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Guilds to bid for Independence?

Apr 01 2005 11:50
Killer Rabbit
An intercepted document has revealed that the City and Guilds College Union may soon be asked to consider the question, ?What have ICU ever done for us??
Boomalaka, zingalaka... Who ARE we?

A ?Live!? journalist, who wishes to remain nameless, found the document in C&G President John Collins? pigeonhole late last night. It was a copy of a paper (and therefore evidently not private correspondence, in case any readers are familiar with the PCC Code of Conduct) by Mr. Collins, on which VP(F&S) and President-elect Aaisha Latif had written her own views on the matter.

The ?Discussion Paper?, presumably destined for the CGCU Executive, is entitled ?Guilds? Own Long-Term Strategy.? It appears to have been prompted in part by ICU?s own Strategic Review, with Mr Collins noting (among many other points) the high turnout and satisfaction levels shown by engineering students in the online survey, and then sates that ?This union believes?? that CGCU should follow up some of those objectives independently from ICU; for example, ?Whilst Beit?s strategic review decided upon External Relations as one of the first points to tackle, our members would be best-served in this respect by the continuations of our own initiatives such as the Internships Centre and communication with Livery Companies, as well as continuing to make se of the external contacts within our own Alumni Association.?

It is as yet unclear whether ?Alumni Association? (singular) was typed in error, or if the omission of the RSMA was deliberate.

Whilst the paper covers other areas, with a strong focus on communication and participation, areas in which it highlights improvements to date as well as room for further progress, the most drastic aspect of the paper is the implication that in following those objectives, Guilds may not wish to remain as a part of ICU.

Indeed, the paper then goes on to say that ?Events this year have shown ICU to be too distant from its grass-roots members,?? ?In particular the mechanisms for students to hold their representatives to account are cumbersome and (?allegedly?) expose students to unacceptable risks of litigation and intimidation. Indeed, it is conceivable that with continued membership of ICU, a single year with a weak Guilds executive would place us in real danger of losing our own continued ethos of a student-led organisation.?

The final section of the paper then asks members to consider the extent to which ?Guilds? subsidiarity to Beit is in the best interests of our members, or indeed of anyone other than Beit themselves.? Whilst the section is not yet entitled ?This Union resolves,? but ?Points for discussion,? there are clear indications that the matter has been investigated at length; most notably that ?Indications from senior members of the Faculty assure us that independence from Beit would not compromise our role in academic representation up to the Departmental and Faculty levels, which is after all our primary purpose and something we do very well- some might say better than ICU, since we have been able to represent our students at the strategic academic level.?

Ms Latif?s response to that point included, ?I can certainly think of better uses for my time next year than sitting in all their meetings??

The paper also mentions the financial implications, but by reference to an ?attached? spreadsheet that was not attached to the copy obtained by ?Live!?

The C&G and ICU Presidents have both been approached for comment. John Collins said, ?It makes sense that our Union should also have a strategic plan in place, especially as our Sabbatical campaign continues.

?The paper you have acquired is a DRAFT of a DISCUSSION paper, raising a wide range of issues and possibilities. If anything is decided, the press will be informed in due course, and at that point I may be able to pass comment, on the full range of issues covered.?

ICU President Mustafa Arif expressed an interest in the document, saying he felt unable to comment until he had read it, but indicated that he still felt that the grievances raised could be settled by less drastic means.

?Live!? will, of course, keep you updated on any developments on this matter. That is, if Guilds don?t shut us down for publishing this?

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Discussion about “Guilds to bid for Independence?”

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.
Apr 01 2005 13:14

"ICU President Mustafa Arif expressed an interest in the document, saying he felt unable to comment until he had read it, but indicated that he still felt that the grievances raised could be settled by less drastic means."

Less drastic means, such as threatening students with legal action if they speak out in private letters, perhaps?

Or maybe he actually cares about how students perceive his handling of ICU finances this year? I can see why Guilds might want to opt into their own subvention bid - suddenly they could fund their clubs and socs without taking a massive "--------" budget hike year on year. That would mean more money for members' activities and less money for Beit.

Similarly College would be tempted to play off the two Unions. One has a well functioning alumnus network with a long, respected and recognisable history and low overheads as it actually recruits and retains volunteers, whilst the other is a financial black hole being mis-managed by tired incumbent blood, that seems to offer little value for money and accounts that aren't signed off. I'll leave you to make the judgement about which is which.

Whilst "- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -", the College could well be persuaded to consider a bid from Guilds splitting the cash pot between the two unions. College wants to use the students' unions more to develop and educate the students and the stronger brand identity of Faculty Unions and the smaller size make it realistically possible under those conditions.

Devolving the Unions would make better use of space round College as the Beit block could qickly be converted into 5* halls/conference facilities, a real cash cow. Space deficits for activities are not an issue now that the new sports centre and southside is being built, and smaller Faculty Union clubs&socs would be able to find intra-departmental space and be intrinsically smaller. There would also be more scope for inter-union competition/activity.

Efficient use of each square foot must be paramount in the eyes College in an unexpandable central london campus, with the pressure on to find ever more paying students to ward off the debt... Somehow I'm not sure if College agrees that replacing gyms with 'local-authority-style Council chambers', and the umpteenth coffee bar on campus is a good use of that space.

The death knell is sounding! Bring on this year's budgeteary allocation process and see by how much your ICU club budget is being cut....

2. ;-)   
Apr 01 2005 13:23

I'm guessing you haven't looked at the date...

Apr 01 2005 14:49

I think 'writing on the wall' should have written the article ;)

Apr 01 2005 15:18

Has anyone seen the glossy brochure that has been written....

Looks to me like a waste of money - and it doesn't say anything new....

Apparently the union will be focusing on "communications" and "External relations" this term....


Apr 01 2005 16:34

I don't think Guilds should ever leave ICU for the following reasons:

  • We will never be able to bring a motion of no-confidence against another ICU President
  • We will have no legitmate reason for bitching about Sabbs (as if it matters)
  • We will never have ambitious Guilds members rising to high office
  • Miss out on endless council meeting where we debate whether we should go to vote on the vote to going to vote
  • Miss out on filing endless forms
  • Miss out on "Bling Bling" at the union

So, for these reasons we should stick with ICU

Apr 01 2005 19:51

I'm now rather sorry to have to tell you this, as this is turning into one of the most interesting debates we've had for a while, but ";-)" was right, it is April 1st, and so...


Apr 01 2005 20:36

Here are some other April Fool wannabes:

Google thinks this is funny

Bush Family

iPod Lovers

There was full page ad in the Times and well I don't even know if this is funny or just weird, at least they have a website, this could be real. In case you wonder what the BMW thing is about, apparently they want to get rid of the steering wheel.

8. n/a   
Apr 04 2005 22:45

Rest assured, the BMW thing is just an advertising stunt designed to get people to visit their website. All links from go to bmw...

Apr 14 2005 18:19

Man I am such a dunce, I saw the Bima ad in the paper about the wheel-less car - and I so fell for it SO badly.... got so excited by the prospect of having a car that could let me pass my driving test... by saying (using the voice recognition software) "turn left", or "turn right", or even "go to Edgware Road - GTA mode" and kills hundreds of pedestrian on the way...

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