Metrics used to assess teaching excellence do not actually tell anything about teaching excellence • TEF allows raising tuition fees (which has already happened as Cambridge automatically took part in the first year) • Universities that score lower are able to charge lower tuition fees – does not make sense to take away money from those universities which would need it most to provide better teaching • Much of the university do not agree with the TEF but universities are reluctant to opt-out • Competitiveness with tuition fees • CUSU should work with the university to convince them not to take part in the second year of TEF, and there should be cross-university agreements to stand up to the government against the TEF and changing tuition fees and increasing administrative power • Open letter to the University and information on how to oppose this in college • About engaging with the University to find the best solution • Government trying to get universities to participate e.g. taking power away from universities MOTION PASSES

Moving NUS delegate Elections to Michaelmas Term • Motion came to Council last term • (cheeky plug to make sure everyone knows this is happening and you can still run if you fancy and the voting will be happening soon) • NUS currently very divided – may be important to have a strong voice within NUS debates! MOTION PASSES

Support changes to CUSU’s affiliation fee model • CUSU one of the poorest student unions given how large the student body it represents is • Unsure where the money would come from in each college, if the college is being mandated to pay directly • May still result in JCRs and MCRs to have reduced funding, even though they do not have to find the money in their budget themselves • Students can still disaffiliate themselves • College disaffiliation should be purely political and not financial • Last year CUSU did a consultation of students and bursars to try and find a better funding model for how CUSU gets money from colleges • Wide variety of current systems • When colleges disaffiliate CUSU loses a large portion of their funding • Colleges shouldn’t have to make the choice between JCR/MCR related things, and affiliation to CUSU • What happens at Bursar’s committee? Mysterious un-minuted committee which claims they are not affiliated with the University – hard to get them to do anything • New model is dependent on students individually disaffiliating as opposed to entire JCRs • Same motion overwhelmingly passed at GU council in Easter term • At some point in the future CUSU and GU will hopefully be working more closely • This is a proposal for the bursars’ committee • Same amount of money but just comes from a different place (directly from college) • Disaffiliated JCRs/MCRs will have to start paying a levy unless all individual students have disaffiliated • Should disaffiliation involve a financial incentive? Major decision for council to make • Currently disaffiliated colleges are ‘tax-dodging’ as CUSU still subsidises the costs of students from disaffiliated colleges MOTION POSTPONED TO NEXT COUNCIL • Colleges need a chance to talk to their bursars about what will happen

Appoint Student Trustees​ • Approving nominations for Student Trustees • Not an overly exciting motion MOTION PASSES

Pilot the Board of Policy Scrutiny (BoPS) • Up to the goodwill of CUSU to update students about what happens to policy passed at CUSU Council • A smaller group would be a better platform to iron out any issues • Council should elect 2 JCR and 2 MCR presidents once a term • Not allowed to change policy, but can scrutinise policy • Make sure things are actually happening • There will be an online vote for people who have volunteered • Just a pilot before constitution and standing orders are reviewed MOTION PASSES

New elections committee candidate Audrey Sebatindira (current CUSU Women’s rep) • Result will be announced later this evening


10.10.16: Report on CUSU Council

Pre-Discussion

Motions

1. Moving NUS Delegate Elections to Michealmas Term

2. Oppose Change in Universal Bus Route

Elections

Chair

Elections Committee

CUSU Affliation Referendum will be held in Michealmas W4 after a discussion at Open Meeting following a petition by members of the college ("Pexit"). Update: Organisation still in the works - more information to come.

16.05.16: Report on CUSU Council

Budget Proposal:

Emergency Motions involving Ratification of Budget

1. Give extra funding to LGBT+ Campaign

2. Support TCS for another year

Motions

  1. CUSU EU Referendum
    • Large impact on Cambridge
    • Would like CUSU to encourage voter registration, disseminate information etc.
    • Motion passed.

Ratification

Motions (cont.)

  1. Assign money from Free Budget to fund exam related welfare events in Easter Term.

    • Motion passed
  2. Mandate CUSU to work with Cambridge African-Caribbean Society

    • Hold an event to promote access for BME students.
    • Gives clout
    • More needs to be done
    • Oxford have one
    • Motion passed
  3. Ensuring that Sabs can live among students
    • Allow Sabs to live in College accomdation to not discourage financially disadvantaged students from running as Sabs.
    • Motion passed

2.05.16: Report on CUSU Council

Intial Discussion:

  1. 'Truth for Guilio' Brief presentation by campaign who want justice for murdered Girton Student.

  2. Returning Officer's Report Brief presentation on lastest CUSU elections. Recommendations include changing voting platform and updating social media policy.

Budget Presentation:

  1. Income Streams: Affliation Fees, Univeristy funds, Commercial Services, External Publications, Membership Events. Few options to raise funds. Most money from advertsing but very variable, not paid straight away and would rather have Univeristy funds. Univeristy funds have increased as being given money for specific roles.

