Michaelmas Termly General Meeting

Minutes of the termly general meeting on Thursday 7th Week, Michaelmas Term 2018.

OULD TGM MT18 Minutes

Michaelmas Term, 2018 7th Week

22nd November, 2018

Present: Finn Conway (President), Adam Higgins (Ex-President), Sam Cole (Ex-President), Damayanti Chatterjee (President-elect), Jake Olenick (Treasurer), Edd Peckston (Secretary), Olly Besley (Spirits), George Wright (Returning Officer), Patrick Chapman (Campaigns), Shreyus Ganesh (Comms), Abbie McGhee (General Committee), Lauren Evans (General Committee), Ben Harris (General Committee), Omasan Harriman, Oliver Tushingham, George Dunlop, Sandra Xu, Thomas Laver (Ex-Social Secretary), Hannah Kidner, Tucker Drew

Meeting starts at: 18:51

FC: You should all have the agenda – it’s been emailed to you all.

PC: Quorum?

FC: Yes. Does anyone have any procedural motions?

TL: I move for Amendment 5 to be done first

OB: I move for 1, 1a, and 12 to be taken all at the same time because they all pertain to the same discussion

Vote on procedural motions

Nem con

Debate on Amendment 5

FC: I’ll hand over to Thomas to propose his

TL: Currently the constitution allows for a DC to just about give out a drinking ban. Drinking bans are a good thing. This amendment formalises it in the constitution and shows a drinking ban relates to an in camera discussion. Allows for punishments to be enforced.

EP: I believe that it should be at the discretion of the disciplinary committee how many terms it should be for.

TL: Two terms is enough time. Indefinite is a bit odd.

EP: I formally move an amendment to have the number of terms at the DC’s discretion

TL: Not taken as friendly

Debate on proposed amendment to Amendment 5

OB: Agree with the amendment. Coming to our events is a privilege and misbehaviour should be punished.

ZF: Disagree with the amendment – 2 terms ban is fine. If we have to ban them for more, we should just ban them from our events.

TL: This is only one of many punishments that can be given out. A drinking ban should be time-limited.

PC: Include a proviso to have a review after 2 terms.

FC: People have the right to appeal.

SG: I would have the review after a term. I agree with Patrick with after 2 terms.

BH: Why can’t we leave this to the DC’s discretion?

EP: Move to vote

8 in favour 5 against 1 abstaining

Amendment to Amendment 5 passes

DC: I move to vote in parts.

TL: I don’t think that taking the motion in parts has any point to it.

SG: More to discuss

Vote on motion to vote in parts

8 in favour 4 against 1 abstention

Motion passes

Vote on part one

Passes nem con

Debate on part 2

PC: I disagree with part 2 – DC free to choose on what punishment is appropriate

SG: I agree with Patrick – punishment should fit the offence. This removes the ability of the DC to do that.

EP: It’s good that a final warning can have provisos. This removes power from the DC.

TL: The DC shouldn’t be able to conjure up punishments. Punishments should fit the crime, it leaves it open to appeal at the moment

GD: Constitutions should be minimal. We shouldn’t limit the remit of the DC committee

DC: Allowing the DC to come up with punishments is a big hole that needs to be addressed – we don’t specify what the DC can do. We can call an EGM if we need to add a punishments.

ZF: There should be certainty in the law – limits should be imposed on the DC

Move to vote on part 2

10 in favour 2 against 3 abstaining

Part 2 passes

Debate on part 3

FC: Final part of amendment?

TL: This ensures committee interacts with the DC properly

Move to vote

Passes nem con

Amendemt 5 carried in part as amended

FC: Amendment 5 carried as amended

Thomas Laver leaves the room

AH: I’d like to clarify that we need to vote on a move to vote

FC: Yes.

Cedes chair to DC

Debate on Amendments 1, 1a, and 12

OB: Could I clarify that we’ll hear the propostions for 1, 1a, and 12 all together before any debate?

DC: Yes we will.

EP: No summary to 1 and 1a.

FC: So we had a discussion in committee. Amendment 1 seeks to change how campaigning requirements work. 1 hour of campaigning will = 1 point. RO’s discretion with events with less than a week’s notice. The RO’s decision as to whether the event counts for point will have to be clearly communicated to members. Includes keeping a register.

