Live! has been watching the Sabbatical Officers very closely over the past six months, to get a feel of how the group works together. Unfortunately an increasingly hostile situation has been developing, with the DPGS falling out of the loop.
The decision by last year's executive to allow Deputy President (Graduate Students) Shama Rahman to miss most of the handover period and first month seems to have inhibited her integration into the team. While the other four sabbs have been operating as a (mostly) well-oiled machine, Miss Rahman appears to be the odd one out. Her lack of attendance at five consecutive management meetings, held to advise all sabbatical officers of current and future activities, has also contributed to her isolation.
The lack of integration seems compounded by the DPGS potentially not fulfilling her contract - all sabbaticals are required to work between the "core hours" of 10am and 4pm, and 40 hours a week in total. Live's observations and those of senior Union sources indicate that for most of the last five months Miss Rahman was arriving 30 minutes to 1 hour late for work. When questioned about this matter, Miss Rahman indicated that the reason for her persistent lateness was meetings with postgraduate students, but that she often stayed in the office late. However, her inability to arrive by 10am in the morning led her to miss important meetings, including one with the Deputy Rector and the aforementioned management meetings.
A postgraduate welfare representative indicated that Miss Rahman missed one of the most important meetings she is expected to attend, the Quality and Academic Review Committee (QARC). QARC is the key meeting where the quality and variety of academic courses is reviewed. At Council in December Miss Rahman stated that she could not attend as she was re-arranging the venue for the GSA Christmas Ball, after her original plan was pulled by the executive committee due to the large loss it was due to make.
Rumours within the Union have indicated this is all about to come to a head, with a no-confidence motion in the works and the 20 required seconders now being collected. ICU President John Collins told Live! that no motion has so far been received.