“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 firstname.lastname@example.org ” - 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
- Nice chat wih SL about Eelctions Committee, JCR President elections, Room Points and what we did for Christmas.
- Update from LGBT+ autonomous campaign - apologies for previous non-attendance, preparation for LGBT+ history month, changes to constituion
- BME campaign update - website update, contact JCR BME officers, response to recent racist Cambridge student (verbally attacked Bristol student)
- Degree classification survey
- Student Teaching Awards - need people to judge the awards. Contact Roberta.
- Progress on class lists? Being brought up end of this term, might go on for the rest of the year. Probably not in place for this year.
- Physical Assesibility guide - all communical areas have to be wheel chair assesible. Google form - get welfare to handle.
- Shadowing scheme - bar shouldn't serve alcohol to them.
- P&E dinner at Jesus on 9th Feb.
- Union Development Team - Jesus and Homerton JCR Pres on, Amatey head off.
- Constituion out of date - latest 2012. Charity commisson haven't seen since 1989 - Union Development Team want to be in line with the law.
- Quite a lot of constitution being moved to the Standing Orders, makes easier to change and reduces number of referendums.
- Constitution referendum to run in Lent.
- Trustees - requirement under Chairty Law. Ultimate financial responsibilty.
- Clarify - e.g. no financial benefit
- Make easier to remove
- Open Meeting - not really used. Replace with 'General Meetings', more important than CUSU council, all students can vote, quorum laid out in Standing Orders, stipulations to being called - need 2% of students (460) to call.
- Q: Vunerable to infiltration by certain groups? Surely JCR Presidents etc. more representative. A: Strict quorum to avoid. Want space for members to talk to directly
- Q: Feasible? A: Laid out - use video and audio links in up to 3 locations.
- Q: Quorum for general meeting should be in consitution as is importatnt? A: Yes, will look into
- Q: Should move quorum for referudums otherwsie rendundant. A: Yes, will look into
- Ammendents to constitution - edit quorum, currently 10% in vote in favour, change to General Meeting with 2/3rd voting in favour and referendum with 10% in favour OR 10% overall?
- Q: change from yes/no questions? A: Yes, will look into
- Q: Might force more engagement of CUSU if we keep the same.
- Complaints - currently long and involes the coordinator, now defunct. Move to code of conduct run by council. Introduction of sanctions? (i.e. removal of student membership)
- Referendums - seperate constitution and issue based. For the latter suggest 2% of members to trigger.
- External Trustees - increase number of external trustees up to 4, needs to be ratified by 75% majority.
- Removal of Trustees - increase ways can remove.
- More to come in Lent II, consultation on the Standing Orders
- Q: Trustees can over ride something that "may not be in the best interests of the Union or all or any of its charitable objects" - seems excessively broad. A: Is fairly standard, part of NUS Model Constitution, would not be used lightly.
- Q: "The Trustees and the Student Council shall have the power from time to time to jointly make, repeal or amend Standing Orders as to the management of the Union and its working practices provided that such Standing Orders shall not be inconsistent with this Constitution." A lot of power to the Trustees? A: Fairly standard, makes it seem like more power than actually get. Can understand concerns. Will have another look at the clauses.
Supporting a Boycott of the National Student Survey
- Policy standing to oppose TEF already
- NSS - will help to inform fees.
- Cambridge applying for Gold Award. Will almost definitely get: Data for Gold Award comes from 2013-2016. Gold Award lasts for 3 years.
- Boycott now for 3 years down the line. Then university doesn't have any data.
- 50% quorum required.
- Low transparency at the moment - members should educate. Questions
- 3 metrics - NSS, retention, graduate employment
- Current participation rate 65% - not as high as other Univeristy. Probably feasible to drop below 50%
- Univeristy will be pushing NSS as much as possible. Financial and Reputational issues.
- Possible that House of Lords will block - link with fees not in Manifesto
- Other univerisities are joining in - 35 total MOTION PASSES
Campaigning for Unconscious Bias Training in Colleges
- Happens in some - not consistent
- Particularly affects BME students and training is general with a focus on BME
- Colleges should take responsibility for MOTION PASSES
Elections for Elections Committee
- Roberta Huldisch spoke about better social media rules and more assisibility.
- Chad Allen was classic Chad Allen.
*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
- Currently trying to ensure autonomous campaigns do attend CUSU council to give their announcements – they are constitutionally bound and there have been complaints about lack of attendance in the past.
- CUSU elections committee Facebook page has all important information for upcoming elections.
- BME events at Jesus for Black History month, such as about Britain’s colonial past.
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
- Condoms - changed to cheaper brand, decision to be analysed by Sophie Buck.
