The SUSU Annual General Meeting and Making Change Summit was held on Thursday 21st November from 2-4 pm. Students voted for SUSU to support the UCU Strike Action and the Green New Deal Campaign demands.
All agenda items passed at the AGM. These included:
- Approval of the minutes of the previous AGM – Passed: 122 votes for, 3 votes against.
- Approval of the Annual Accounts and Reports – Passed: 123 votes for, 5 votes against.
- Continued appointment of the external Auditors; Crowe UK – Passed: 101 votes for, 12 votes against.
- A resolution on ‘political expenditure’ – Passed: 89 votes for, 57 votes against.
- A resolution on ‘whether SUSU should support the UCU strike action’ – Passed 179 votes for, 80 votes against.
- A petition on the Green New Deal student campaign: ‘whether SUSU should support the campaign and their demands’ – Passed: 181 votes for, 45 votes against.
SUSU’s Annual General Meeting is underway, the minutes from the previous meeting and the annual reports have been approved 🗳️
Up soon: supporting the UCU strikes and @UniSotonGND demands pic.twitter.com/uFU6xgMqQL
— Surge Radio (@SurgeRadio) November 21, 2019
Most items passed with ease, although, agenda items 5 and 6 were discussed and debated during the meeting. Students posed questions, including: ‘if the UCU support vote doesn’t pass, will SUSU actively campaign against the strikes?’, ‘Similarly, would postgraduate students who strike as UCU members be represented by SUSU?’ and ‘If the vote does pass, will there be future consultation regarding compensation for tuition?’.
SUSU President Emily Harrison clarified that if the vote did not pass, the Students’ Union would not actively campaign against the UCU strike action, instead, SUSU would not take a position, the interests of postgraduate researchers would be represented but it would depend on the various stances of those students, and there is no current plan to push for tuition compensation – it could be considered at a later date when relevant – but individual compensation would be incredibly unlikely. In the 2018 UCU strikes, money was allocated to a ‘student experience fund’ to improve certain aspects of the university and students’ education, such as ensuring the WSA shuttle bus ran regularly. One student said that compensation would undermine support for the strikes.
After the AGM, the Making Change Summit took place. This involved mention of the minutes of the previous meeting, a discussion on the 2019 General Election and voter registration, a discussion on tackling misconduct and VP Welfare and Communities Laura Barr’s #ExpectRespect and WIDE training, followed by Any Other Business. An A.O.B. was raised about holding the AGM at a time that did not clash with lectures, which sparked a wider discussion on student apathy and issues with representation. The subject was subsequently made a motion on the agenda of the next Union Senate meeting, open to all students, expected to take place during the first week of December.
All five sabbatical officers, the SUSU democracy staff, a small number of student leaders, officers and academic reps, as well as a small number of undergraduates and postgraduates attended the meeting in-person. The AGM agenda items and proxy voting were made available and opened in advance of the meeting and as such the majority of the votes had been cast via proxy before the meeting took place.