GD: To clarify: what do you mean with a week’s notice?

FC: This is a week’s notice for events. Amends later bit to show how many points people need. The RO may accept a nomination at their discretion that doesn’t meet the threshold. Flexibility still present. No point for general committee. 2 points for Junior Office. 10 hours for Senior Office. President: 16 points/hours. I worked out these numbers with the average number of events that we have. That’s the proposition.

DC: 1a?

FC: 1a adds that charity counts and renames campaigning points to activist points.

GD: Does Charity SDs count?

FC: No.

Jake Olenick enters the room

OB: My amendment removes complication of having a %. Have 1 event for a junior office, have 2 events for a senior office, and 4 events for President. Lots of people are currently missing requirements. The constitution is currently just selecting candidates in election for our members. Some offices mean that people have no time to campaign – like social secretary. Dedication to the society should be rewarded. The principle for campaign requirements should be to discourage entryism. Having the current % system is stopping people planning effectively. Excludes a lot of people. The Campaigns Officer should focus on doing events, rather than keeping a register. Big barrier with exceptional circumstances. It means that insiders are aware of how they can stretch the system.

DC: So we’ll do a debate for all of them

AH: I would like to question changing the current system to have a fixed number of events.

OB: Big issue at the moment about confusion over the number of events. It’s easier for people to see that they have to do a certain number of events.

FC: We had a committee meeting on Monday where we discussed having points rather than percentages.

BH: I’m in support of points, but I envisaged having just a points value for events. I think it might be problematic with hours to keep track of what people are doing.

Sandra Xu leaves the room

OT: Amendment to change it hours rather than points?

FC: I take it as friendly

PC: Would it be possible to amend it to replace all mention of hours to hours equivalent?

FC: Not friendly

PC’s amendment withdrawn

HK: A bit confused – hourly turn-up to event doesn’t reflect set up. They might be doing several hours of set-up. Why don’t we count this?

FC: Essentially we wanted to ensure that people actually go out and campaign when we introduced this in TT17 – this was why we introduced campaign requirements. This reflects our aim on the constitution.

Adam Higgins, Omasan Harriman enter the room

OB: How do you justify people not running and excluding people from office. Also why charity? Why should OULD dictate that you have to campaign for charities that we decide upon?

FC: I was mandated to do this at the last committee meeting. A lot of charities align with what we do in campaigns. Eg. Homelessness in Oxford.

OB: What about limiting choices?

FC: If people don’t put in the work for the Lib Dems – they shouldn’t stand

JO: If we restrict choice – the only people having to make these choices are people who are involved in committee. We aren’t restricting people who don’t know.

FC: Only applies for officers – not for General Committee

Sam Cole leaves the room

OB: Not fair that the constitution dictates it to you. You should be able to flaunt your campaigning during an election. We are in the unique position of having an appeal through SDs. The idea that you can say that that is the end point of what our appeal is seems wrong to me.

EP: The important thing is that people are actually doing charity events.

SG: Two things. One, I agree with Edd. More importantly, in theory people should be able to flaunt their campaigning in theory, but that means that everyone can nominate. Elections here mean people’s friends voting for them. Having it as a strict barrier for entry is important.

ZF: Agree with Olly. Some people don’t have time/ are too introverted to run for office. We’re asking a lot of people on top of their degree. Our approach to charity wouldn’t be as bad as OUCA.

LE: Just to comment on charity – I think I would support it if we expand what we do in terms of charity so that it takes more commitment. For example, working directly with homeless. It should approximate campaigning as close as possible. It’s not the same at the moment.

OT: In regards to charity, it’s not principally wrong to force people to do charity. But is a bit perverse to support charities that we support. It also doesn’t seem as necessary as campaigning for the Lib Dem.

SG: To address what Lauren is saying – very valid. We should blur the lines between it and campaigning. A lot more campaigning on issues for students, for examples. For example, homelessness. We need to be getting more of a conversation about what we do for charity before we pass this.

JO: We have in the past gone around to get people into shelters. We can do that again. If charity and campaigning are treated the same it will facilitate us doing more of it. Removes a barrier to us doing more arduous charity.

