Now don’t get me wrong, however much I love to hear a clique of self important lunatics looking out for their own interests over those of the people they represent for the entirety of an evening, I’ve never actually enjoyed going to general meetings.
Whether it’s Nick Stylianou blocking the ratifying of an election causing a legion of angry normal students having to call an emergency general meeting to actually have their votes counted or the spectacular incompetence of last years bumbling Union Chair who allowed a meeting to go on until almost 2am general meetings have enjoyed a reputation on campus that varies from being exceedingly poor to being non existent as unsurprisingly no one aside from SU types actually bother going.
But this is a new year with a new set of lunatics so surely we can expect a whole new standard of GM. Well actually we can. Firstly the new union chair, Joe Rayment actually seems to have read the constitution, which is something that last years chair probably should have had a stab at. Secondly the meeting is now at the earlier time of 6:30 which means that for people who actually have other things to do with their evening can (in theory) get home at a decent hour. And finally no one was being addressed on a first name basis by the chair which sounds like a rather minute change but means that when someone who is outside of the core SU crowd raises a point (which happened a lot last night) it sounds much less conspicuous than it used to.
Some things never change though, as the meeting did start late but not as late as many of us had come to expect. Following the apologies for absence from mandated members, which includes all club and society members the meeting began. Any presidents reading this should note that if you fail to apologise for being absent at three consecutive meetings the union will officially consider you as having resigned. This will probably save you some paperwork.
In 60 second sabb our elected sabbatical officers tell us what they’ve been up to. VP EdWelfare Katie organised a tea party, VP ComCam Sarah executively edited The Orbital, VPSA Jake moved into a new office (forgetting to mention that the contact details of committee members were lost in the process) and President Dan seemed to have done everything. The main points of the meeting were the two motions that were passed. The first was one that added some red tape to the process of getting clubs and societies sponsorship.
The main reason was to stop sponsorship from organisations that the SU doesn’t want to support. This namely included landlords, nightclubs and leisure organisations. Liquid was specifically targeted and the reasons cited were that they are in direct competition with the SU and that they don’t look after their patrons to the same standard as the SU. The main problem here is that even though this may well be true, it’s hardly going to stop students going to Liquid and if students are going to go to Liquid their clubs may as well make some money out of it. Virgin Active were also targeted as they are in direct competition with the university gym and the SU decided that appeasing the gym (which is not run by the SU) would work out best for students in the long run.
The problem here is that it is notoriously difficult for clubs to find sponsorship. If The Founder was unable to work with the blacklisted businesses we would never have been able to come into existence. The SU may well have been looking out for the interests of their students but it came across more like they were deciding that they knew best and at worst were trying to keep their competition away from campus.
The second motion was in response to police asking Goldsmiths University for details on students considered ‘vulnerable’ to radicalisation. The motion effectively meant that the SU (unless ordered by a court) would not hand over details of students to the police as the undertones of the so called ‘PREVENT’ strategy were tantamount to racial profiling and would foster racial divisions.
Unsurprisingly this went through without a whiff of objections.
And that was about it. Out the door before half past eight. Wow.
The minutes from the meeting are available on the SURHUL website or even better read The Orbital’s brilliant live blogging from the evening.