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?