- Vice-Chancellor, class list - vote upcoming.
- Attendance from liberation campaigns is low - any update on ensuring they attend CUSU council?
1. Moving NUS Delegate Elections to Michealmas Term
- NUS delegates elected in March but NUS Conference in April - should be more time to hold delegates and NUS to account and represent Cambridge.
- First step following result in referendum - allows draft policy, people to know who they are etc.
- Q: Have to have certain diveristy requirements. Any way to ensure we meet that and fill all the roles? A: Moving elections allows time to fill any unfilled postiions. Best way to try and fill is to publicise widely.
- We've never had any motions drafted - this would be a way to fix that.
- "Beginning of a broader conversation about how to deal with the NUS"
- Motion passed
2. Oppose Change in Universal Bus Route
- uni4 bus changed to Universal Bus Route but cuts out Homerton among others. Due to be implemented in November.
- Made to save 63K by Planning and Resource Committee
- Nobody consulted
- Motion passed
- Rachel Mander - experience on Newham JCR, know how important to have a good chair
- Leticia Salmon - freshers at Homerton, want to make a difference
- Sebastian Wrobel - Masters at Wolfson, President of Students Parliament, sat on various counsels, Law student good at statutes, new to Cam so impartial
- Sam Longton (Peterhouse represent!!) - fresher so unbiased, no experience of "seedy world of student politics", CUSU needs impartiality on Elections Committee, yay democary
- Jon Wall (NatSci represent!!) - regulates CUSU, candiates, and press and have been involved in all areas: former Trustee, ran a camapign, worked for Varsity
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
- Same as previously
- Website costs are budgeted at £10,000 - why so much? Expensive because using NUS platform - is worth it. Looking at expanding into NUS other platforms. Unknown how much would be if disaffliated.
- Who said about "Core activities" - does TCS not count as core? Came from CCSU board, budget commended - implicit approval.
- What does CUSU do? Check out Priscilla emails.
- Low interest from bank account given amount of money there. High bank fees. Cash point different from Tax point. Never very much money in bank account - debts and liabiltites. Interest rates flat for last few years. Open to looking into.
- £11,000 on staff training and development - why so much? Proportional - Sabs get £3000 each, more staff than Sabs. Usual for charities. Would be hard to maintain staff if got rid of - owe it to staff to train and develop work force. Most comes from University - understand that CUSU have to try and be competitive.
Emergency Motions involving Ratification of Budget
1. Give extra funding to LGBT+ Campaign
- LGBT+ Campaign one of largest.
- Funding has been cut.
- Woud like to be restored to similar size as Women's Budget.
- Would focus funding on Publication.
- Would like to get money from Free Budget.
- Q: Do you spend all the money? Yes - need all
- Q: Sponsorship? Some but variable. Companies drop out, don't want to focus on fund raising as want to focus on supporting members.
- Q: Why variable? Alumni involvement ended. Just the way things work out.
- Q: Lost sponsorship becasue someone forgot to renew contracts? Not to current President's knowledge. CUSU: CUSU oversee sponsorship, not aware of missed contracts.
- Q: Permenant? Does this set president? Response to funding cut.
- Motion passed
2. Support TCS for another year
- Already know how important - focus on "business side"
- Projected to bring in £14,000 this year with print, £11,000 projected with online edition only.
- Propose to cut Free Budget and give money to TCS.
- Q:Do CUSU agree with this statistics? CUSU say: Figures are correct but is a risk. Added liability - £7.5k from online, £6k from print, £19,000 expenditure all on print.
- Against Motion:
- Print is old news - publishing stories already covered by the Tab. Shouldn't just be CV boosting for Student Journalists. Nobody reads.
- Q:What are existing figures for proposed adjustments? Editorial & Administration - £1200.
- Q:Cutting website costs? But if trying to transition then shooting self in foot? Don't need to fund as not overhauling. More time into website. Cutting website costs from budget becaue budgted for online prescence only.
- Q: Discrepancy in figures? Taking more money then named distribution. Other costs managed by CUSU, don't know amount. All profit goes to CUSU. Staffing costs will increase with print edition.
- Q: How are you proposing to reduce costs?
- Q: Free budget is more important than TCS to ideals of CUSU. Expecting another surplus based on past figures - would divert that to TCS.
- Q: Have income figures increasing but print advertising decreased? Restructing in TCS should make necessary changes.
- Q: Future Plans? Gives TCS a year to deal with. Think TCS can do better in advertising and want the year to prove it.
- Friendly ammendment to remove removal of money from the Free Budget.
