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Union Bans Careers Events

Jan 30 2009 00:28
Kirsty Patterson
A mysterious new policy has seen the Union issue an effective ban on Graduate Recruitment Talks until issues with the Conference Office can be resolved.
Imperial Graduates at Commemoration Day 2008

In an email sent to a Senior Union Officer, some ICU Clubs and Societies have been advised that they cannot book rooms for external companies to come in and talk about career opportunities. The email specified that careers events should be interactive, involving the student officers in the design and implementation of activities and should not just involve companies giving presentations about the jobs they have on offer.

Live! has been informed that this follows disagreements with the Conference Office about the use of college space. External companies operating through College's Careers Advisory Service would have to pay high commercial rates to book the rooms. Clubs and Societies however often enter into sponsorship agreements where companies are then invited to give recruitment presentations, taking advantage of the free room hire that Clubs and Societies enjoy. In addition the Union has lost the ability to book rooms such as the Bessemer Cafe in the RSM Building which is a popular venue now reserved solely for Conferencing rather than Student Activity.

The Union is currently in negotiations with the College about careers related events that are organised through its many clubs and societies. Deputy President (Clubs and Societies) Lily Topham refused to comment except to say that 'there is no story'. However, students have confirmed that the Conference Office have attempted to cancel room bookings through the Student Activities Centre for SCC Consultancy who have been described, along with other SCC Clubs such as Finance and Bright Futures, as a 'Careers Club'. SCC Chair, Peter Mabbott is extremely concerned by any precedent that could be set following this decision. Speaking to Live! he said "Banning Graduate Recruitment Talks would seriously impair the activities of several of my clubs. Which is of course a bad thing."

The effect this could also have on Departmental Societies is particularly worrying, especially given the popularity and frequency of Graduate Recruitment Talks in most departments. Consequently, societies may find it a lot harder to fulfil their aims and objectives. Forcing student officers to take a more active role in organising these events is likely to see less involvement and less activity from our DepSocs whose volunteers' time is finite.

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Discussion about “Union Bans Careers Events”

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.
Jan 30 2009 13:10

This is absolutely f**king ridiculous and College is massively in the wrong...

Jan 30 2009 18:29

As I understand it this was the case all along and the reason behind Consultancy Soc discussing with firms the content of their sessions, focusing on workshops and forums opposed to purely company sales pitches.

Jan 30 2009 19:46

This reminds me of the banning of the Military by the UCL Union.

Why do Student Unions always have to emphasise their socialist views?

And why is this happening right at the height of an economic crisis, making it even harder for students to obatin a graduate role?

Jan 30 2009 20:11

Please try explaining that ill-informed comment to our Scottish ex-President!

Jan 30 2009 22:07

Hang on, the College effectively banned student careers events didn't it?

Post #3 is complete nonsense...

Jan 30 2009 22:56

Not all careers events... just ones with little student input. My main worry is that this only appears to have been stated to one Senior Officer so far with no 'official' line on it.

The Officer was emailed to say he couldn't organise Graduate Recruitment Talks with the company but would be able to organise a more interactive event where the students take a leading role. The problem is the ability to be able to come to Imperial to give Graduate Recruitment Talks was stipulated in part of a contract that was signed with the company when they paid sponsorship to an earlier event. We don't want to get into a position where we are having to back out of contracts because the College won't let us book rooms.

I can see where College is coming from, Companies may well approach clubs to get free room hire in an effort to dodge the system. but in many cases, clubs and societies invite companies to give talks and i don't think that should be stopped. Close relationships and building up contacts in this way is a vital tool for gaining external funding and something the Union shouldn't be discouraging.

Jan 31 2009 01:04


ICU is probably slightly less socialist than David Cameron's Tories.

Jan 31 2009 13:17

"...organised through it's clubs and societies..."

"...organised through it is clubs and societies..."

is what??

you need a present participle OR perhaps you have abused an apostrophe! Naughty! ;)

9. Hmm.   
Feb 01 2009 13:13

So basically, College aren't happy that some companies giving graduate recruitment talks are paying in sponsorship to student societies, rather than in conferencing fees to the College. Just College chasing up extra income at the possible expense of students- what's new?

10. Ant   
Feb 01 2009 17:20

I've played all sides of this game, union officer, college staff and recruiting company. I must say that to be honest I have always agreed with college that clubs taking money in exchange for use of a resource (rooms/advertising space) that they do not pay for is taking liberties. This is especially the case with a few clubs who seem to mainly organised recruitment events.

With regards to Kirstys comment;

"Close relationships and building up contacts in this way is a vital tool for gaining external funding and something the Union shouldn't be discouraging."

I agree the union should be encouraging clubs to find external contacts and funding, however when supervising contracts it should be more careful and commercially aware of how what its agreeing to could affect itself and college commercially. Really though this is all irrelevant as surely there is nothing to stop these clubs using union owned and managed rooms...

Feb 01 2009 20:03

Since when do the College Careers Service had a divine right to all income from graduate recruiters? This is ridiculous.

A representative from a business has just as much right to come and address students on equal terms to a politician, religious figure, charity worker or anyone else that students want to turn out and listen to.

College want the careers service to be a money spinner and they have never liked the fact that clubs work closely with graduate recruiters and the fact that the Union runs a successful careers fayre. There is no way that this can be implemented for the following reasons.

1.) The College cant ban students from hosting speakers because of their obligation to provide freedom of speech under the 1994 Education Act. With this must come some obligation to treat all legal speakers equally. For example, if the Union wanted to give out rooms for free to a Labour MP but then wanted to charge Tory Soc ?500 for hosting a Tory MP this would be clearly discriminatory.

2.) If they try and introduce some stupid rule that attempts to define "career related" events with the aim of preventing student societies from hosting them you would quickly see a proliferation of student run Cheese/Tiddlywinks/Origami nights with a speaker from XYZ Ltd. We're just too smart for that!

12. Hmm.   
Feb 02 2009 12:48

The Education Act 1986 (1994 is the one about colleges ensuring unions are democratic and financially accountable) is intended for political speakers, not to outlaw charging for advertising.

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