The 34th Student Council Ordinary Meeting was held on the 28th of March 2017 in F1A11, chaired by the Steering Committee of the Student Council. The meeting began with a roll call, followed by an announcement of apologies sent out by 8 Council Members. Questions were raised regarding the reasons for the absence of certain Council Members, and their responsibilities and priorities were questioned. Three motions and one proposal was presented during this meeting.
Motion to Merge Returning Officer and Vice Chair of the Student Council.
The first motion of the night was proposed by the current Returning Officer, Ibrahim Miflal Fayaz. His proposal was to merge the role of Returning Officer and Vice Chair of the Student Council into one role. His arguments for this motion are that it would streamline the work of the Student Council with the Elections Committee, establish a paid position for the head of Elections and allow him/her to have access to Student Council resources. This motion was passed without any questions, by a majority of the voting members.
Motion to limit the number of apologies a member can send during his/her term.
The Faculty of Science representative, Suma Khalid Mohamed, proposed a motion where the total number of apologies that a Student Council Member can send during his/her term be limited to two. The current constitution states that the maximum number of apology that a member can send is 2 consecutive excuses, but that does not limit the total number of apologies that can be sent during their term.
Furthermore, she added that all SA Executive Officers should be present to verbally present their own reports to the student council so that they would be personally held accountable to all questions asked about their reports by the student council. This motion also included that failure of an SA Executive to present their report to the council would result in their stipend being reduced by half for the following semester, and added to the SA Grant.
This motion was proposed due to increased amount of absences with apologies, sent from council members, which gravely affected quorum and voting on motions. Reasons also included that SA President Linur had to present the SA Executives’ Reports for four SA Executive Officers who were not present during the 33rd Ordinary Student Council Meeting. This resulted in Student Council Members not getting the opportunity to question the SA Executives regarding their reports.
This motion was met with a lot of suggestions and comments from the council members. The current International Students Officer, Marwa Abbas, argued that it would be unfair to cut the stipend for an entire semester. She stated that it would be very demotivating, and would result in underperformance by the SA Executives as their hard work would go unappreciated. She suggested that instead of cutting their stipend for the whole semester, to reduce it for one or two months. This suggestion was received positively by many council members. Suggestions were also made to account for extenuating circumstances such as medical issues, death in the family.
The first vote was taken amongst the council members regarding whether there should be a general punishment for SA Executives who are not present to present their reports, which was passed unanimously.
The second vote taken was regarding whether the reduction in stipend should be for the entirety of the following semester, which was not passed, receiving only seven votes.
The third call of the vote was regarding whether the reduction in stipend should be for one month, which was passed with a majority of the votes.
Proposal regarding Engineering Faculty.
Next up was a proposal by Faculty of Engineering representative, Abdelrahman Elfar, which mainly concerned the Engineering Faculty. Abdelrahman said that instead of giving an artificial 25-minute lecture to course representatives regarding their roles, it would be more fruitful to organise a hands-on training program for faculty representative and course representatives regarding their distinctive roles in LCF meetings. He also said that an official presentation session should be given so to equip these students with the tools to speak up in front of their peers whenever needed. He added that the course representatives’ job scope should be amended to include the responsibility of carrying out awareness sessions regarding SET/SEM surveys. Additionally, he suggested that 15-20-minute time slots should be added to the timetable to raise awareness about the proposed actions and matters discussed in the LCF meetings as asking students to read minutes from Sharepoint is unpopular.
Motion regarding financial transparency between SA and the student body.
This motion regarding financial transparency was proposed by Representative for Special Interests Society, Mohamed Amsal. This motion was mainly split into two parts.
First part proposed that all financial details regarding all clubs and societies’ subsidies should be made available on SA website as a link via Sharepoint, within 2 weeks of subsidy being allocated. The details should include which club or society the money was awarded to, how much was awarded, and why it was awarded.
The second part of this motion also states that all spending from the sports complex fund on coaching for sports clubs should be made available on SA website as a link via Sharepoint.
In terms of the votes, the first part of the motion was passed with the majority while the second part of the motion was postponed for further discussions.
The last matter of business was a suggestion from the Post Graduate Students Officer, Mohamed Ayoub Juman, that council members must be given notice of the Student Council meeting at least one month before to avoid clashes with other events.
The meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm with pizza being served to all councillors and attendees.
Written by Inash Adil.
Photographs by Inash Adil.