Attendees first discussed the coronavirus outbreak following the Prime Minister’s speech earlier in the day. Representatives of the University had confirmed that there were currently no plans to suspend teaching. However, Stephen Dawes, Chair of Council, advised students to stay at home if they have any symptoms.
It was suggested that releasing voting records may increase scrutiny and impact the mental health of sabbatical officers.
A debate commenced on the issue that two thirds of council members voted that Student Council was not transparent enough in a recent survey, with the speaker questioning how this could be improved. Responses focused on improving student attendance to Student Council to ensure that students are fully aware of the kind of motions that are discussed at Council. The sabbatical officers understood these concerns but ensured that they were attempting to improve engagement through emails and social media posts.
This quickly moved onto a debate on whether transparent voting records should be made available to ensure that Council is completely transparent, and students know what the sabbatical officers are voting for. There was a mixed response to this idea, with Welfare and Equality Officer Sara Elkhawad arguing that when representing such large numbers of the student body it can be difficult to vote in a way that will please everybody. It was suggested that releasing voting records may increase scrutiny and impact the mental health of sabbatical officers.
A motion was also proposed to disband the Volunteering Executive Committee on the basis that it duplicates a lot of other executive committees in the university. The motion was passed with very little debate.
A second motion to stop assessment bunching caused more debate. It was suggested that there should be no more than two assessment deadlines per week, and that there should be no assessment deadlines 14 days before the dissertation or final project deadline.
It was suggested that there should be no more than two assessment deadlines per week, and that there should be no assessment deadlines 14 days before the dissertation or final project deadline.
Some members opposed this, stating that these bunched deadlines improved student’s time management skills. Many argued, though, that these kinds of deadlines put extra pressure on student’s mental health, and that this motion considers students who may be carers or have work commitments that deny them the privilege of managing their time in this way. The motion passed overwhelmingly.