Debate, Democracy and Change

The Students’ Union hosted its largest democratic meeting of the year.

Over 600 students attended Cardiff University Students’ Union Annual General Meeting last Thursday to have their voices heard through democracy.
The event, which is held once a year, is the largest meeting hosted by the organisation, and welcomed all students to vote for or against ‘tabled motions’, shaping the future of their union.
“Every Cardiff University student is invited and encouraged to attend,” said a statement from the union. “[this allows] great opportunity for discussions and debates.”
The meeting began with a speech from the students’ union President Sophie Timbers, revealing various successes from the past year that are outlined in full in the Annual Impact Report.

Daniel Palmer, Chief Executive of the union continued to summarise the annual Financial Report, which most notably publicised the Union’s £2.4 million loss.
Students were given the opportunity to ask both representatives questions, during which accusations and criticisms were made about the union.
The main body of the meeting then began with five tabled motions proposed by students who had four minutes to summarise their proposition.
The first motion, titled ‘Periods in Poverty’ called for sanitary product donation bins to be available within university toilets to donate to women in need, which passed with an overwhelming majority.
The second motion, ‘Student Accommodation – Equity Over Profit’ asked the union to lobby the university to freeze any profits on university owned accommodation in the last five years by reducing rent. After a hand count due to the closeness in vote numbers, the motion failed.
The third motion requested that a new part-time Mental Health Campaign Officer be created for the union passed, despite opposition from the current Students with Disabilities Officer, Charlie Knights.

The penultimate motion, ‘Challenge don’t Censor’ saw some of the most passionate speeches of the evening, as students debated whether students should always be allowed a platform within the university, regardless of their views as long as they were inside the law. After talk of “fascism”, “validity” and “silencing”, the motion eventually passed.

Finally, ‘Being a Zero Tolerance Union’ passed almost unanimously, voting to extend the Union’s current policy on sexual harassment to include harassment of any nature.
To get involved in other democratic events run by the Student’s Union, keep an eye on the Union website.

(Feature Image created by Cardiff University Students’ Union)