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Designed To Live On Luck?
The dynamic duo of Joyanta Rakshit and Dinesh Ganesarajah provide critical analysis on whether Faculty Committees are designed to live on luck.
"The RCSU has plunged into darkness"?
We've had the best attended freshers' events than the RCSU has had for the last seven years. We have already raised more for RAG than the last three years put together (and considerably more than C&G and RSM put together this year). We've got agreement to bring back the Beer Festival. We're forming what promises to be one of Imperial's most popular clubs. We've got more people involved in running RCS than since the early 90s. At 31.2%, the last election we ran had one of the highest turnouts of any ICU election for a very long time.
If this is plunging into darkness, then you lot are welcome to the light.
Having said that, the fact remains that the RCS is being split into two faculties. It is not that I do not care about the RCSU, it is more that College have made it unsustainable. There is no way that we can continue as we are. Whether we are replaced by faculty unions, associations, committees or whatever, there is no place in those organisations for the current RCSU clubs.
Which faculty should we ask the RCS football club to work under? Or the RCS Motor Club? Should we force them to be part of one faculty, but not the other? If we do that, then you are immediately causing problems for the members who come from the other faculty. If you say the clubs should go under both, then which one administers them? Which one does the RCS Cricket Club captain go to for his cheques?
Neither of these is a viable option. Therefore there is only one alternative - CSC control.
Turn out at last year's RCSU elections was 13% not 31%... only 2% more than the sabbatical elections and way behind RSMU, C&GCU and ICSMSMSMSSU.
I appreciate the difficulty for the RCSU clubs... but why does this impact on principle whether Faculties can have clubs?
There's no problem for the engineering and medic clubs. And what if the students of the life and/or physical sciences faculties decide want to start their own clubs. Why prevent them?
31.2% for the Chemistry Dep Rep election this November.
CSC control is easier for administrative purposes and it clears up a lot of ambiguities with the current CCU club system. There is no need to foster caring or even liking for CSCs - what we need to do is create a spirit of belonging to each club. It is the clubs, after all, that are the main point of contact for normal, non-hack students, and the vast majority of these don't give two hoots who runs the club, as long as it is run well.
If clubs are strong, then their leaders will probably want to go up a stage and help out at CSC level, as happens currently.
And CSC control will not prevent any students from any faculty forming any club. The whole point of a CSC is to help create and maintain clubs, not to stand in their way.
...but if the students in those clubs *want* to be under CCU/FU control???
I feel that the main reason the other CCUs do not want to part with their clubs is that they feel that their perceived power has been eroded on education and welfare, and clubs are their last power base.
It's time to stop ring-fencing. It's also time to stop saying what the students want and actually ask them for a change.
Maybe you should start practicing what you preach Stuart.....
"It's also time to stop saying what the students want and actually ask them for a change"
Funny but didn't think that was your policy - or at least you haven't shown it
It has been widely observed that your average student at Imperial does not care who administers their activities, simply that they are able to pursue them as effectively as possible and get the best level of support from the Union when doing so.
I am willing to bet that the majority of students also don't know what CCU they belong to and, most probably, what CSC their activities are administered by.
Luckily, most students don't need to know who administers their activities, just the individuals with responsibility for the club.
And these individuals get the best support from the CSC structure precisely because of the fact that we do not discriminate against our members.
I don't care what department they are from and, consequently, we are able to concentrate on the core issues affecting our clubs (on a CSC level) and all student activities (via SAC).
I am sorry you are losing the CCU entities, but forcing student activities to operate underneath a structure that they have little or no connection with is simply madness.
To the person who doesn't wish to be identified: my view has been based on talking to students. In the two weeks before Sen's paper went to council, the RCSU undertook the biggest and most detailed and unbiased consultation exercise of any of the CCUs. Since then, I continually ask people around me what their views are.
In contrast, the C&G people have decided their position in C&G council, and I fear it drastically differs from the views of their students. RSM and ICSM both held EGMs, which is good, but the view-gathering abilities of these meetings is questionable.
I do practice what I preach. That's what gives me the ability to do the preaching in the first place.
Moving on from being personally attacked and getting back to the issue, I concur with Dave Rolls's observation that most people do not know or care what CCU or CSC their club is governed by. In the long run, this is likely to continue. What we have to decide is the best and most effecient way of making sure that those clubs are administered. Having umpteen different layers and routes for clubs to run through is not the best way forward. It would be better if there was one system for all clubs, as everything can be co-ordinated with the minimum of effort.
At a General Meeting, 350 medics turned up and specifically voted to have their clubs administered by the Medic Union. Many more proxied votes. What part of that do you not understand? They DO care who runs their clubs, and have the right to have that recognised.
Well, we won't get onto the biased nature of the ICSM general meeting ...
