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College Rejects CGCU, RCSU, ICSMSU

Jul 14 2006 16:31
The Dark Knight
College Council have rejected the results of two student referenda, refusing to accept the use of the CGCU and RCSU names in the ICU constitution.
College has rejected democratically chosen identities

This morning College Council rejected changes to the ICU constitution which would restore the RCSU identity after four years of absence. It was also discovered that changes submitted two years ago to restore the name CGCU were rejected, despite previous Union President Mustafa Arif keeping the changes, indicating they had been accepted.

Both the RCSU and CGCU names were chosen in student referenda - the election where CGCU was chosen had one of the highest paper-ballot turnouts.

These events mean the official ICU constitution, which must be approved by College Council, still refers to the Faculty Unions as:

  • ICFoESA - Imperial College Faculty of Engineering Students Association
  • ICFoNSSA - Imperial College Faculty of Natural Sciences Students Association
  • ICFoMSA - Imperial College Faculty of Medicine Students Association

Senior Union sources have indicated that incoming ICU and former "ICFoESA" President John Collins is "disappointed" by this outcome, particularly the disregard for two democratic decisions by the student body.

"ICFoESA" President James Fok "deeply regrets" the decision, stating that while the "ICFoESA" name better reflects the link to the Faculty, the "original name, which symbolises the link with our founders, is nonetheless equally if not more valuable to our members."

This decision comes as College is gearing up to its centenary year, where it will celebrate its history and ask for donations from its alumni - many of whom were an important part of CGCU, RCSU and RSMU.

The RSM name is unaffected, being defined as a CSC and not a Faculty Students Association.

UPDATE: A petition is available at [|]

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Discussion about “College Rejects CGCU, RCSU, ICSMSU”

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.
1. Tris   
Jul 14 2006 16:50

Well, Spanner is going out as a City and Guilds publication, so tell that to the freshers.

Jul 14 2006 17:08

This is an wholly unacceptable and appalling disgrace. When will Imperial learn that it cannot simply ride roughshod over its students? Not only have the old colleges been abolished, but it now seems that Imperial is striving to delete all reference to them and the rich heritage that they maintain. In a centenary year, Imperial should be looking back at its history as well as forward at what it, with the help and support of its alumni (all of whom, including myself, hold associateships of the colleges Imperial is fighting so hard to delete all reference to), can acheive in the next one hundred years.

3. Sid   
Jul 14 2006 17:21

Now, that I am not really president, I can give my two pence:

Names, do they matter?

Yes they do, especially with respect to our stakeholders and letting them know what they are part of, or were part of. With respect to the old boys, they still remember City & Guilds, and hate that college has chosen to remove this images - how can college go back to these former students and stakeholders and then ask the for money in the centenary year? Those alumni who take an active interest in college are those who were involved with the union and its clubs, if you choose to remove or not acknowledge these institutions which form an integral part of college life for each and every student who passes through them, then you are alienating your stakeholders both current and future - frankly, I think this is a stupid and very myopic strategy, which is already coming around to bite college.

Our other stakeholders are current students of college, though I have found it difficult to communicate the purpose and role of the union in its current form, some of this has been due to the archaic name we have, yes it represents history, heritage, achievement and more, yet quite frankly, it doesn't say "engineering" anywhere. I did propose and got shot down for suggesting adding "Engineering" in our name, whilst maintaing City & Guilds. Coming back to its relevance to the argument - students have many identities when they come to college - the halls you live in, the floor/corridor you are on, the course you do, the langauages you speak, your nationality, race, sex...competing with this is the union you belong to, a few students manage to break through the various layers of identities to recoginse that they are one of: engineer, scientist or medic. Why is this important, well to be frank, students and indeed a majority don't care whether they belong to the Engineering, Science or Medicine Faculties, what they do probably care more about the football club they support and to a certain degree belonging to Imperial College in general. - Let's not bore the students with weird and strange names/identities created to make management structures and diagrams look symmetric.

