The paper presented at tonight's council aiming to re-pass the union constitution was rejected by a vote of eighteen to six, with five abstentions. Jon Matthews, who was presenting the paper, was pushing for it to be passed on the basis that the changes to the constitution that were passed at the last two meetings of council were invalid. Union regulations state that changes to the constitution must be approved at two consecutive council meetings. However, in between the first and second council meetings changes were made, so the "second" approval was essentially the first passing of a new constitution. The papers' failure means that according to the proposers, Imperial College Union does not have a valid constitution, which could cause trouble in the case of any legal disputes.
The situation was not helped by tempers flaring. Both ICU president Stephen Brown, who voted against the paper, and DPEW Kirsty Patterson who supported it, were noticeably getting worked up. Both Miss Patterson and Mr Matthews were of the opinion that it would be better to pass the constitution now to ensure that ICU has a legal constitution, regardless of any problems there may be in it, and to work on solving them later. Mr Brown claimed that there were no problems with the constitution in its current form, with the College also agreeing that the present constitution was valid. Mr Brown also stated that he had sought advice on the issue from Chair of the ICU Court Hamish Common. Mr Matthews questioned this advice, as Mr Common was the author the original changes.
Eventually, after much bickering, the paper was rejected. It never seemed likely to pass, particularly once the arguing started. The unprofessional behaviour of some council members meant that the whole situation could not be taken as seriously as it should have been. Mr Matthews ended by thanking Council for rejecting their own constitution.
A number of members of Council requested that the matter be referred to the ICU Court for advice.