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Senate Pro-Choice Union motion withdrawn

The latest attempt to hold a Student Senate meeting failed again after not enough members attended for votes to be binding, resulting in the meeting was abandoned.

Last Tuesday the Student Senate reconvened, following the debacle of the previous meeting which became a total farce when it was revealed that all votes cast were invalid as the board had failed to reach the necessary 21 attending representatives.

Once again not enough members attended for votes to be binding so the meeting was abandoned.

Prior to the rescheduled event, Women’s Officer, Emma Carragher, withdrew her controversial ‘Pro-Choice Union’ motion.

The motion, with proposed that Cardiff Student’s Union take a ‘Pro-choice’ stance and support other unions in their campaign for abortion rights, drew a great deal of attention in the initial meeting, particularly from religious groups and the Union’s pro-life society, Students for Life.

Much of the controversy surrounding the motion was targeted at whether the Student Senate was the right place to make such a decision, an issue that was discussed in the initial meeting. Cari Davies, SU President, suggested that the motion be taken to a wider body of representation within the University such as the AMM or a student wide referendum, however the senate rejected this recommendation on two occasions, with only 5 of the 19 Senators voting in favour of a referral.

In response to this, Carragher stated that she fully believes the Senate is the right place to take any motion, adding: ‘Senators are elected by a cross-campus ballot and therefore have the democratic legitimacy to make decisions on behalf of students. I feel that suggesting that the Student Senate should only be used for ‘small’ changes undermines its whole purpose and so maintain that it was the appropriate forum to take the motion to.’

In speaking about her reasoning for withdrawing the motion Carragher stated that the motion is ‘of particular importance as it could potentially benefit tens of thousands of our students in tangible ways.’

Adding: ‘I am therefore not willing to have it compromised because people claim to disagree with our current democratic procedures.’

‘I stand by my comments at the last meeting and do think Senate is as appropriate a venue as AMM for discussion, but I am worried that if the motion were to pass tomorrow, those who oppose the motion would continue to use ‘democratic legitimacy’ as their reasoning rather than discussing the real reasons why they think the Union should not support women’s rights to their own bodies’.

‘I’m actually extremely disappointed not to be able to debate it tomorrow, but in the long term it seems the better decision.’

Although nothing has been confirmed, it looks unlikely that the Student Senate will be able to reschedule a further meeting before the end of the academic year.

Georgia Hamer

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