In my dealings with college, I always found it easy to refer to ourselves as City & Guilds or even Engineering - but my question is, why does college have to prove again and again its pettyness by rejecting such changes to the union's constitution, when it could be doing so much more - how about cheaper student accomodation for all four years of your time at Imperial? How about a cap on overseas student fees? How about improving the terrible catering in college or even creating more library space? Or at all, getting on with its business, rather then bullying the union.

Sir Richard and team, please get on with some real work.

4. Sam   
Jul 14 2006 17:24

You do not necessarily hold an Associateship of "these Colleges".

You would hold an Associateship of the City and Guild Institute, which is a separate body. It bears the Arms of that Institute and it's clearly written on it for all to see. (I checked mine)

Did you think ACGI stood for Associateship of the City and Guilds College... As far as I am aware College starts with a C, not an I.

Now ARSM and ARCS are Associateships of those Colleges (which no longer exist, unlike the CGI)

Jul 14 2006 19:44

I think what is intriguing is that College is allowed to do this - I thought these were Student's Unions - that is, belonging to the students.

If RCSU simply decided to ignore this decision, and put RCSU on their posters and events, would college take down the posters and cancel the events? The budget is presumably already secured. Maybe that's a bit reactionary of me though.

Also I notice that all these new acronyms end with 'A' - as in Association rather than Union. I think this changes the feel of what the organisation is there for a little. Thoughts anyone?

Furthermore, they're all 'IC' as well, rather than ICL... wasn't there something about College moving away from the 'IC' label?

6. James   
Jul 15 2006 02:07

Association or Union, for most students it hardly matters. For these insiders, one of most important things is that their clubs and societies keep running. That is unlikely to change. The student would probably want the "association" remain a channel of complains, and that too is unlikely to be affected.

However for the outsiders, many would link the City and Guilds of London Institute to the academic body that awards vocational diplomas to plumbers and electricians. Not many would be aware of their long engineering tradition and even for Imperial students, the fact that anyone can gain more than just an ACGI, there are MCGI and FCGI. (What do they mean, you could probably guess... if not go and find out.)

Similarly for the RCS, the most important thing that has been taken away from them is the long tradition that partly made Imperial one of the best Science, Technology and Medicine university of the world.

By changing the names to such plain and meaningful ones do give outsider a clear indication of who we are and perhaps even create a sense of unity. There are only a few people in college that came to Imperial when CGCU, ICSM, RCS and RSM were the constituent colleges. Nonetheless, it is very sad to see these names go.

Most importantly, I have doubts as to how serious the college considered the effects of doing such change would be just before the centenary. The last thing the College wants is that the alumni refuse to support them and (perhaps) donate the money to these new associations.

Jul 15 2006 18:27

Wow. I have been studying elec eng for four years and have only just discovered that I get a City&Guilds at the end of it. I could have stayed at 6th form to do that

Jul 16 2006 10:17

Deary me, I'd never thought I'd see the day when ==I== would actually be defending ICU, but here I am.

This latest episode stinks of College not giving a damn about the students, nor about the alumni of the College. But then again, most of the prononuncements during my entire time at the College never thought about the students. We have, time and again, the main and founding principle debased by the College. I give you Point 3 of the Royal Charter to illustrate my point:

"The Objects of the College shall be to provide the highest specialised instruction and the most advanced training, education, research and scholarship in science, technology and medicine, especially in their application to industry; and in pursuit of these objects to act in co-operation with other bodies."

Notice that training and education are described first, to signify the ultimate desire of the Governemnt of the day when it came to founding the College, and that in their eyes the Students were paramount to the success of the College, Country and (at the time) Empire / Commonwealth. Indeed, even going back to 1844 with the RCC (that's Royal College of Chemistry, *not* Recreational Clubs Committee), this was the guiding aim.

Perhaps it's time to take action - to insist that major policy decisions set out by the students in referenda are sacrosanct, and that College should FO when it comes to them. Perhaps, should incoming (for the next 15 days) President Collins desire input from the Alumni over this continuing issue, the Union should institute some form of Campaign site to enable Alumni to know what the Union want's done (perhaps a letter writing campaign).

