My name is Emily Eldridge and I sit on SUSU’s union council. I, and a small number of my fellow Councillors, pride ourselves on reading motions, researching what is proposed and deliberating with a number of our constituents on motions that arise. We personally value the responsibility and try to think of any consequences that may affect students here at Southampton. We take this role very seriously.
I have tonight witnessed a disgraceful show of apathy and disinterest of my fellow peers at union council. Aaron Bali and myself officially brought Chloe Green’s Nestle motion to council for it to be accepted or rejected. We were expecting an intense debate and strong counter arguments, but there is one thing we were not expecting. That is the surprising number of councillors who did not know anything about the motion and had not consulted with who they were representing.
For anyone unaware of the susu council, it prides itself as being the highest decision making body we have that represents the views of all students. Members are emailed, in advance, an invite to attend each session and everyone is given 1 week to read, research the proposal and converse with their constituents.
The events that have just unfolded has disappointed me greatly. Just after the 2 hour mark the motion was delayed to the next union council. I am sad that more students did not see this as a positive and ethical proposal for the union to accept. Furthermore, that those members did not know what they were voting on. The council has many flaws but I didn’t think apathy was such a big one.
I hope that we on council have learnt a valuable lesson now and in the future. Members should be aware of the responsibility we hold on our shoulders. I encourage anyone running for a student leader position to take pride in your role, act proactively in council and you will hopefully feel proud to lead and represent all Southampton University students.