Live!
Fri 24 Nov 2017
- The award-winning student news website of Imperial College

Know something you shouldn't? Tell us, using our quick, 100% anonymous tip-off form!

Live! - News

No New Sabbatical Role, Yet

Dec 16 2008 01:13
Andrew Holland
The proposed split of the Deputy President (Education and Welfare) role failed to pass at Council, primarily due to funding concerns.
DPEW remains in one piece

There will be no new Sabbatical position next year, as Council rejected the proposed paper to create separate roles for Education and Welfare this evening. Although the majority of members voted to pass the paper, the two thirds majority needed for constitutional changes was not reached. The final vote tally was 20 in favour, with 12 against and 1 abstension.

The main reason put forward for the splitting of the role was that, unlike the other Deputy Presidents, the DPEW should be taking a more proactive stance on education and welfare issues within the college. However, the hectic schedule of meetings and committees, means that currently the DPEW does not have enough time to carry out proactive welfare tasks. It was argued that splitting the role into a separate Deputy President for Education and Deputy President for Welfare would allow the standard of welfare provided to rise. This is especially important as Imperial is languishing near the bottom of student satisfaction tables.

Many concerns were raised. The main one was the financing of the potential new role. A figure of £25,000 per year is the cost of supporting a sabbatical. Both the Union President Jenny Morgan, and the DPEW, Hannah Theodorou, believed that College would foot the bill, using the money that had been saved from leaving the NUS. However, this was not certain, and could not be guaranteed until after the role had been approved, and elections for it had started. If it had passed, but college not agreed, the Union may have had to pay for the role, with fears that money would be taken from clubs and societies.

Due to the time needed to fully ratify the role, this was the last opportunity to approve it before the Sabbatical elections in February. The paper had clearly been written in a hurry in an attempt to pass it in time for the elections, and many people were concerned about this. Miss Morgan, one of the papers proposers admitted that the paper was sloppy. The concensus was that something as important as this was not something to be taken lightly, and that it would be better to wait and try and introduce a new role for the academic year 2010-11. Furthermore, a lack of discussion between the current sabbatical officers was obvious, with Miss Morgan and Miss Theodorou vocally supporting the splitting of the role while DPFS Cristian Carter expressed serious doubts. It was felt that for a major change such as this, a united front would have been necessary from the Sabbatical Officers.

This was not the only welfare related issue to have run into difficulties: the International Students Officer elections have had to be postponed until the new year due to College not providing accurate records of who is a home student, and who is not. With the added constitutional implication of allowing somebody to stand for a position that they could not vote for the decision has been made to postpone them.

Although this years Sabb Team are proposing a lot of new positions and roles, they are encountering many problems with implementing them. This raises the question are the new roles going to solve the problems, or is a wholescale reform of the Sabbatical Officers roles necessary to succeed? Welfare reform seems to be the topic of the year, and this is by no means going to be the end of it...

Email this Article | Share on Facebook | Print this Article

Discussion about “No New Sabbatical Role, Yet”

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.
Dec 16 2008 01:34
 

"This was not the only welfare related issue to have run into difficulties: the International Students Officer elections have had to be postponed until the new year due to College not providing accurate records of who is a home student, and who is not. With the added constitutional implication of allowing somebody to stand for a position that they could not vote for the decision has been made to postpone them."

Well, the vote was made that the International Officer would now be selected from a campus-wide ballot.

I still can't believe that the Sabbs decided to vote their way out of a logistical problem...

2. bob   
Dec 16 2008 11:15
 

If college are willing to provide money for welfare, could CGCU and RCSU presidents be made sabb positions, with DPEW changing to DPW only? The faculty sabbs would be better placed to handle educational needs in my opinion. It would also help avoid the crashing of the faculty unions, like has been seen in CGCU for the last few years, as the presidents would not have to concentrate on studies at the same time. It works for ICSMSU....

Dec 16 2008 12:08
 

The money for faculty president sabbs wouldn't necessarily have to come from the union. It could come from the department. If college is so keen on education and welfare and student satisfaction, as discussed at the meeting, then surely they'd be more than happy to fund these positions? Although, I suppose ?10k toward this from the Union (if they had the money available, which the proposers claim they will) would certainly help.

It's previously been argued that Faculty Unions wouldn't be as experienced as DPEW for sorting their problems. The thing is, they could help to fix subject-specific problems with a more satisfactory outcome - and deal with all tedious and simple E/W issues from their members, with only the very most serious/problematic cases being escalated to DPEW. The medic president said at the meeting that this works well for him, and Hannah seemed to agree.

It's been discussed before. Maybe it's not a viable solution, but sabbatical changes can't really be made in isolation of one another... so the options should probably be looked at now we have the chance (so that they aren't blocked by the split of DPEW).