OH: Campaigning is very hard for introverted people. I support making charity more integrated with campaigning. Have separate charity points?.

OB: Specifically to Shreyus – my amendment doesn’t remove barriers. I get annoyed about how we seem to be unbelievably paternalistic about our constitution. Yes have a great campaigning culture. Yes have a great charity culture. But it’s not a liberal thing to mandate people to do charity. We can’t be hypocritical. Let’s have a sensible democratic process – we shouldn’t have just a committee that just means that we have a committee that fits in. We should apply our politics to our society.

Move to vote

12 for 3 against

Vote on Amendment 1

4 for 7 against 5 abstaining

Amendment 1 fails

1a withdrawn

Vote on amendment 12

10 for 3 against 2 abstaining

Amendment 12 passes

Debate on Amendment 2

Break for election results at 19:46. Restart at 19:51

FC: The Alumni Officer will work to arrange alumni events.

Move to vote

12 for 3 against 1 abstaining

Vote on Amendment 2

11 for 2 against 2 abstaining

Amendment 2 passes

Amendment 3 withdrawn

Chair passes back to FC

Amendment 4 withdrawn

Debate on Amendment 6

DC: This adds it to make sure that goes to the relevant university authorities when it’s a potentially criminal matter.

GD: Do we have procedure for what falls under this?

George Wright leaves the room

DC: The amendment specifies if it breaks university practice or the law.

JO: This came up in committee – is there any way to preserve permission from the complainant?

Friendly amendment to preserve permission from the complainant

OB: Is a committee member potentially in a position to be complicit?

DC: This means that the DC are required to pass in on with the permission of the complainant.

OB: I’m concerned with us breaking the law. Is this us taking the law into our hands?

GD: In schools there is a safety lead. There should be a focus point for who is responsible for passing information on.

FC: It’s not about committee

ZF: George’s point is about the DC.

GD: Part of the RO’s brief?

FC: The RO doesn’t sit on the DC.

GD: Should be assigned to one officer

DC: The DC already have a spokesperson.

GD: Make the DC spokesperson responsible?

EP: Would require making that a position.

Finn Conway proposes amendment

DC: Unfriendly


Debate on amendment that that the most senior ex-officer in order of election sitting on the DC be responsible for disseminating information

ZF: I don’t agree that this should be on one person – shouldn’t be too onerous on one person.

BH: Not too worried. I think we can overthink think this motion

EP: This changes too radically how it changes how DCs work. The DC are a legal body.

ZF: I agree with Edd – having as one body maintains anonymity. They can agree to one thing

GD: In response: I’m not familiar with the way that DCs work. But I fully back clarity with how we give information to the relevant authorities. The point of contact should be one person.

Move to vote

14 for 1 abstaining

Vote on FC’s amendment

6 for 5 against 3 abstaining

Amendment to amendment 6 passes

Move to vote

Nem con

Vote on Amendment 6

11 for Against 3 Abstain 1

Amendment 6 passes as amended

Debate on Amendment 7

OB: Amendment 7 – this adds clarity to the Spirits Officer section. Means that their duties are specific to spirited discussions. This also adds provision for non-drinkers. I’m friendly amending this to remove reference to the Spirits Officer maintaining full sobriety. Make sure that Spirits Officer is held accountable.

Friendly amendment to remove reference to the Spirits Officer remaining full sobriety throughout

Move to vote

15 for 1 against

Vote on Amendment 7

12 for 1 against 2 abstaining

Amendment 7 passes

Debate on Amendment 8

OB: The next one is slightly more controversial. This removes the requirement for the Social Sec to not drink. The President can give them special permission to drink. The Social Secretary didn’t have a great time this term. This also makes it a requirement for the Social sec to ensure that people are aware of the alcoholic nature of events. This adds provision for anonymous feedback afterwards. Asking untrained people to be stewards is not realistic if we have crewdates. They are still required to look after people and can be held to account.

GD: In favour, but wanted clarification about making sure people are aware that it’s alcoholic.

OB: We can make sure it’s on the event and on the email.

BH: I fully support this – it keeps the drinking at the President’s discretion.