- Q: What is the £6,700 for? Cut from 19 newspapers to 8 newspapers and maintain Fresher's week edition. 5000 copies per issue. Print quality reduced.
- Q: How will maintain advertising? Increase number per issue.
- Motion at a tie!
- and with a recount - another tie.
- SECRET BALLOT HELD
- Presidential Quote "I'm feeling Fruity today!"
- Motion falls
- CUSU EU Referendum
- Large impact on Cambridge
- Would like CUSU to encourage voter registration, disseminate information etc.
- Motion passed.
- Against Budget:
- Website too much, TCS cut unfair
- For Budget:
- Difficult decision - not enough money
- If had to choose between autonomous campaigns, Free Budget, ability to campaign then would pick all those over print newspaper.
Assign money from Free Budget to fund exam related welfare events in Easter Term.
- Motion passed
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
- 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
'Truth for Guilio' Brief presentation by campaign who want justice for murdered Girton Student.
- Returning Officer's Report Brief presentation on lastest CUSU elections. Recommendations include changing voting platform and updating social media policy.
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.
Commercial Funds: Digital services making money, print losing money across the board. Society Fair makes the most.
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).
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.
Budget Challenges: New DSO, print media losing income, improve reputation,
Changes proposed: Maintain 6 sabbatical officers - Coordinator role deferred. Cease print applicaions - TCS and Fresher's publications.
Print publications: TCS financial performance decreased over last 7 years, Freshers Publications can make profit or lose lots of money.
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.
- 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.
- Student Trustee Selection Group
- Motion passed .
- 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.
- 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.
- Opening Nominations for the CUSU Disabled Students' Officer
- Motion passed.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Motion for Rational and Consultative Budgeting for 2016-17
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?
- Yes: 80% - 96
- No: 20% - 24
Q2. How much about the current NUS situation do you know?
- A lot - have been following closely: 33% - 38
- A bit - have been following vaguely: 55.7% - 64
- Nothing at all - this is all new information: 9.6% - 11
- Other: 1.7% - 2
Q3. Would you vote in a referendum were it held?
- Yes: 87.8% - 101
- No: 12.2% -14
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.
- 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?
- 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?
- Are you approachable to student press in Cambridge?
- 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?
- 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?
- What do you think is the best thing CUSU have done in last year and what would have done differently?
- Which candidate would you vote for, if you were not running yourself, and which would you be least likely to vote for?
- Experience: JCR president, university trustee - campaigned on street lights, food, storage.
- Has "bread and butter issues":
- reach out to JCR/MCR.
- Defend students interests.
- Improve sports facilities.
- Better welfare.
- Confesses not great public speaker - but not important, claims “When has Priscilla ever spoken in public?”
- He has attend most CUSU - shows he is “immune against brainwashing”.
- Wants a CUSU that listens before it acts.
- Q1. Yes I'm approachable - I would sit in college bar and be there and listen.
- Q2. Don’t need to represent just one student opinion- could say split options to important councils etc. If not sure on prevailing opinion, would admit and return with repsonse having asked students.
- Q3. Would hold weekly press meeting where press could ask questions in public. Would speak to many journalists on their terms and take what they say seriously as the press is voice of the students.
- Q4. Ran for President because widely spread interests better suited for President. President sits on university council - already sit there and so have relationships. Would get to sit on Univeritsy trustee board as President enabling the internal change he’s campaigning. To get the big change Cornelius wants for CUSU would need to be President to implement.
- Q5. Would do more to inform students about what CUSU are thinking about. At the moment there is little time to engage students and ask what they want. Non-urgent issues could have weeks of discussion and extensive could have poling of students. Needs to be a connection between representatives on council and students.
- Q6. Good: Priscilla spoke to all students in Freshers Week. Better: Discuss things before CUSU council
- Q7. Supports points that Angus made to Amatey (about sudden new policies.) Would like to ask him to response. (NB Amatey did not make a response) Opinion: Contraverisal. Seems to know what he's doing though. Not much policy detail but seem reasonable enough.
- Angus believes in “policy not personality”
- “Happy, just and passionate activist”
- Policies: considers most in keeping with other sabbatical officer candidates speeches and policies.
- Welfare - lots of people have “fallen though cracks” - UCS waiting times long, they have problems with resources.
- Support and platform all liberation campaigns - Angus met with all heads when he was thinking about running for election. Provide more facilities for the campaigns
- Believes in full representation and equality and diversity: BME access, close attainment gaps, get student representation on all committees and councils including Bursar’s Committee, help make academia “less male, pale and stale”.
- Improve students experience.
- Be a loud voice on national stage - fight PREVENT legislation.
- Campaign for a proper living wage for Cambridge university staff.