4. bob   
Dec 16 2008 12:58
 

If education and welfare is the big problem, I feel that a whole scale reform of the system might be better than trying to shoe-horn in international officers, or try to get essentially two people doing the same role. Who is to say that a new role would not end up having time taken over by meetings and commitees, much like the current one?

I don't agree with the arguement that Faculty Unions would be less experienced than a DPEW when it comes to educational problems. However, it would mean that a faculty president would have to be a "jack of all trades, master of none" role, which might not be beneficial. Also, there have been some very bad faculty union presidents in the last few years: would you want them to be paid full time to do nothing?

However, you are right that no change should be made in isolation, and that all options should be considered before making a change (or even if change is needed at all). If it is to succeed, it should not be tried to be pushed through ASAP, but should be developped, possibly through into next year before being put into practice.

"Many concerns were raised. The main one was the financing of the potential new role. A figure of ?25,000 per year is the cost of supporting a sabbatical. Both the Union President Jenny Morgan, and the DPEW, Hannah Theodorou, believed that College would foot the bill, using the money that had been saved from leaving the NUS. However, this was not certain, and could not be guaranteed until after the role had been approved, and elections for it had started. If it had passed, but college not agreed, the Union may have had to pay for the role, with fears that money would be taken from clubs and societies."

There was a huge amount of discussion on this issue at Council and it was understood at Council that the funding would be secure before nominations opened. While Christian Carter mentioned that the budgeting round wouldn't begin until after the position was elected, it's ludicrous to think that College wouldn't pay for something that they had in effect agreed to pay for in College Council (hypothetically speaking)

"The concensus was that something as important as this was not something to be taken lightly, and that it would be better to wait and try and introduce a new role for the academic year 2010-11"

No, this was not the consensus. You didn't even need to be there to know this. If 20 people voted for it and 12 against then it's obvious where the 'consensus' lay.

"It was felt that for a major change such as this, a united front would have been necessary from the Sabbatical Officers."

Who felt this? It's a fair point but it wasn't brought up at Council by anyone so you're not reporting news here.

Dec 16 2008 15:06
 

Response 1: Financing - from how I saw it it would be uncertain if college would fund the role before the electoral wheels were in motion. Talk of possibly withdrawing the role during an election, or places clauses in the election advertising suggest that there was still uncertainty.

2: there did not seem to be much outward hostility for a new role, but whether it should be introduced too soon. If a longer study was carried out into it it would be more feasable in my opinion. I would not have liked to have seen something this important rushed through, but feel that it has great potential.

3. To me, with Jen and Hannah against Cristian disagreeing on the funding suggested that again it was rushed through. This is my personal opinion, which came out in my report.

7. Erm?   
Dec 16 2008 21:41
 

So if College through their toys at us could we not just threaten to rejoin NUS?

Its a no-brainer for them as well as the Union. Spend money on someone who will give you far better insight in to student opinion or we give it to a bunch of lunatics to play politics.

The proposal is fundamentally sound although it is a pity that it was put together in such a slap dash manner without considering its wider implications. What would be interesting to learn is if those who voted against made any effort what so ever in the run up to the meeting to have their concerns addressed.

Dec 17 2008 23:27
 

i think it is somewhat interesting that the article completely ignores the issue that the vote was forced upon us at a time when it was obvious that a lot more had to be said. all the medics on council had some other engagement which meant they all had to leave, so the chair put the issue straight to a vote. this meant that we did not have time to vote on jenny's amendment that would have stopped any funding being taken from clubs and societies. it was blatantly obvious that people wanted to carry on discussing the issue, so much so that John James challenged the chair's decision to go straight to a vote. even though there were not enough votes to uphold this, there was still a sizeable number of people who felt that this was not the way forward.

i dont know about anyone else, but i feel that was a very poor decision taken by the council chair just to accommodate for people who had other places to be. surely if you want to be on council, the position should come first and not cause an abrupt end to a debate on an issue as serious as this? or maybe the council chair should actually think about what he is doing and recognise that if people are challenging his decision, it may not be the correct one to take? i dont know, i just find it rather odd that this was left out of the article. if the amendment was passed, and people had had time to discuss this to the full, the outcome might have been different...

9. @8   
Dec 17 2008 23:35
 

lol. you're funny. and wrong. and the only person who thinks that... i actually thought the chairing was pretty good and i've seen a few council chairs come and go.

Jan 15 2009 13:18
 
Jan 16 2009 10:49
 

Any signs of life for CGCU planned this year?

Add your comment:

If you can see this, something is broken (either with your browser, or with our system). Please leave the box below empty, or your comment will be considered to be spam.
Live!

Live! Poll

How frequently would you like to see a CGCU magazine being published




Live!