By Maria Mellor
A number of significant motions were passed by student senate in a meeting last week, including an item which allows better treatment of part time officers in the SU. The item was submitted by ex-Welsh Language Officer, Steffan Bryn, who believed that the senate should vote to “make officers more prominent, raise their status within the union”.
The students’ union will now be obligated to ensure that the efforts of the officers are more appreciated, and that standing as a campaign officer is a practical thing to do for a student. There will be added publicity for every role, and the Sabbatical officers will have a duty to consult officers more.
It was pointed out in the senate meeting that there is currently not enough communication between the full time and part time officers. The current Vice President Education, Mo Hanafy and Vice President Postgrad Alex Kuklenko were wary of the potential cost of the proposal. Mo said: “There are certain things we can’t promise we’ll do”
The VP Education was adamant that he was not against the motion as a concept, but believed there were better ways to go about it. He added: “We want to work on this this year… but senate is not the place to do this.”
International officer, Vaishnavi Sayal responded: “We need something that is set in stone for future officers.” Allegedly the part time officer team and the sabbatical officer team have only all met twice so far this academic year.
Chiron Hooson, student senator, said: “The problem of not having enough support for campaign officers has been a problem for many years now.”
This was confirmed on twitter by Cosimo Montagu, VP Societies 2010/11, who told Gair Rhydd: “Tell them from an ex-Sabb we were discussing this back in 2010… they need to decide how to achieve it practically, and do it!”
Osian Wyn Morgan, Welsh Language Officer, was happy about the result. He said: “The increased publicity of Campaign Officers, by giving equal publicity to Sabbatical and Campaign officers on the Union’s website and within the union, will assure students are more aware of the roles and responsibilities of the Campaign Officers, and will make the Campaign Officers more approachable.”
Osian added: “Overall I am confident that forthcoming changes to Campaign Officers roles within the Union will make it easier for us to fulfil our responsibilities as student representatives, and most importantly, will have a positive impact on the lives of the students that we represent.”
Overall, of the 12 agenda items, eight were passed.
The motion for the SU to start serving Welsh ales on tap was discussed at the meeting. Student senator Matthew Jenkins said: “a recognisable aspect of Welsh culture is the brewing of Wales and Cardiff University should celebrate that.” However, the motion fell after worries about cost.
Katey Beggan said: “I don’t see a need for it… This money would be better spent on non-alcoholic drinks.”
There will continue to be bottled ales at The Taf despite protests from student Usman Mahmood Bukhari that “it tastes different.”
A motion was passed to immediately start lobbying Cardiff University to ‘Stop Fuelling Hate’. With 10 abstentions the motion was by far the most controversial. It aims to get Cardiff University to stop advertising in news outlets such as the Daily Mail, the Sun and the Daily Express.
Concerns were expressed that this would be in contradiction with the motion passed at this year’s AGM to prevent no-platforming. Student senator Josh Green argued: “they’re against what we support as an anti-lad culture union.
“It’s not about freedom of speech, it’s about choosing where our money goes.”
Two motions were put to the senate in regards to the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) due to fears that it will lead to tuition fee rises. First the senate debated whether Cardiff should boycott the National Student Survey (NSS).
The NUS have claimed that “the NSS will be the only place where students have any power and leverage left to force a rethink.”
Mo Hanafy said: “Boycotting the NSS is not the way to stop rising fees.
“We are under no obligation to follow NUS policies.”
The motion fell with only three people voting to approve it.
The second motion, which was submitted by Mo himself, intends for the students’ union to mandate the NUS Wales to lobby the Welsh Government to promise no tuition fee rise for the next five years. It received 20 votes of approval, with no rejections and two abstentions.
The vote for the University to provide a humanist chaplaincy was approved by the senate in hopes of providing “equality of experience.” The proposed chaplaincy would be there to provide spiritual support for students.
The motion states: “non-religious persuasion are still as vulnerable as their religious student counterpart, but currently lack the secular spiritual counsel to assist them.”
A pledge renewal for ‘Time To Change’ was widely approved with 21 votes for and one abstention. It is a public acknowledgement that an organisation wants to tackle the stigma behind mental health.
Chiron Hooson said to the senate: “Now that the motion has lapsed it’s not in the policy books anymore.”
“In renewing this pledge it would allow the union to revise their action plan.
“Obviously in four years things have changed.”
The students’ union will renew the signing of the ‘Time To Change’ pledge and will review the action plan formed back in 2013 and adapt the plan to the new support systems and developments today in the union as well as the university in tackling mental health.