- Engagement is a buzzword at every election - but think should lead by example.
- Should have more admin support staff.
- Wants to win sizeable mandate for policies.
- Wants to scrap cynicisms.
- Welfare - lots of people have “fallen though cracks” - UCS waiting times long, they have problems with resources.
- Q1. Have campaign meet ups. Meet regularly with autonomous campaigns. Less admin work and do more mandated work, sabbatical officer are “Ministers not Civil Servants”, this would allow sabbatical officers to go out and meet people.
- Q2. Would support liberation campaigns - always check with everyone. Would consult GU.
- Q3. Respond to press fast, open to press conferences. But believes in the right to a private life - clear policy needed.
- Q4. Angus did consider running to be Co-ordinator, however, Co-ordinator too internally focused - thinks some of the other Presidential Candidates would be better suited. President is leading from front and needs to be a national voice which Angus thinks he could be.
- Q5. Angus believes his policies are universal. He has a platform - vote for his policies not him. Give mandate. Angus accepts can't be all things to all people.
- Q6. Good: introduction of more uniform policies across university. Improve: communication to students.
- Q7. Would prefer to interrogate other candidates : Amatey: “Why have you suddenly introduced some new policies 8 hours before hustings?, Why are they not in your manifesto? Perhaps you introduced them after reading ours?”. I’d vote for Robert Corbyn-Smith (N.B. no longer candidate) Opinion : Loads of good polices - probably would get done. Angus ha been regular attender at CUSU council. Potentially bit young (only second year) and he could theoretically run again next year. Maybe not so great for people who feel CUSU is too much about minorities. Came across as very engaged - always challenging other candidates.
- John believes main problem is overwhelming indifference with CUSU.
- Increase transparency - autonomous campaigns -should be affiliated or fully autonomous - latter removes implied responsibility.
- Free speech - remove no-platforming.
- Engaging events, common in student unions. John thinks should have end of term music concerts - like may ball. Half profits go to charity.
- Q1. Students don't want to talk to CUSU - needs to change.
- Q2. John not afraid to represent unpopular opinions, or stand up for minority groups.
- Q3. Student press plays important role in CUSU. Need speedy responses. CUSU need good relationships with student press and to reposed to calls for comment quickly.
- Q4. Students pay more attention to President role and John had message to students. Would not run for Co-ordinator - “people have spoken.”
- Q5. Would carry out student polls - need student consensus.
- Q6. Good: rent workshops and discussion. Improve: could have handled scandal better - no one was held responsible, and scandal tarnished name of CUSU and university, was not suitably handled.
- Q7. Would vote for Cornelius - fairly similar policies (Cornelius looks horrified and disagrees) Least likely to vote for Angus. Opinion: Not very engaging. Policies controversial but doesn't seem to have considered implications or be excited about it. Could be considered a one trick pony. Student indifference is huge to CUSU so policies could be important shake up.
- Support JCRs - online database and commit to meeting JCR Presidents each term.
- Vice President council - like smaller CUSU council. Mentioned seeing them on a daily basis.
- Better communication online, getting out and meeting students.
- Wants student representation on Bursars committee.
- Challenge black attainment gap and PREVENT. Reach out to non-affiliated collegesand reach out to GU - individuals have more of a say. Was JCR President - problems arise during presidency. Will be pragmatic, listen to students, focused approach, taken seriously.
- Q1. Would try to learn and work on. Ran Fresher’s Week - good experience. President needs to be reassuring as first point of call.
- Q2. Policy of VP council means many ideas can be heard. Is clear that different views at different times.
- Q3. Need good relationship with student press - there are mutual benefits: student press huge platform that could be utilised. Need strong working relationship - better to ask in friendly environment for tough questions.
- Q4. Chose President - Amatey has more experience in that area. Being Co-ordinantor would depend on who was President. Thinks that maybe Co-ordinator should become admin staff member.
- Q5. Need to better communicate issues with students. Some issues not that controversial but need to educate students about them.
- Q6. Good: Priscilla’s paper on racism in Cambridge, set in motion important discussion.
- Q7. Would vote for John - but thinks that ‘No platforming’ policy provocative. Least likely to vote for: Cornelius.
- Opinion: Charming, charismatic - would be good ‘face’. Manifesto policies bit light but ‘new’ policies seem good but seem to have pulled them in at the last minute. Not sure ‘VP council’ a good idea and apparently never attended CUSU council.
15.02.16: Report on CUSU council
- 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’
- 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’.
- 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
- 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:
CUSU is the ‘Cambridge University Students Union’. This is separate from ‘The Union’ (fee paying debating and speakers society).
All students (including Grads) are automatically members of CUSU.