Vote on Amendment 8

14 for 1 abstaining

Amendment 8 passes

Debate on Amendment 9

OB: Adds provision for disabilities officer. Doesn’t necessarily have to be disabled or a trained professional – we can have an anonymous form to make them aware of any requirements that a person has.

GD: Under different welfare role? There have been an explosion of welfare roles.

FC: There are none relevant to this

Friendly amendment to amend section 5 (5) as well

JO: Friendly amendment to change typo?

Friendly amendment to add the Disabilities Officer to the other list of welfare officers in 13 (1)

FC: On a further point: You haven’t added a specific set of requirements. Amendment to add Section 13 (9) ‘The Disabilities Officer shall (a) represent all members of the Society and non-members attendees of Society events who identify as disabled (b) identify as being disabled (c) ensure that provision is available at all Society events for disabled members.

DC: This person doesn’t seem to be a specific welfare role. Could we not implement this to be a role of the Social Sec?

FC: On that note these requirements are listed in 13 (4) – so I won’t submit my amendment

Hannah Kidner leaves the room

GD: My motion wasn’t taken as friendly, so my amendment was that this fall under the purview of another officer. But I withdraw my amendment for another time.

OH: We should strive to make all our events accessible.

Move to vote

Nem con

Vote on Amendment 9

11 for 2 against 2 abstaining

Amendment 9 passes as amended

Sang happy birthday for Ben Harris

Dabte on Amendment 10

OB: Amendment 10. The RO should prepare a proper online ballot: makes it less hacky as people at the moment are just given a pre-prepared ballot. The returning officer should encourage turnout as a neutral official as well

JO: Amendment to encourage turnout at hustings?

Friendly amendment to add ‘at hustings and in elections’.

GD: Against this – the RO is neutral. The responsibility for turnout falls to others.

DC: How would this work?

OB: The President and President-elect aren’t necessarily neutral figures.

ZF: RO is the most relevant person to do this. Also the most reasonable person to do this. Turnout at the moment is poor.

GD: Should be role of the exec

EP: What we already do. The RO already publicises elections by email. This formalises what we do.

GD: I move to vote in parts

10 in favour 2 against 1 abstain

Move to vote

Nem con

Vote on part one

Nem con

Vote on part two

9 in favour 3 against 1 abstaining

Amendment 10 passes as amended

Debate on Amendment 11

OB: We passed a motion last term to ban slates. I’m uncomfortable with the society restricting what its members do. It gets broken quietly anyway. And it encourages an insider mentality

PC: If slates are too large – amendment it to have a maximum of 5?

EP: That would be a rider

PC: I withdraw it then.

JO: I want to address the idea that’s illiberal. As it stands it restricts the power of those who have it. This only repeals a section, it doesn’t add a section. On the point that people break it anyway – they now have to fear that they’re now committing electoral malpractice.

EP: The wording of the current clause is really bad and leaves open a lot of loopholes.

GD: How would you phrase it?

EP: I have no right of reply.

OB: respond to Jake – I don’t think his analogy is valid. People talking to each other is not equivalent to the President threatening to shoot you. The issue is that it is overreaching as it stands. For me I don’t think working together is worth sacrificing free acts in a democratic society

OH: Slates are exclusionary. People are more likely to run if they don’t feel that they have a force of people against them.

Move to vote

4 in favour 10 against

 SG: Slates were never properly deemed to be a problem. Presidents-elect should be allowed to campaign for people they want to work with in their term. You can find someone impossible to work with and you should be able to campaign for who you want to work with.

Move to vote

4 in favour 9 against  

AH: President-elect is running, not President.

BH: We can’t just live in an idealistic way. We were never toxic with slates. In other societies it was a real problem when slates were banned. Selective enforcement is a problem. For example OUSU.

JO: To address the idea that selective enforcement is illiberal. There is only ever one slate in OULD. What constitutes a slate? It’s often been pointed out that I have no idea what slates are in OULD. Selective enforcement is fine because you are only punishing one group. Amendment 12 has lowered the barriers, but there won’t be more than one slate. Something good about a slate? There is only one view that we should support: the furthering of the Lib Dems in Oxford. Slates cannot judge competency.

Move to vote

12 in favour 2 against

Vote on Amendment 11

7 for 6 against 1 abstaining

Amendment 11 passes

Closes at 20:55


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