All three motions and all five sabbatical officer accountability reports voted on at the latest University of Edinburgh student council meeting have passed, as outlined today by the Students’ Association’s summary.
The meeting, held on Thursday 21st November, consisted of two parts.
During the first half, the five sabbatical officers detailed their work thus far this semester and answered audience questions.
The second half was dedicated to the presentation and discussion of three different motions: one on elected representative voting transparency, one on the freedom of student press, and one on the continuation of the shuttle bus between Bristo Square and King’s Buildings.
Questions presented to the sabbatical officers covered topics such as lack of support and resources for marginalised students, antisemitism on campus, and advice for students about the current UCU strikes.
The sabbatical officers described what they have accomplished, including organisation of tournaments and events, greater consultation with the disabled community regarding changes on campus, and the drafting of a paper to lessen financial burden for students.
The first motion, presented by Jordan Dowd, will allow the voting records of elected representatives to be published.
This motion was previously rejected at the 30th October meeting, due to concerns about discrimination and harassment towards representatives for marginalised student groups.
The motion was then amended to exclude liberation officers from the transparency, in accordance with these concerns.
However, arguments against this motion further discussed the possibility of discrimination. Rosie Taylor, LGBT+ officer, stated that the danger of discrimination towards marginalised students still remained, despite the amendment.
Another objection raised was the potential for a ‘group mentality’ to arise, wherein representatives would feel pressured to vote a certain way.
When summarising the motion, Dowd explained that voting transparency could result in “an improvement in student participation”.
The motion passed by 69 per cent, just over the 67 per cent threshold required for a motion to pass without an online ballot being introduced.
The second motion, presented by Craig Buchan, relates to the freedom of student press and will prevent the Students’ Association from obstructing media societies’ publication of works of journalism.
An amendment proposed for this motion, which would have clarified the legal responsibility and financial contribution of the Students’ Association for media societies, did not pass.
Although some concerns were raised over funding for media societies, no arguments were held against the motion, which passed with 94 per cent.
Finally, a motion for the continuation of the shuttle bus was presented by Juliette Martin, a Physics program representative.
The shuttle bus service is currently scheduled for cancellation at the end of the current academic year, after plans for its’ cancellation last academic year were delayed.
When discussing the motion, Martin described the cancellation as a “regressive policy”, explaining that it limited the choice of electives for students.
Two rounds of arguments were held: those against the motion discussed the previous cancellation of the shuttle bus to the BioQuarter, with queries as to why extra provision should be given for students based at King’s.
“Surely this just means the university needs to invest more in transport, rather than making it school versus school,” replied Martin.
Jeremy Pestle, a Physics undergraduate student, added “For the university to cut a service and not provide an alternative…is totally unacceptable. This would be a dereliction of duty by the university to the whole community and it must be stopped.”
The motion passed with 95 per cent.
Image: Su Hongjia via wikimedia commons