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Student council votes for content warnings, access hours and byelaw changes

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

Student reps also voted down one major byelaw proposal on the structure of council

By: Anttoni James Numminen

Photo courtesy of The Gaudie

The March meeting of Student Council has voted in favour of several motions, including one which mandates the Students’ Association (AUSA) to lobby the University to ensure all students receive a graduation ceremony at some point. The motion was aimed at holding the University to its promise of providing graduation ceremonies to students who did not have one because of Covid-19.

Other motions passed included a motion mandating AUSA to create an Access Hours Policy for use in Union Brew and one on content warnings.

The content warning motion by Ivana Dradakova, AUSA Vice-President-elect for Welfare, called for “content warnings on all subjects that may cause harm to students in lecture materials” and “other forms of communication”.

Student councillors are members of standing committees, such as welfare, communities, and sport, and they seek to represent students and hold sabbatical officers to account. Any student can stand for election on Student Council.

In addition to the motions, one byelaw amendment was passed and one was defeated. Byelaws are the rules and regulations by which AUSA operates.

An amendment to Byelaw 9 was passed by the Council, which updated the relationship between student groups and the Students’ Association. Current student groups include The Gaudie, Aberdeen Student Climate Network and ASR, among others.

A key part of the amendment says: “where appropriate and/or necessary, AUSA can support Student Groups to manage their funds, apply for funding and assist with fundraising.

“In the case of a Student Group receiving financial assistance from AUSA, AUSA and the relevant Student Group they will be required to publicly declare this to prevent conflict of interest.”

Before now, byelaws prevented AUSA from supporting student groups with their finances.

Amendment to Byelaw 3, which did not pass, was meant to be voted on at the AUSA AGM, but as a quorum was lost before the item could be discussed, it was moved to Student Council.

The proposed amendment would have radically altered the nature of Student Council, allowing all members of the student body to attend and vote on matters, with no quorum requirement and the potential of contentious issues moving to a campus-wide referendum.

Fewer than 200 people voted in AUSA’s referendum of its membership in the NUS in March.

Robbie Uriarte, Foresterhill Rep on the Societies Committee, said: “the proposed Byelaw 3 change would have effectively dismantled Student Council, made AUSA more inefficient than it already is and risked removing one of the few checks and balances on Sabbatical Officers’ power.”


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