AGM 2014: What has been achieved?

Last year’s Students’ Union AGM was one of the most divisive on recorded, with seven hotly-debated motions put forward. Five of these seven motions were passed whilst others were unsuccessful, including a motion proposing that the Union should lobby the University to disinvest from the arms trade, including manufacturer BAE failing, as well as a motion for the Union to adopt a ‘pro life’ policy.

However some of the motions that were passed by the student body have not yet been fully implemented. Despite AGM resolutions, it can prove difficult for the Students’ Union to fully implement policies that the student body has voted in favour of, especially when the motion involves lobbying Cardiff University to make a significant change to its running or constitution.

The first motion of last year’s AGM proposed splitting of the LGBT+ officer’s role into two separate roles; the LGBT+ (Open) officer and LGBT+ (Women’s) Officer. The motion passed, and the policy has been implemented from this year onwards, with Jack Meldrum currenlty holding the LGBT+ (Open) Officer role, and Ellie Utley in the Women’s role.

The second motion resolved to twin Cardiff University with a Palestinian university. Speaking to Gair Rhydd, Cardiff Students’ Union President Claire Blakeway confirmed that the SU had “approached the University to formally twin with the University of Palestine.

“However, Cardiff University couldn’t formally twin due to the length and complexity of the process, and the proposal not matching with the University’s strategic aims. In addition to this, the University cannot be political, a requirement listed in their constitution, and therefore could not twin with another University for political reasons. The students who were involved in this motion were consulted with regarding the implementation of the motion.”

The third motion again related to the Palestinian state, and resolved for the Students’ Union to outright recognise the state of Palestine. Blakeway said that Palestine was now recognised as an official country of origin on the University enrolment web pages.

However, Blakeway also said that, while the University does recognise the state of Palestine, it “cannot release a statement around it due to the matter being political, which the university’s constitution states they are unable to be.”

The fourth motion passed proposed improved postgraduate student representation within the SU, including the introduction of a full-time sabbatical officer representing postgraduate students.

This role has been introduced and Katie Kelly was elected the first full-time Postrgraduate Officer and assumed her role this summer.

Just as the fourth motion proposed the introduction of a sabbatical officer role, the fifth resolved to remove the then-vacant role of Vice President Media & Marketing.

The role had been vacated since the previous occupant of the role, Tom Eden, had resigned his role earlier in the year, and members of Cardiff Student Media put forward the motion to remove the sabbatical officer role.

On this motion Blakeway said that: “The role of VP media has been removed from the sabbatical team.

A number of key volunteers engaged in Student Media have sought input from students involved to seek views on the need for change within student media.

“The consensus from media volunteers was that the structure after the removal of the VP role was reasonable, but the support provided in terms of training, systems and processes, funding allocation and the roles and responsibilities of key volunteers and the Union needed to continue to develop.

Lead volunteers within media continue to meet with staff and officers of the Union to build and develop the media activity available to students.”