For every one of the 277 people at that meeting, I can point out five that don't give a damn.
Plus the views of the RCS students also count - they just happen to think the complete opposite.
and the numbers for the RCS meeting???
How dare you criticise the ICSM general meeting. Just because that group happens to completely disagree with you, it doesn't make it biased. ICSM students happen to think that working as a group, and having an identity, is important, given that we spend six years doing the same course, with little variability. When will the Union Exec finally learn that it should cater its proposals for the needs and wishes of the student body? If RCS wants to disband, fine. I'll shed no tears. But it's not up to me, it's up to the students of the RCS - as the future of ICSM should be left to the medics.
If you, and David Francis, and all the other ICU intelligensia can't understand that true representation comes from giving people the structure they want, then god help us all.
I "dare" to criticise the ICSM general meeting because the issues that were voted on were of direct importance to what is being discussed at Council. Therefore, those leading the discussion should have laid down the various options in a fair and unbiased way, stating the arguments both for and against each option. That then facilitates the discussion and allows people to come to a fair judgement. Now I'm sure you do not need me to remind you that this is how a fair and democratic general meeting is supposed to work.
Instead, the ICSM general meeting was a farce, with the exec and your good self arguing strongly in favour of one opinion, followed by some oaf fobbing off any othe option as a waste of time before getting everyone to vote.
I objected at the time, but I was unheeded.
Therefore if you really want start using mandates set out by the student population, I suggest that you start making sure they are democratic in the first place.
I would be perfectly happy to endorse the ICSM EGM, even if the results of the votes were exactly the same, if it had been a fair discussion. But it wasn't, so I don't.
And will that person actually identify themselves please, instead of hiding behind pseudonyms. Then people might actually take you seriously.
You were more than welcome to put the opposite points across. But, you make a (reasonably) fair point. So let's do it your way - let's take it to the student body in a referendum - then we can have the free and frank debate, and really see what the student body think.
As for naming five medics for each of the two-hundred-odd medics at that meeting - go on then.... :o)
I am very much in favour of a referendum, as long as the issues are discussed fairly. In fact, I'm quite willing to travel with you around the various college campuses (medic and non-medic) in order to ensure that all the arguments are laid out, should a referendum be called.
And I'll name those 5 medics ... as soon as you tell me who was at the meeting.
Well, let's not crack this old chestnut again please.
In Andy's defence, I think the ICSM EGM made a very definite impact on the way the Union started to think about the identity of its students.
On the other hand, I know a hell of a lot of medics who appear to have a very constricted view of what ICU has to offer, having been fed a long stream of threats as to "what will happen if we let 'them' win" (yes, I still have the e-mail) and not actually being given the full facts in order to make an informed decision about their future.
What exactly does ICSM, or any other CCU for that matter, think is going to be so different under the administrative control of a CSC than their current system?
I would be most interested to hear.
The arguments have been rolled out again and again. But the principal one for me is one of accessibility and ease of use. CSCs traditionally meet at lunchtimes, at ICU. This is the only time the Senior Treasurer comes along to sign the cheques - yada yada yada. Medics are flung far and wide, and cannot always get to South Ken, and it would be a most unsatisfactory state of events to send a different representative each time. Also, if all clubs were to move into the CSCs, it would be likely that ACC (for example) would elect a medic chair, as there would be medic dominance within that CSC. Meetings would then be moved, annoying those on the South Ken campus who are happy with the lunchtime set up.
In addition, (for example), the medics music society keep meeting right through the summer vacation. Having the ICSM Pres and Treasurer available at the same time means that things run very smoothly on an admin front. If we were part of A&E, it would be likely that we would have to keep pestering the DP(C&S) just as they are handing over/taking over etc etc, for minor things like cheques being signed.
Also - medics aren't generally filled with venom about ICU - I strongly object to it when it happens, as ICU provides a strong, safe foundation for student activities across the College. However, all we are asking for is recognition of the unique position our make-up puts us in. It's not an independence bid, it's not a "f*ck you ICU" bid, it's just COMMON SENSE - something which appears to be sadly lacking.
Stuart, Andy and David,
I, and many others I'm sure, would appreciate it if you would stop this conversation immediately. You're wandering dangerously close to an informed discussion, with clear points being made and direct answers to the questions posed. It would be much better if we could return to the blinkered, irrational, illogical turf wars that we have all come to know and love.
And to Andy about the lunchtime meetings - I agree with you there, as a Chemistry student with lectures to go to during RCC treasurers meetings. It would be nice if there options for treasurers unable to attend these meetings. Any suggestions?
But enough of the sensible discussion, it spoils all the fun.
As an alternative to treasurer's meetings at annoying times, I would suggest some sort of electronic claim submission with on-line progress tracking.
