The meeting of Union Council last night voted overwhelmingly in favour of creating a new Sabbatical position to divide the role of Deputy President (Education and Welfare). The paper, presented for the second time in as many meetings, was passed with 36 votes to 2, with one of these votes being made via proxy and therefore not privy to the debate during the meeting.
At the previous meeting in December some members of Council felt that the paper was rushed and ill thought-out and, despite winning over a simple majority vote, it did not receive the two-thirds required to pass. Current DPEW, Hannah Theodorou, said that it was "tough to make a decision on whether to bring the paper back to Council", stating that her reason was not because she thought that the Council had made the wrong decision, but because young undergraduates who "don't understand the ins-and-outs of Union politics" felt upset that the paper had been rejected, and wanted it to be re-submitted.
Council Chair, Afonso Campos, relinquished the Chair during the discussion and vote on this paper as he did not feel that he could be un-biased in his role. Felix Editor, Jovan Nedic, stepped up to the position to the objection of Deputy President (Finance & Services), Christian Carter. Carter claimed that the Felix Editor was similarly unable to claim neutrality due to his comments at previous meetings and the Sabbatical Review Working Group. Nedic quickly defended his position, stating that he had to remain neutral as the editor of felix, and only stepped in with opinions previously in order to speed up the meeting.
The revised paper addressed many of the issues that had been neglected at the previous meeting. Most importantly, ICU President Jenny Morgan has confirmed that "if we don't have assurance that we're going to have the money from the NUS pot then we will not create these new positions". The council requested that this assurance come in the form of written confirmation from a senior member of college staff by February 9th - before nominations for the position open. The paper will be circulated to the Trustee Board via email for their approval to allow a decision to be made at College Council in time for the upcoming Sabbatical Elections.
The original papers to Council called for one of the new positions to be the Deputy President (Education and Development), however it was proposed to change it to Deputy President (Education) just before the final vote took place. After a bit of a discussion it became clear that it didn't really matter, with a vote of 15-14 making the positions Deputy President (Education) and Deputy President (Welfare).
The issue of the NUS affiliation money was also raised. Many students based their decision on NUS disaffiliation on the fact that the money could be used for other Union matters. Deputy President (Clubs and Societies), Lily Topham, asked whether the rest of the NUS affiliation money would be available to the Union after the DPE and DPW roles had been funded. Miss Morgan confirmed that the Union would fight for the full amount, however ruled out an increased budget for the Union building re-development, as this does not fall within the scope of the Union's subvention.