Student Council resumes with first meeting of year
In unusual turn of events, meeting lasts less than hour
By Anttoni James Numminen
Photo courtesy of Aberdeen Student Parliament
The first meeting of the year was opened by Chair Daniel O’Connor and as it was held online, he asked not to be muted while speaking as had often happened to his predecessor.
The minutes of the last meeting were approved and members were reminded of the upcoming council elections for additional members.
Following their work report, the Student President, Alisa Koester was asked about changes to the Rectorial election, as students are no longer eligible to stand under section 2.3 of the rules.
Nestor Carlsen-Devereux, School of Law Convenor branded the rule change a “ridiculous decision” and asked for a commitment from the President for opposition to the change.
The Student President responded by saying that the University, not AUSA, was responsible for the rule changes and though it was unlikely they would be changed by the nomination deadline of 25 October, she would happily raise the issue with the University.
University and College Union (UCU)
Camilo Torres-Barragán, Vice President for Communities, updated the student body’s representatives on planned changes to a lapsing motion regarding AUSA’s support for any strike action by higher education union (Aberdeen) UCU.
The motion had previously required the Students’ Association (AUSA) to unequivocally support strike action by the UCU, which has in recent years been forced to take industrial action over pay, conditions and changes to their pension scheme.
Torres-Barragán said: “The policy was very one-directional. We hear from many students that they’ve been waiting a year to go back to classes and if there was a strike tomorrow it wouldn’t be fair on students to just support the strike.
“So, we’re going to start having regular meetings with the UCU and start working on a new agreement that goes beyond strikes; it’ll include joint projects and events, working together over concerns and campaigns as well as improving communications not just between AUSA and the UCU, but also with the student community.”
Quarantine support and divestment
There were no proposed motions or byelaw changes at this council meeting and the approval by voting of sabbatical work reports had also been scrapped, so it was a very calm meeting.
Other issues covered at the meeting included better support for quarantining students, the University’s commitment to divesting from fossil fuels, discussions on the IHRA definition of antisemitism moving to UoA Senate and an overview of freshers and AUSA’s increased social media reach.