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Live! - Opinion

This article is an opinion piece and should be taken as such. It is highly likely to be biased, but either the article itself or the ensuing discussion will probably be entertaining. Live! takes no editorial line on opinion pieces.

More than ?20k a year and No Budget?

Mar 22 2006 17:23
Chris Jackson
DPGS Luis Hui seems to have walked into another blunder, this time over the GSA finances. - Now including official statement from Union DPs Luis Hui & Tim Aplin
Is this man worth ?20k of union money?

Anyone familiar the union will be aware that this is the time of year where clubs and societies get out the begging bowl in an attempt to secure funding for their club for the next year.

Union officers tend to work stupid hours juggling coursework and the endless rounds of meetings that are needed to get a fair outcome to this as every club inevitably wants more money than is available.

So, part time club chairs and treasurers are battling for your clubs interests for no reward apart from the satisfaction of doing the job. Unless of course you are part of the Graduate Students Association (GSA) in which case your full time, £20k per year sabatical will manage to have not found the time to do this.

This oversight means that the GSA will automatically suffer a 20% reduction in its budget. The student activities comittee has already decided that all clubs would receive 80% of last years budgets before the annual budgeting process kicked off.

This author would like to take the opportunity to remind readers that this is the same DPGS who took resit exams during his time in office and spent the first month of the job on an internship placement.


ICU Have issued this statement regarding the matter:

Dear Mr Jackson,

In response to your article on Live! Dated March 21 (11:34), we feel that a clarification is necessary in order to prevent both the reputation of a colleague from falling into disrepute and from Live! publishing what we perceive to be a factually lacking story.

At the March 20 meeting of the Student Activities Committee it was intended to receive and consider bids from each Club/Society Committee and Faculty Union that wished to bid for an increase in allocation through SAC over and above the original 80% allocated to them through the new process. The meeting was not intended to allocate actual funding due to the fact that an amount available for allocation was not forthcoming from myself ? in my opinion there are too many variables that potentially affect the funding of Student Activities to prudently publish an accurate figure. All members present accepted this point and agreed to consider the bids on the hypothetical basis that the level of funding would be 100% of the current academic year and no more. If more funding is allocated to Student Activities then a further meeting of SAC will take place where this additional funding will be allocated, however this fact depends on the proposed income & expenditure budget tabled to Executive in the summer months.

The reason that the Deputy President (Graduate Students) did not table a bid to SAC is twofold:

1. The GSA is not viewed in the same light as a CSC/FU in the eyes of the College and the subvention bid for the Union as a whole reflects this. The GSA is specifically highlighted by us centrally as an area that requires increased investment on the part of the College (to the tune of £5000 ringfenced directly from College) to further strengthen its existence (much in the same way the newly formed RCSU also requires enhanced attention and resource for the forthcoming year) and as such the GSA allocation bid was placed directly to College outside of the Student Activities stream. As the College?s one year planning process moves forward in the coming three months funding for the GSA is expected to come predominantly from the College and not the Union.

2. Part of the GSA Reviews? remit is the Association?s classification under the Union?s structure. As such, its bid for funding through SAC represents a saving (at least) of £500 on the 2005/6 total allocation to Student Activities. While this represents a small fraction of the total allocation of the current year, it still represents funding that can be reallocated to higher priority areas within Student Activities and the DPGS is commended for accepting an initial cut in the hope that increased funding will be forthcoming in the coming planning round.

We hope this clears up any issues yourselves and your readers may have. Should you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact the DP (Finance & Services) or the DP (Graduate Students)

Kind Regards,

Tim Weinert-Aplin & Luis Hui.

End of statement.

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Discussion about “More than ?20k a year and No Budget?”

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.
Mar 21 2006 12:48


Mar 21 2006 13:37

Hear hear!

When will council grow a spine?!

3. wtf?   
Mar 21 2006 13:38

Why do we let such incompetent behaviour and unprofessionalism flourish at ICU?

Mar 21 2006 14:21

Best thing he's done all year. The money would be far better spent on societies that are open to all the students of the college and not just postgrads. Sabbs are not volunteeers, they are employees. Perhaps the union could start making them clock in and out like the other 95% of the workforce to make sure they are earning OUR money.

5. yep   
Mar 21 2006 14:39

No confidence motion - can't let 'cowboy' sabbs get away with it.

6. Bob   
Mar 21 2006 15:16

Do you know a single lecturer or postdoc who clocks in/out of college?

Mar 21 2006 15:36

If postdocs dont do any work then their (usually short) contracts will not be renewed. If lecturers don't perform they will hear about it fairly quickly from their students and superiors and will soon find themselves out of a career while sabbs are temporary positions who only have to answer to our spineless council who are clearly not prepared to call them to account for what they do. In otherwords, clocking in would ensure that no elected sabb is allowed to "coast" for the year and pick up union funds.

