Union on the defensive in ill-tempered AGM


A poorly attended general meeting was the scene for an exchange of questions and recriminations as Union Full Time Officers were held to account

With an audience of 35, far below the quorum of 150 students necessary, no votes were held during the two hour meeting, though the attendance jumped when members of the Lonsdale JCR filed in halfway through.

Defending their record, the Union Officers pointed to a 2% fall in their non-payroll university funding as a constraint on their actions. They said that the 2% funding cut was unavoidable, and implemented universally across University departmental spending.

Relaying the data from Redbrick research, the polling agency contracted by both the University and the Student’s Union on matters of public relations, the Officers noted a shift in student attitudes, from alcohol-fuelled nights out to studious nights in. The collapse in attendance at the Sugarhouse on Saturday’s was blamed on this.

The Grow our Minds campaign was hailed as a major success, as was the victory in the council planning vote on the future of the Sugarhouse

The question section proved ill-tempered, with some expletive-laden questions met with sarcastic tones.

Audience members grilled the officers on the actions of the Student Union in sending students to a recent conference run by a group thought to be affiliated to the Socialist Worker Party. The Union Officers apologised that the event had not been vetted, and promised that future events would be held to the same standard currently applied to external speakers.

The promotion of the AGM was slammed by questioners, who attacked the lack of posters. The Officers defended this as an environmental stand in line with union policy.

The timing of the AGM one week after FTO elections, was blamed for the “embarrassingly poor” turnout and the failure of students to table agenda points. One student described themselves as “fucking engaged”, and detailed their lack of awareness.

The chair was criticised by the audience for cutting off students – the chair in turn criticised students for trying to load multiple questions into their queries.

University executives were grilled on accessibility issues around Spine diversions by the recently elected Part Time Officer for students with disabilities, and defended the recent closing of Edward’s Robert Court as “the best of bad choices”

The potential of new colleges was raised, with a building date of 800 bedrooms mooted for September 2020.

The free “democracy donuts” were praised by students in attendance.

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