Wow. Theres has been discussion? (Have I arrived too late)? Anyway. I too am wondering why I am still haunting this joint. But with so much grief in my inbox, the temptation to take this opportunity to poke and prod at Sen was too great :-)
- Don?t tell Stuart this secret, but CCU clubs aren?t really clubs per se (we just tell ICU that to swindle money). They?re actually ?extensions? of the core ? extensions of the belief in the CCU. Example:
- A "normal" ICU Chess Club probably does not care if it?s in RCC, ACC, OSC or whatever.
- C&G Motor Club, the Internship Centre, all those CCU sports clubs etc are actually extensions of identity associated with the CCU ? its like the "club"-extension is saying "we believe so much in this identity we want to play football under this identity". They care which CCU/CSC group they are in.
- So while OSC has to discount International Night tickets to its societies to get them to sell, the CGCU DepSocs are sometimes offended if you don?t give them full-price tickets to sell. I've even once seen posters "ICSM Freshers Ball organised by Medic Hockey Club" ? could that happen outside a CCU?
- It is better to have CCU activities under the aegis of the CCU that they really believe in than it not happening at all. The people involved in these societies will slowly but surely lose their belief by being exported to a CSC and not ever talking to their CCU. CCU clubs in CSCs die-off (C&G Boxing) or expatriate (Pimlico, Radio).
- The CCU way of running clubs is NOT better/worse than the CSC way ? its just different. Instead of being efficient and indiscriminate in administration, the CCU's "club-extensions" are more integrated with the CCU. The Internship Centre "club" even integrates education/welfare with the core identity and belief in the CCU.
By the way - If anyone if knows where to get some decent carrot cake (other than Starbucks), be sure to tell me. thanx.
Dinesh, were you on the TV yesterday at some star studded comedy night?
Carrot cake, try Esquires in the glouster road arcade!!
With regards too Dinesh's observation that he once saw "ICSM Freshers Ball organised by Medic Hockey Club"... it doesn't just happen in ICSM.
Last year's Mech Eng buddies scheme was organised by C&G Motor Club. This year DoCSoc are organising inter-dept paintball, while the mascotry tream [groan] are organising the Egg Race... C&G Rugby also have a tradition of getting invovled with the more physical aspects of Rag...
As Dinesh says, many CCU clubs just wouldn't be the same without the regular CCU/FU contact they get by being under their administration. That's not to say that CSCs are bad - or that CCUs are good. It just means that one form of administration just happens to be better for that particular "club".
And yes, most (non-Medic) CCU clubs aren't really "clubs" in the ICU sense - except for Union Finance office and budgeting purposes.
OK everyone, break for Christmas and we'll get the boxing gloves back on next term.
Have a good holiday.
Live! will not be breaking for Xmas... but best wishes to all non-the-less.
btw Dinesh is right. That carrot cake in Starbucks is fantastic!
Hang on! I answer points in an argument, waiting for some comback to destroy my position completely - and instead it's "break for Christmas?!?!" - *uck me!
You see? My point proved entirely. Medics are still here for the rest of the week, we have a music society meeting tomorrow night - everyone else is boozing and eating mince pies at home.
medics and postgrads...
Indeed, the silence is almost refreshing after last weeks madness....
Well, part of the problem was that ICT (formerly CCS) decided to firewall off our server this morning! Fortunately, they have now unfirewalled it - but we've probably lost some traffic in the mean time.
Bake your own carrot cake. The trick is not to burn it. Cover the top with paper and when it's nearly ready stick a skewer in every five minutes and see if it comes out covered in gunk.
Make sure it cools before you put the buttercream on or it all runs off. Trust me I've done this before.
Any more good recipes?? Maybe we should publish a C&G Cookbook!!
Maybe we could somehow work that into Rag...
Even the odd CSC Chair is here, meeting with students "outside of the term" and, sadly, trying to catch up with some of the real issues affecting student activities having had to sit through umpteen crappy meetings this last term.
Andy, it is refreshingly British to break for Christmas some might say.
In any event, if you wish for comebacks to your arguments I suggest you scroll up and read the article again since, as you say, the same arguments are rolled out again and again.
How do you keep a Union hack amused for days? ;op
And even those of us who aren't in college at the moment are still keeping their eye on things (the mince pies and booze are lovely, by the way).
I'm still working on union stuff out here in the darkest depths of Wales when I could have my feet up in front of the telly.
It's a bit sad really, isn't it?
Still, I imagine we'll all lock horns again in January. In fact, I might write an article for Live on why CCUs should be abolished altogether... That should get things going!
See you all in January.
IC has 10,000 students. To say that 99% of us don't give a hoot about any of the Unions (ICU, RCSU, CGCU etc.) would be a gross understatement.
And it would be a lie, as without the Union, the clubs and societies would be taken away, thus pissing a lot of people off.
This is Imperial! No-one cares about anything...
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