8. si   
Mar 21 2006 16:25

true it always appears that council prefers the "oh well they'll be out in a year" attitude, rather than accepting that a lot of damage can be done, and a lot of the Unions rather limited resources needlessly wasted.

Hark back to the "strategic review"...."the Union has many different users with many different needs"

...and it took a consultant to tell us this?

9. tom t   
Mar 21 2006 16:28

Firstly what's all this about budgets being slashed (again) from last year? Time and again our elected 'representatives' promise one thing and deliver another. I vividly remember Mustafa Arif assuring us all that there would be no budget cuts as a result of his management restructuring. In fact he reckoned that all that extra money he spent without our permission would make us better off. eighteen months later, and we can see just how much better off we are.

I agree with congrats. Best thing Hui has done all year, apart from the postgrad p*** up I couldn't make it to because I was clocking into work in Ipswich. Let's divert money back to the clubs.

Heavens knows what club budgets will look like once they quadrupled the Union's energy consumption with the refurbishment. Let's hope College doesn't turn round and make us pay for it all, once they've got meters to say just how much it is!!

Mind you, modern students seem to have so much spare cash / rich parents (cf Felix thievery raid) that maybe they don't need the money anymore.

Anyhow modern students certainly don't have the time to spend trying to oust incompetent Sabbs at the Union. I tried and got the most healthy vote in a no-confidence motion ever seen. 8 in favour!!! Broke all the records. Sadly the other 30 muppets just couldn't see past the end of their noses.

Anyway, glad to see Sameena's star letter in Felix! 'This year we're going to redecorate da Vincis' Wahey!!! Haven't there been people on the Trading Committee suggesting that for the last three years?????????????????????? (just to niggle Ruth)

10. Ruth   
Mar 21 2006 18:26

Seeing as you're ranting I'll let you off! ;-)

Mar 22 2006 11:29

Ah well Tom, you definatly tried to oust Arif. And I'm still glad I saw past my nose and supported the motion, despite my name being far enough down the list of the roll call ballot to know that it had fallen by then.

Mar 22 2006 17:24

I note that it is Tim Aplin and not Luis that responds, anyone else thinking he should defend his own possition?

Mar 22 2006 18:03

Complete waste of money

Mar 22 2006 18:10

Sorry, Tim Aplin has responded? Where/when?

15. Editor   
Mar 22 2006 19:30

For those that have not yet noticed an addendum has been made to the article today which incorporates an official statement from Tim Aplin and Luis Hui.

Mar 23 2006 13:20

So the big question is - why wasn't SAC informed of this. The people I've spoken to who were in the SAC meeting were under the impression that the GSA simply hadn't fought for their cause.

Communication is very often severely lacking.

Mar 23 2006 16:45

"Why wasn't SAC informed of this?"

Perhaps because the sabbs knew what the hard-working volunteers of SAC would say if the sabbs told them that they were asking for the GSA- headed up by, surprise surprise, a sabb- to get 5K special ringfenced money from the college, money for which SAC/ all the other CSC's wouldn't get a look-in! (And saying it 'frees up' that much SAC money is extremely presumptuous, to assume that had the GSA applied to SAC for those funds they would have got every penny).

And as for the farcical GSA review, Hui said at the start that it was going to decide to elevate the GSA to a special position above the other CSC's and even all the Faculty Unions and SAC itself- the review still hasn't reported its final findings, much less had council approve them, and yet it seems a foregone conclusion (even to the point of setting the budgets) that the sabbs will all agree with each other and give each other a nice ego-boosting and finance-boosting move up the union hierarchy.

That's what annoys a lot of people about the DPGS situation, Beit/Luis/Sabbs decide they want something for the GSA, and so straight away they act like it's happening, even to the point of budget-setting, without even stopping to think that they should go through the committees first or telling people the decisions/assumptions behind that course of action- another prime example being the "PGE&W" proposal, including the posters that were printed before council had properly approved the change in title and while exec were demanding more explanation as to why the paper was brought in the first place with so little consultation.

Mar 23 2006 16:54

College has a responsibility to run networking events for researchers and related things. Rather than dedicate a member staff to it, they can just give the Union some money and let them find sponsorship for the rest. And a DPGS costs less than a "real" member of staff to deal with it.

At the same time, they can go to the QAA and go "look, we have QA procedures for postgrads".

Mar 23 2006 17:04

The graduate schools do that, and so do the departments- and they are better-placed for this than the union because they can include post-docs who most PhDs relate to/ socialise with far more than they do with msc students-as a case in point, your reference to 'reseachers', like 'researchers' and 'postgrads' are the same group. Union subvention from college can only be spent on students, and union governance can only involve students.

Mar 25 2006 14:21

In which case the DPGS only really has to deal with taught MScs. Which is almost certainly a waste of money when there's so much crossover in some departments between final-year MEng and MSc.

This is the central part of the problem - no-one has any real clue about what the DPGS should be doing.

Mar 27 2006 19:15

May I humbly refer you to my 2005 DPGS election manifesto...

