A meeting of the City & Guilds College Union Executive Committee earlier today has voted “in principle” to merge the departmental societies for Information Systems Engineering and Electrical Engineering. If a formal proposal for a structure for the combined society can be produced for the Executive’s next meeting this would mean that the ISE course would no longer have its own society.
ISE Soc was created when ISE was run as a joint course between the Computing and the Electrical Engineering departments. In 2001 the course was absorbed entirely into the Electrical Engineering department, with students joining courses into the Department of Computing for the third and fourth year only. ISE Soc Chair Basil Fakhry and EE Soc Chair Waleed Sarwar argued that with the last students on the “old course” now leaving the college the needs of ISE students were no longer distinct from those of EEE students and were best served by a single departmental society.
When asked by members of the Executive whether there had been any extensive consultation of the student body, Mr Sarwar remarked that there was “no point asking” with Mr Fakhry reinforcing that argument, noting that ISE was “just like having a separate stream”. It was argued that the union would not normally have separate societies for MEng and BEng students and so should not have a separate society for ISE.
There was far from universal support for the proposal, with several of those at the meeting voicing concerns about the lack of consultation and the possible future structure of a merged society. Vice-President (Finance & Societies) Aaisha Latif was particularly vociferous in putting forward her view that it was unwise to agree 'in principle' to a merger without knowing in more detail how a merged society might operate.
The proposal was eventually accepted by 5 votes to 0 but with 5 abstentions – including most of the Union’s Management Committee. The ISE Soc and EE Soc chairs are now mandated to bring back a formal proposal for the merged society’s structure to the next meeting and provided that is accepted ISE Soc will be abolished in time for the elections for next year. City & Guilds College Union President Shrenik Patel said “if ISE student views are changing and if they feel that they belong to the Electrical Engineering department then I don’t see a problem with the merger.”