A meeting is taking place for students to decide if they agree with a decision made by the University of Lincoln Students’ Union (SU) to leave the NUS.
At an All Student Members’ Meeting (ASM) today, October 31, students will vote on whether to approve the decision which was made by the union’s Board of Trustees in June to leave the National Union of Students.
It comes as a petition was launched by some students calling on the SU to allow a campus-wide referendum on the matter.
Follow our live blog below for updates:
BREAKING: Referendum confirmed. All the VPs in the room vote against putting it to a referendum, but the vote is carried by a majority and there will now be a referendum on whether Lincoln SU should remain part of the NUS. 115 vote for it and 32 against.
Voting is now taking place on whether to put the NUS issue to a referendum. Rather than by ballot, it’s being done by a show of hands.
It’s been confirmed that more than 1,700 students need to take part in a referendum, but Bradley says that however many votes there are it will be “more than there is in this room” and that the union needs to put some “trust in its students.”
Cassie explains that the options are having a referendum or “looking around here now and seeing that we’ve got less than 150 people here so people don’t care about NUS.”
Cassie makes a point against saying that the union needs to put its energy into things like the upcoming general election.
Bradley Allsop has moved a motion that the decision on NUS membership should be put to a campus-wide referendum. He says “by-laws have been ignored for months” and that we need a “proper democratic conversation.”
We have now moved on to the NUS decision. Cassie says “I am going to give you the facts here. I do not mind what we do, I’m just going to give you the facts.”
An audience member suggests that there should be a liasing with the University to allow attendance at ASM meetings to be classed as an “authorised absence”. The chair says that the proposal has been “noted”. Cassie Coakley, on the issue of numbers being at below 150 today, says “we have been pushed and pushed this. Look around, thinking about the student population, do they care, are they here, no they’re not.”
Complaints are now being made from the audience that these proposed changes to the by-laws haven’t been made available for people to look at beforehand. The chair says that the proposed changes are all on the website. A member of the audience screams “this is a farce”. The chair says “you are not welcome at this meeting now.” The audience member replies “I refuse to move.” The audience member remains in the meeting.
The proposal has been passed “by assent” and the meeting is now being moved on to a proposal to change several of the SU by-laws.
Following a question from the audience, Cassie Coakley, the current SU President, has confirmed that one of the VPs would still be the Chair of the Board of Trustees, as the President currently is, and it would be decided by the SU’s Executive Committee.
One of the new roles would be a VP for Campaigns and Environment. The VP Education role would not change, and neither would the VP International. Another new role would be VP Wellbeing and Community as well as VP Postgraduate and Work Based Distance Learning.
Votes on the Deputy Chair are currently being counted. In the meantime, a proposal is now being put forward on a re-structuring of the student leaders roles. The proposal is to create two new roles replacing the president and the VP Welfare and Community.
The chair of the meeting has just confirmed that with less than 150 students here, no policies can be changed here and motions can only be put to a referendum.
The first item is the election of the Deputy Chair of the SU. There are less than 150 people here, and a member of the audience has just described it as a “joke” that the Deputy Chair is being elected without that number of people attending.
The meeting how now officially been opened, and the validation of the decision to leave the NUS will be the third item on the agenda.
According to SU by-laws, if between 50 and 150 people attend the meeting then a motion can be put to a referendum, but if there are more than 150 then an issue can be decided here and now.
There were concerns that attendance would be affected by this meeting being held on a week when many courses were on reading week. But, that doesn’t seem to be the case with a huge crowd currently gathered ahead of the 3pm start.
Today’s meeting is expected to kick off at around 3pm. Other issues to be discussed include funding for sports and societies as well as priorities for the union over the next 4 years. Read our original article on the NUS controversy here.