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Council reject paper to help Zohair Abu-Shaban

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Nov 04 2008 14:42
 

Palestinian student allowed to leave Gaza, but place at Imperial deferred until next year

Click Here for the Full Article

Nov 04 2008 22:23
 

If Zohair does arrive in London tomorrow he will have his place, this was confirmed by the Rector afer Hannah and I met him this morning.

Nov 04 2008 22:25
 

*after

3. yawn   
Nov 05 2008 16:52
 

Well that's a non story then. Good research right there

Nov 05 2008 21:50
 

Hang on a minute. If he's a month behind - and has agreed to wait a year - is it really advantageous to let him start anyway? You can miss an awful lot in the first month.

The key question is probably: if he decides to wait until next year, will he get stuck again or can College sponsor him for a visa for this year even though he wouldn't be a student? From his point of view, it's probably better to wait and do some industrial experience if College will sponsor him.

5. bored   
Nov 06 2008 10:15
 

Would it make more sense to have a slightly earlier deadline for papers to council to give people the chance to get feedback (emails from council members) and revise what they have written?

I know the article says that the paper will be re-written and submitted next council. It seems like we are making people who don't often attend central union meetings do all the legwork just because they haven't quite understood the rules, when it would better to make it easier to encourage further participation etc.

In an ideal world advice would have been sort before submitting the paper, but if the clubs weren't really aware of who to ask then that is where the problems start.

Having papers that have already been picked apart and put back together by the Hacks presented at council, might make council an easier place to stomach?

PS I thought that the Union could act in the interest of its students and its future students (environmental policy anyone?), so if he had deferred I don't see the issue... we could still help?

Nov 06 2008 13:29
 

Short of getting the CGCU pres, RCSU pres and Medic Pres to fly out there and rescue him in their personal vehicles. (mental image: jez and bo driving through the desert with some kind of phonix entity flying above). What can council do?

Nov 06 2008 14:18
 

Get the College to put some pressure on a few government ministers to look into the situation.

It's one of the few circumstances related to international issues where it does ACTUALLY make sense for ICU to do something.

Nov 06 2008 14:33
 

My general impression was that this was a situation where something could have been done in the way that was suggested in the paper; letter writing and so on. The exact situation may have changed/been resolved, but is likely to happen again with a new war or border closure.

Nov 06 2008 15:23
 

@ yawn:

I do not know, as I was not there, but I am confident that Andrew's account of the Council meeting is pretty dead on accurate and I think this is a well written, relevant and worthwhile story. The 'research' required is pretty much turning up to the meeting and writing about it. Your complaint does not stand up so please go and yawn somewhere else.

Nov 09 2008 22:49
 

Since when has Council been about making sense?

Nov 16 2008 08:56
 

Having glanced over the Council minutes from this session I'm slightly concerned:

  • "The Council Chair informed Council that this paper will not be considered for the following reasons.

i. After the 31st October Zohair is no longer consider a student of Imperial College.

ii. The Gaza border opens tomorrow.

iii. College have deferred his place until next year."

Surely it is Council's decision, not the Council Chair's, whether or not they wish to consider a paper. The Council Chair should never 'inform' Council that something will not be considered.

  • "i. The Council Chair also pointed out that in his opinion the paper is ultra vires in that what some of the resolutions are asking for is out of Union control."

Council Chair is not there to have an opinion. He is supposed to be completely unbiased. There is no way you can claim to have a neutral Chair when the minutes include say things like "in the Council Chair's opinion..."

  • "h) The Council Chair stated that he agreed that the paper highlights a serious issue which is strongly supports but in the papers current format is not suitable for Council to make a decision on and suggested that a more generalised paper be written and submitted and Council can support through that way."

It just gets worse. This guy is trying to influence debate and decision making on Union Policy!!!!

  • "iv. The Council Chair offered his services in assisting with the redrafting of the paper."

Well I hope if a new paper is submitted he stands down from the Chair and admits that he helped write it...

  • "i) Council moved to a vote to consider the paper but it was unanimously voted not to consider the paper."

The only saving grace... someone rememberd we are a democracy, not a dictatorship under the control of Mr. Council Chair.

12. Afonso   
Nov 16 2008 13:59
 

I do not want to do this, but think certain things need to be clarified. It is not my place be doing this so will not engage in a back an forth online and hope you will not ask me to do so. The minutes are not completely accurate and I will bring this up next council. In fact, the issues you raised were the exact ones I had planned to address when coming to accept council minutes from previous session.

"Surely it is Council's decision, not the Council Chair's, whether or not they wish to consider a paper. The Council Chair should never 'inform' Council that something will not be considered."

Discussing with relevant sabbs, they it was believed the paper became less relevant. At council, I passed these concerns on as requested. All these issues were purely to raise the question that a lot of things in the paper could potentially not be dealt with by the union. Again, this is not my opinion but one that was voiced through the chair upon request.

? "Council Chair is not there to have an opinion. He is supposed to be completely unbiased. There is no way you can claim to have a neutral Chair when the minutes include say things like "in the Council Chair's opinion..."

I never said such a thing and at no point did I give an opinion on issue of the paper itself. I mentioned the paper was important, as is every paper brought to council. I pointed out questions have been raised to me with issues of ultra vires.

? "It just gets worse. This guy is trying to influence debate and decision making on Union Policy!!!!"

I did indeed mention the issue was serious and the paper important. I like to think that any paper and issue brought to council are important as they do have the potential to make differences. I did not say I supported the issue or not. I also suggested a correctly formatted paper. I do not see how all of this is actually influencing debate and policy. I did not at all want it to be seen this way and do genuinely apologise if my words have been misconstrued this way. It is hard getting these things in minutes though as I'm sure you understand.

? "Well I hope if a new paper is submitted he stands down from the Chair and admits that he helped write it..."

I said I will give advice on how to write a paper. The FORMAT of the paper was wrong (ie. issues with NOTES and BELIEVES), and I said I would, indeed, help explain the problems with these issues so that, were the paper to be presented again, it would be in correct form. I did not mention I would help redraft its content per se. If at any point I write or help write the content of any paper, be assured I would step down as chair then and fully understand when this needs to be done.

? "The only saving grace... someone remembered we are a democracy, not a dictatorship under the control of Mr. Council Chair."

I mentioned several times the paper could still be moved to a vote. In fact, I asked the paper proposer if he would like to move this paper for voting.

Just to reiterate; At no point did I convey or mention my stance and opinion on this paper. I really hope this addresses and clarifies your issues and any that someone else may have had. I hope you are able to attend Monday's (tomorrow's) Council meeting and make a decision for yourself how I carry out these out and not have to rely on minutes that cannot convey everything that went on. I welcome critique on how to run the meetings, so thanks for bringing this stuff up.

13. Afonso   
Nov 16 2008 14:00
 

Just realised there are a few typos and mistakes, apologies.

Nov 16 2008 15:47
 

Good stuff. Glad to hear it is just in-accurate minutes. I did think it was strange as I was under the impression we had somebody competent in the position this year. Thanks for clearing it up.

15. Editor   
Nov 19 2008 10:28
 

I received the following update to the Live! account:

"Zohair managed to cross over into Egyptian soil on Tuesday 4th November and was in Egyptian custody for around 14hours, with the relevant and appropriate documentation. Suddenly he, and 400 other students were inexplicably told to leave Egypt and were escorted back to Gaza, with their documents and passports confiscated. Zohair was able to get his passport back on Thursday 6th November and has remained trapped in Gaza since. He is still trying his best to contact officials and get something done to get him out."

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