Jul 16 2006 10:36

I propose a simple solution: ignore them.

The union can work to one constitution, the college can pretend we have another.

In theory this is completely not allowed. But who exactly is going to stop it? Is the college really going to step in and close the union down? They've had enough bad press recently I think...

Jul 16 2006 11:10

Perhaps college could accept the CGCU and RCSU names as formal aliases of ICFoESA and ICFoNSSA.

11. Sid   
Jul 16 2006 14:10

...or perhaps they should f**k off

12. well   
Jul 16 2006 16:52

maybe you shouldnt have accpeted all that cash to build fancy buildings. sell outs.

Jul 16 2006 19:29

Thanks Ed and others for your encouraging comments. A concerted campaign is being prepared. Please watch this space.

If you are an alumnus / alumna and you are concerned about this development then please email me at .

If enough alumni kick up enough of a stink then I think we may be able to pursuade the College to "reconsider".

If that doesn't work, then we shall be forced to consider Mr Pell's advice.

14. Dan L   
Jul 17 2006 01:05

Lets all boycott the shoddy Centenary thing, until they reinstate something that was around 100 years ago...

15. Hack   
Jul 17 2006 09:09

Err... if College have rejected the union's amendments then surely this means that there is no such thing as a Faculty of Natural Sciences Union (regardless of title)?

So do we still have four faculty unions at the moment?

Try explaining that to the freshers...

16. av   
Jul 17 2006 16:06

If the college keep this up, they're going to have deleted enough evidence of actually having a history that people are going to start thinking they're one of these new ex-poly universities which just magically comes a few places higher in the league tables. It's no real surprise so many people still apply to places like Durham and Oxbridge when they actually try to preserve their history in all their infrastructure; metaphorically in their psyche and physically.

17. random   
Jul 24 2006 01:13

Guys is this really that important. Afterall it is only a name. I personally came here because of Imperial College London not because of C&G. If I wanted something from C&G I would have done a plumbing course or something. How many of you non hacky people actually get involved in their faculty unions. To me, there are more people who are involved in clubs and soc than their faculty unions. Also I personally dont think campaigning about a stupid name is the best use of a sabbaticals time, we pay these people 25K a year. Get them to do something useful. I am sure there are better things to fight about!

Jul 24 2006 07:45

You've missed the point - the names were chosen in referenda. College overturning our referenda sets a very bad precedent.

I'm sure the sabbs wish they got 25k a year...

Jul 24 2006 09:34

Saying that an ACGI is like a "City and Guilds" in plumbing is like comparing an Oxbridge degree to an OCR AS level.

20. huh?   
Jul 24 2006 09:46

Where in the petition does it say that the faculty union names are instead of the union continuing to run all its clubs and socs?

Aug 25 2006 09:57

Personally, the idqa of the history behind Imperial is what attracted me to the institution that was then The Imperial College of Science, Technoilogy and Medicine. This renaming (or rather not renaming) of institutions by the college smacks of the continued rebranding - and we all remember how much that was liked. £7M for two tone Ariel and the lossof any "cultural identity" to seperate it from any modern polytech.

Total rubbish. Even though it was long since extinct (in any form other than the RCS motor club), I always thought of myself as RCS, but then again, I am a traditionalist.

Being alumnus, I wouldn't donate money to college when they're stripping the union of its identity - especially an identity that the students themselves wanted. It's just plain wrong and appears to be management for the sake of it, another step in showing that the students don't really matter because Imperial is being run as a business. It's not, and neither should it be. OK, things that get too caught up in their past will die, but stripping all reference to a rich history seems extreme and a little like a PC gone mad exercise.

Mind you, with this new rebranding surely this would mean that you'd have to remove the crest from Live! as well as from the Union Bar....

22. Editor   
Aug 25 2006 10:13

The crest stays.

The place isn't officially called "Imperial College London", that's just a brand - there's no reason why we shouldn't keep our brand until this decision is reversed.

Aug 25 2006 12:54

Totally agree editor. All the crests should stay regardless.

Having read the Petition (and signed it), shouldn't it be "Royal College of Sciences.."?

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