- CUSU describe themselves as “the university-wide representative body for students at the University of Cambridge. CUSU is a federal body made up of individual college student unions [JCRs and MCRs]… CUSU is part of, and funded by, the University of Cambridge”. CUSU run councils every two weeks where representatives from colleges discuss various matters. There are also autonomous campaigns which represent minority groups in the university.
To answer some questions that arose:
- The JCR Committee is not part of CUSU. The JCR Committee represents the student body of the college. As external officer I represent the college at CUSU council. There are some officers on the JCR committee who have varying closeness of association with the CUSU autonomous campaigns - however, they represent members of the college first and foremost.
- Affiliation Fees: From my enquiries it appears that the ‘Sex Club’ (i.e. the JCR) do not pay the CUSU affiliation fees and neither do AMALs. Fees are paid directly by the college.. From a discussion Johanna had with the bursar: “affiliation fees [are] paid directly by the college rather than the JCR. The bursar assured me [Johanna] that the JCR would still be able to disaffiliate politically if we wanted to. It just means that the College would still pay so that students get welfare benefits etc.” Fees figures vary but quotes I've seen range from £2500 - £2800 per year
- The Peterhouse MCR is not affiliated with CUSU. As for other colleges, Corpus Christi is not affiliated and Pembroke hold an affiliation referendum every year. Numerous other colleges have held referendums. I don’t know when the Peterhouse JCR last had a discussion about affiliation but to be discussed it would have to be brought forward by a member of the JCR. CUSU have their own page listing reasons for affiliation should you wish to read it at: http://www.cusu.co.uk/representation/affiliation-versus-disaffiliation. An interesting document from Fitzwilliam College listings ‘pros and cons’ can be found here: https://fitzjcr.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/cusu-affiliation-a-fitz-jcr-report.pdf
A brief summary of the survey, of which there were 32 respondents:
- 37.5% said they were interested in CUSU. Reasons listed included: CUSU are the voice of the university (no matter your views on that), the shadowing scheme is important as are the CUSU campaigns.
- 62.5% said they were not interested in CUSU. Reasons listed included: lack of relevancy, the presence of a political agenda in CUSU, the presence of college invalidates CUSU, that CUSU do not represent the majority (more focused on the campaigns) and that CUSU are impotent as a student force.
- Only 12.5% had read the blog (which saddens me!) and 32% had read the bulletin update.
- The majority of replies (33%) said they would prefer to hear about Peterhouse’s involvement with CUSU on Facebook. (Shout out here to the person who asked me and Fran to make video bulletins to spam everyone in a more interesting way!)
My next actions as a result of the survey:
- Continue with the blog, publicise more, and take another survey after a term or so to reevaluate readership.
- Post the link to the blog on Facebook page each time it is updated
- Continue putting CUSU council news in the weekly bulletin
- Draft a email to Priscilla (CUSU President) voicing concerns of the Peterhouse student body.
- Ask responders to survey whether I can use their comments as quotes.
- Talk to responders of survey to ask for their input on drafting email.
I hope this has cleared up questions and answered your concerns. Please email me at email@example.com 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
Lack of resources and overworked CUSU officers.
- Discussion over ability of CUSU to do their job without proper resources and funding. There are yearly budget meetings but university reluctant to give any more money to CUSU.
Implementation of ‘Rent Workshops’ at colleges to discuss more uniformity of rents across the university.
CUSU affiliated groups and online platforms
- A review was started in November 2015 to look into websites with CUSU in the name. Then with Tab article about previously WomCam affiliated Self-Care group showing need for further regulation. Current plan is to implement policy including a central register for all affiliated groups with CUSU in title and a code of conduct for any websites with CUSU in the title. This will be discussed further at the next CUSU council on 15th February.
1. Cantabs for Persecuted Students
- A group involved with supporting/housing for refugee academics asking for the support of CUSU.
- Discussion over whether group would ask for money but decided to bring up at a later date.
- The motion was passed.
2. Appoint Connor MacDonald as Part-Time education campaigns officer.
- Academic success currently linked to mental health of students, although shouldn’t be.
- Connor MacDonald is the HSPS faculty rep and reported that faculties rely on reps to report on students opinions and welfare.
- He suggested that he be made part-time education campaigns officer to collect data on student academics and welfare and try to improve resources across the university.
- The motion was passed.
3. Freedom of Information
- All 31 colleges of Cambridge have responded to a government reform on FOI arguing that they be exempt from FOI citing a burden on finances and lazy student journalism.
- It was argued in the council that FOI is essential to student journalism, campaigns and representatives. The motion proposed the issue be discussed at various levels.
- The motion was passed.