ICU's Trustee Board met last night for the final time this academic year, to discuss among other things changes to student media regulations. Under the new ICU governance structure passed last year, the trustee board has final approval of a number of areas, including the Code of Practice and Constitution.
In March, a paper brought to Council by key players in the student media aimed to give more press freedom during elections, and make the staff-student protocol more explicit. Council was unwilling to grant any more freedom during elections, but did consent to the revised SSP, which explicitly allowed the criticism of ICU departments. The issue was contentious, with the Trustee Board referring a decision to the next meeting, amid concerns that it could produce unintended negative effects.
Last night's meeting approved a revised version of the text, passed by Council in June, which sought to allay their concerns.
The part of the SSP in question will now read:
12. The maintenance of the integrity of the Union as an employer precludes any staff matters, either related to work or personal matters, from being discussed in any open forum of the Union. This does not prevent the discussion of any activities undertaken by the Union, even if staff-led, as long as staff performance does not feature in said discussion.
It is hoped the changes will prevent a repeat of problems in the past two years where the SSP has been used in an attempt to block justified negative press about ICU activities.
Although the Trustee Board was meeting with no accountability at the beginning of the year, minutes are finally available and a passable attempt is being made to publicise dates of the meetings.