Union Council Report: Week 2, Lent Term

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University House. Photograph: Mae Reddaway.

If one were to use temperature to describe atmosphere, with boiling hot being riot-level excitement, and cold being a demon headmaster-style glare, then most Union Councils would be considered decidedly tepid. This week’s Council, however, would have made even dishwater seem attractive.

Your correspondent unfortunately came into Council relatively late in the proceedings, and was immediately met by the dulcet (if slightly soporific) tones of newly-elected Chair Damon Fairley, ex-Chair Ronnie Rowlands and his clipped intonations now confined to the awkward bench at the back of the room. Indeed it became almost immediately clear that there would be no “fag and slash” breaks or indeed any such Rowlands-style deviations on Fairley’s watch – while his approach was no doubt professional and efficient, your correspondent would suggest to the current Council chair that he wear some sort of funny hat to brighten up proceedings. Nothing necessarily too garish. A fez maybe.

It was indeed all change at Union Council this week, with lots of newly-elected college presidents and other officers attending Council for the first time. There were also a series of elections within the Council itself, the most significant being the election of Chair (Fairley) and Deputy Chair (Becky Cook), as well as co-options to the positions of Cross-Campus Officer for Media and Communications – which went to Steph Freemantle – and Cross-Campus Officer for Socials, which went to Nathalie Collins. Elections were also held for positions on various LUSU councils, including Academic Council, Social and Events Group, and Equality, Welfare and Diversity (EWD) Council.

Motions were also passed, including most notably a motion to support the No More Page 3 campaign, which could see The Sun newspaper banned from LUSU stores. Keep your eye on the SCAN website and indeed in the paper itself for news on the progress of the implementation of this motion and other motions passed.

During proceedings, the six Full Time Officers (FTOs) presented their I’s and Q’s – i.e. what they’ve been up to as part of their role – which were sent round to Council members beforehand in the agenda. LUSU Vice President (Education) Joe O’Neill was pulled up on the I’s and Q’s he had written, or indeed the lack of them. While his intentions were admirable (a way of trying to make the newly elected officers ask questions to him and his fellow FTOs), one observer told your correspondent that had O’Neill been part of a Council which was more factionalist (or even, dare I say it, lively) the Education FTO’s position would have been called into question after presenting I’s and Q’s which were so minimal. Unfortunately the majority of the newly-elected officers had failed to grasp the concept well-known to seasoned pros that going on the verbal attack against O’Neill is one of the best ways to get the heart rate going; what could have been one of the highlights of Council soon drifted back into monotony.

However, perhaps most excitingly for the long-term (we’re maybe getting into double figures on the temperature scale here) is LUSU’s strategic plan. The last long-term strategy comes to an end this year, and thus LUSU President Joel Pullan and his fellow officers have decided it might be a nice idea to get a new one up and running for the next umpteen years. And that’s where you come in – LUSU wants YOU to tell them what you want from your Union. They even have a hashtag – a hastag! – for you to use on twitter: #iwantLUSUto.

That’s right, through the means of social media you get to decide the direction LUSU takes over the next few years. Just don’t expect that journey to be too exciting.