  2. Commercial Funds: Digital services making money, print losing money across the board. Society Fair makes the most.

  3. Spending: Office costs (steady, uncutable), Exectutive Administration (Sab Officer salary), Generating charitable income, Staffing support costs (increased due to increased number of staff) , Advice service (increased due to extra-Univeristy funds).

  4. Aims of Budget: Focus on 'core activity' - i.e. those in Constitution. Remove income streams that infer risk. Most of bids for income have been rejected. Univeristy "more likely to increase funding in the future" if handle money well. CUSU percieved as finacially incompetent - reduces funding opportunity.

  5. Budget Challenges: New DSO, print media losing income, improve reputation,

  6. Changes proposed: Maintain 6 sabbatical officers - Coordinator role deferred. Cease print applicaions - TCS and Fresher's publications.

  7. Print publications: TCS financial performance decreased over last 7 years, Freshers Publications can make profit or lose lots of money.

  8. Priscilla's points: Budget breaks even (as has to in Constitution) but also has 10K surplus. Need surplus for reserves as get less money from Univeristy.

  9. Questions:
    • Short notice for TCS cuts? CUSU have been informing TCS, although not throughly.
    • TCS formal channels? TCS editors reported to CUSU about lack of advertsing. Were told no negotiations. TCS haven't been making losses until this year, TCS told CUSU not the other way around. Priscilla: CUSU have known. Money generated at the beginning at the year - biggest demand for advertising. National newspapers also closing print editions and losing money. Jemma: Previous minutes record 'Informed TCS lost 20K, CUSU would give more money but can't take away from autonomous campaigns.' Jemma's personal opinon: support TCS, would want to fund TCS, but prioritise stability of CUSU.
    • LGBT+ budget queries.
    • Cambridge Union - Publish free booklet at beginning at year, make enough to support TCS. Would the SU give money to support TCS do something similar? Jemma: If increase budget have to find something else to reduce.
    • Info on online vs print figures? Priscilla: TCS have figures. CUSU have recieved complaints about too many print editions. Jack May: Tried to reduce print editions - currently 9000 copies, suggested to slash to 5000 copies. CUSU said wouldn't allow as TCS would become not commercially competitive.
    • Free budget? No information on, not spent that much. Reduce to support TCS. Priscilla: Don't have enough information on how the Free Budget should be used. Have tried to publicise.
    • NUS Conferances Fund - was all of budget used? Part of budget is for autonomous campaigns.
    • Options to cut at various levels - why complete cut? Priscilla: Financial difficulties not financailly incompetent. Room for manoevre if council can rearrange so no deficit.
    • Advice - constitution. Allow to continue one year with lump sum to put in cost saving measures? Board have considered but unwilling to put money in because too much of a risk financially and a risk to reputation.

Motions:

  1. Student Trustee Selection Group
    • Motion passed .
  2. Ensuring Fair, Equitable Rent Negotiations and Prices within Collegiate Cambridge
    • CUSU can't get involved in rent negotiations. Priscilla wants to empower college reps who can.
    • Most colleges banded - some flat rate - Priscilla campaigns against flat rate.
    • Proposal would mandate sucessor to continue.
    • Equaility Impact assesment form.
    • No figure from Univeristy on how much of income should be spent on rent.
    • Motion passed.
  3. Assisting Islamic Society in the provision of a venue for Friday Prayers
    • Friday Prayers part of relgion
    • Have lost venue - Mosque far away, having to pay for private venue. No fixed source of income and would like to be reimbursed.
    • Society Syndicate - not appropriate or relevant grants. Want security.
    • Extensive discussion of accounting, spending of Free Budget.
    • Motion on whether to keen Motion voted in 3 parts passed.
    • Full Motion passed.
  4. Opening Nominations for the CUSU Disabled Students' Officer
    • Motion passed.
  5. Deferring the Election of the CUSU Coordinator
    • No need for Representative for 'boring admin jobs'.
    • Should put role on staff - admin on staff, representative role can be spread to Sabs.
    • Easier to evaluate role if defering election as no-one in role to be hurt.
    • Points againsts by Cornelius Roemer: Already have admin difficulties, already constitution difficulties. Coordinator can take on other roles. Need to represent ALL students, not all Sabs do - removing coordinator takes away from that.
    • Extensive disscussion
    • Motion passed.
  6. Approve the Sabbatical Officer Contracts for 2016-17
    • Adminstrative conformation of elections.
    • Cornelius Roemer objects to some of clauses.
    • Angus Satow suggests overtime pay.
    • Motion passed.
  7. Enact a Referendum on Disaffliation from the National Union of Students
    • Malia Bouattia, new NUS President, could be viewed as anti-semitic under the NUS definition.
    • Anti-semitism is still a problem in the UK - "Anti-semitism is not a historical artefact of the 1940s. This is a problem of our everyday lives."
    • Ammendments made.
    • Opposition Speeches: Motion just about Malia Bouattia not NUS, Malia Bouattia "didn't make anti-Semitic remarks", just anti-Israel remarks.
    • “Malia has defined Zionism in a political way.”
    • “An antisemite would not admit to being an antisemite.”
    • “The NUS is a factional organisation. It was Malia’s faction who voted not to have a Jewish student on the Arab committee.”
    • Voting takes place in parts. All parts passed
  8. Motion for Rational and Consultative Budgeting for 2016-17
    • Deferred

Motion to hold 'Dissafliate CUSU from NUS' Referendum 2.05.16

In advance of CUSU council being held on 2nd May, I conducted a survey on whether the Peterhouse JCR would like their CUSU representatives to vote in favour of a motion to hold a referendum to dissafliate CUSU from NUS. This motion is being held as a result of allegations of anti-semitism by the newly elected NUS President. The results of the survey are below.

