Tonight, in a less than packed Main Dining Hall (more on this later) ICU Council attempted to carry some important items of business. Budgets, Colours Recommendations and Constitutional Reform were all on the agenda as well as many items delayed from the (inquorate) AGM.
ICU Regulations clearly state that all Papers should be circulated a week in advance of a Council Meeting. And to facilitate this, all items of business shall be submitted *more* than a week in advance of the meeting. Throughout the year, this rule has been consistently broken or ignored. Reg 4.b.9 states that "The President shall draw up and circulate the agenda, papers and minutes for General Meetings, the Council and Executive Committee.", so the blame for this mis-management lands squarely at the door of the ICU President. It should be noted that the Union is in the process of employing a Union Clerk to help the President in this role, however that is not an excuse.
The papers, when finally compiled (4 hours prior to the meeting) amounted to 250 A4 pages - which no delegate could be expected to assimimilate during the proceedings. Add to this that the council started almost an hour late, due to insufficient time being allocated for printing papers. (It could be suggested that it should have happened 7 days ago anyway).
The meeting quickly moved that Budgetary appeals, and the Budget be considered before the more routine items of business. By 7pm, the first paper of the night (Choir Budget Appeal) had been heard, argued and conceded (to Choir's benefit). The other 9 properly presented appeals papers also passed, leading the assembeled masses to allocate approximately £11,000 of extra funding to Clubs.
One notable point is that Ramnath Ramanan (a former OSC Chair, and now paid ICU Sabbatical) presented a paper appealing against a Budget decision on International Night (an OSC Exec event). Nothing wrong with this you might think, however it should be noted that the same Mr Ramanan was voting against many other Club appeals (as any frugal DPFS should).
Having concluded the Appeals on the agenda, you would assume that the next move would be to pass the budget, but oh no - more Budget appeals appeared out of the woodwork. The DPFS was not the only Sabbatical in arguing for something they had an previous involvement in. An ad-hoc appeal for Womens Football, by Nona Ahamat (DP Clubs and Societies, and former treasurer of - you guessed it - Womens Football) was successful, as was an appeal on behalf of Christian Student Action, by Andrew Smith (DP Education and Welfare - and former member of... CSA...). There is nothing wrong with Sabbaticals speaking up against budgetary cuts, especially the DPCS who should be the clubs' advocate, however it is interesting to note that the same Sabbaticals were not as magnanimous with all appeals...
With no end in sight at 10:30pm (4.5 hours after the actual start, and 5.5 hours after the published start) and Council suddenly talking about reneging on appeals already passed (after the Club representatives had left), one frustrated member called "Quorum", bringing to the Chair's attention that only 15 members were left in the room. (25% of Council Membership and half those needed to be present for a quorate meeting.)
The final nail in the coffin was two sabbaticals attempting to claim that a move to adjourn took precedence over a call of quorum, despite the rule of the Chair, the ICU Regulations, and the well held opinions of several senior hacks present.
Most people expressed amazement that the meeting was so poorly structured and organised, although praise was heeped on the Council Chair, Mr Edmonstone, who brought order to the chaos. More thought, preparation and knowledge of the rules will be needed by those in charge next year to avoid a repeat of the shambolic democracy that is pervading ICU at the moment.