Q1. Do you believe that the motion to call a referendum on disaffiliation of CUSU from NUS should be passed?

Q2. How much about the current NUS situation do you know?

Q3. Would you vote in a referendum were it held?

Additional comments made by students were read and considered.

As a result of the survey, both of Peterhouse's CUSU Council votes will be in favour of referendum.


Report on CUSU Hustings 29.02.16

CUSU elections open at midnight on Mon 29th/ Tue 1st. Vote at www.vote.cusu.cam.ac.uk . This blog post is a summary of CUSU Election hutsings held on 29th February 7-10pm. Disclaimer The opionion stated "Opinion:" is my opionin based on my experience at hustings. It is no way an endoresement or an inducement to vote for or against any of the cadiates - you must all make up your own minds. Plesae remember RON is a candidate in all elections.

CUSU President:

Questions:

  1. The President has to be approachable to student body - all different types of students. Do you think you are approachable and how would ensure you were consistently approachable?
  2. President has to sit on important committees and needs to make difficult decision and occasionally stand up for not the majority - for example autonomous campaign or grads. What is they want you to do something that is not most popular option?
  3. Are you approachable to student press in Cambridge?
  4. Why did you run for President not Co-ordinator - Co-ordinator is more about implementing change as implied by your policies? Would you run as Co-ordinator if not elected as President?
  5. How can CUSU engage students in issues such as - decolonisation, abolishment of Tompkin’s Table - there may be a large census at CUSU council but not across the University whereas still controversial - what would you do about this?
  6. What do you think is the best thing CUSU have done in last year and what would have done differently?
  7. Which candidate would you vote for, if you were not running yourself, and which would you be least likely to vote for?

Cornelius Roemer

Angus Satow

John Sime

Amatey Doku


15.02.16: Report on CUSU council

Initial Discussion:

  1. Student Trustees
    • 2 CUSU council members are needed to sit on CUSU trustee committee for next year.
    • CUSU trustees ensure that CUSU are ‘following their mandate’
  2. Sabbatical Officer Workload
    • This was raised as a concern at the last council meeting, this council the President reported back based on those concerns.
    • There are support staff who do admin for Sabbatical Officers so they can focus on ‘their campaigns’. Due to low funding CUSU don't employ as many as they could/should
    • Sabbatical officers have to prioritise what to focus on
    • if a sabbatical officer takes time off, a temp will fill their administrative role whilst other sabbatical officers try and cover their ‘campaign role’.
  3. FOI
    • In response to motion passed at last council meeting, some council members requested an update on what CUSU and council members had done.
    • CUSU have been contacting other student unions
    • Some JCRs/MCRs have spoken to their bursars - others mandated to do so by motion passed at last council.
    • Request for a fact sheet from CUSU

Motions:

  1. Emergency motion: Call for a full investigation into the death of Giulio Regeni
    • Mandate the sabbatical officers to sign the petition launched to pressure the UK government to conducted a full investigation and for them to circulate it to other universities
    • Mandate council members to publicise the petition to their JCRs/MCRs
    • Write a letter from CUSU to the British and Italian Ambassadors to Egypt.
    • This motion passed

14.02.16: Summary of CUSU Survey (taken Week 4 Lent 2016)

Firstly I would like to start by saying that I am not a representative of CUSU to the college but a representative of Peterhouse to CUSU. I am not pro or anti CUSU and am here to communicate the views of the college to CUSU not endorse CUSU to the college. I will be impartial in all my communication in either direction. I will listen to any of your views, answer as many of your question as I can and do my best to represent the Peterhouse JCR in all things!

Next to clear some confusion that appeared in the survey answers:

To answer some questions that arose:

A brief summary of the survey, of which there were 32 respondents:

My next actions as a result of the survey:

I hope this has cleared up questions and answered your concerns. Please email me at vice-president@peterhousejcr.co.uk if not. Thank you to everyone who answered the survey and who read to the end of this blog post!


1.02.16: Report on CUSU Council

Initial discussion

Lack of resources and overworked CUSU officers.

Implementation of ‘Rent Workshops’ at colleges to discuss more uniformity of rents across the university.

CUSU affiliated groups and online platforms

Motions

1. Cantabs for Persecuted Students

2. Appoint Connor MacDonald as Part-Time education campaigns officer.

3. Freedom of Information