The Imperial College Graduate Students Association (GSA) has been long awaited, and we must now ensure that we make the best use of this opportunity to meet the unique needs of our postgraduates. To achieve this we need to establish an effective and accessible postgraduate institution within the students union, and functioning relationships with college and external partners.

The priority must be to build a strong sense of community among both taught and research postgraduates by establishing an effective academic and social network. A variety of social functions that suit postgraduate tastes, and an online contacts database of academic and social interests, will go a long way towards achieving this.

A crucial development will be to provide specialist independent advice and support to postgraduates, particularly those with registration or supervisor problems. Postgraduate recruitment and destinations is another important facility that needs to be established.

While the emphasis must be on developing a core postgraduate institution that will serve the needs of both taught and research postgraduates, we must also take care to preserve college?s inclusive social culture by welcoming undergraduates to GSA organised social events.

Apr 06 2006 03:36

Contrary to what may have been implied in the above discussion, club and society budgets were not cut in either of the two budgeting rounds during my Presidency.

In the 2004 budget the money given to SAC to distribute to clubs was exactly the same as the previous year. This was the first time in many years that club and society grants had not been cut. In the 2005 budget round we gave SAC an inflationary increase - the first for decades.

Also at the end of the 2005 budget round the budget was balanced. No club budget cuts were required to fund the staff changes I oversaw. Sure we cut a number of admin and trading budgets (and there was limited staff redundancy) but we never considered cutting club budgets - it would have breached manifesto commitments made by both my DP Finance & Services (Mike Moate and Sameena Misbahuddin) as well as myself.

If, since I left office, additional staff have been hired to support clubs and socities (which I understand is the case) and club budgets are being cut to fund this (I'm guessing) then that is a decision made by the current officers and nothing to do with me or my officer team. The staff levels I left had adquate funding without needing budget cuts.

On an unrelated note, if you can't work out what the GSA should be doing why not look to see what other university postgraduate assocations do? There is a hell of a lot of catching up that needs to be done at Imperial. Since you've re-affiliated to the National Postgraduate Committee, you could look at some of the guidance material on the NPC website.

(I don't necessarily agree with all the opinions on the NPC web site, but there is certainly some very good research up there.)

23. Bob   
Apr 06 2006 09:08

You will find that staffing costs currently are over budget (and not from Student Activities). Some of us attend Exec and see this years budget unlike you.

Also the GSA has a serious problem. It is focussed on MSc students, who are really 12 month undergrads - yes they are only normally around a year - which can cause specific issues.

Research post grads are the real problem that the GSA should be tackling. The individual research reps have made a good attempt to sort out a number of problems - (C&G's rep focusing on Maths drop in centre is a good start). However people I have spoken to believe that the same could be achieved with no DPGS, and all the money used to pay his salary could be channeled into making things happen - buffets, events etc.. - to be honest it is smaller than C&G and RCS who do all the work as volunteers - why shouldn't the GSA do that.

I would think the larger issue to be addressed should be how to overcome the problem that no one seemes to know about - DPGS elected candidates only working 2 days a week for their position....... because they have internships or other things they want to do with their time.

Apr 07 2006 11:58


What do you mean by "DPGS elected candidates only working 2 days a week for their position"? I thought Lui Huis worked full time?

25. pedant   
Apr 07 2006 14:28

Lui Huis? Who the s**t is that? The current DPGS does 'work' full time - in between his busy schedule of internships and exam resits. He must however be the slowest worker known to man! Can one of his defendants name anything useful he has done, beyond setting up a website and a couple of events??

Apr 07 2006 15:33

I heard from the current DPGS that the new DPGS (can't remember her name) is only going to be working 2 days a week, for various reasons....

Can't remember seeing that in the manifesto - I think the rest of us post grads should have been informed about this before we voted...

What I want to know is who made the decision this could happen - I thought a Sabb contract was for 5 days a week.

Apr 08 2006 12:34

Only 2 days a week? Why weren't we told?!

Somebody needs to do something about this. NOW.

Apr 08 2006 14:39

I'm meeting Sameena to get the full details of what's going on.

29. msc   
Apr 08 2006 16:01

Bob, you clearly haven't been to a GSA meeting. Research this, supervisors that, writing-up status the other...

And as for reaffiliating to the NPC- says who? Some people are proposing this but it hasn't been to Council yet!

Apr 09 2006 18:39

PostGrad insider,

The person in charge of the 2005 DPGS election (Mustafa?), neglected to advertise it adequately, so probably the only students who were aware of the manifestos (published solely online) were those in some way connected to the union hive.

In the event, only 347 students voted, 192 of whom were undergraduates. Ironically, our DP for graduate students was elected largely by undergraduates!

Apr 10 2006 10:56

Undergraduates vote in union elections because they can be bothered with the union and postgraduates can't. I accept that postgraduates are very busy with their research but if they can't be bothered to get involved (and that includes voting in elections for their sab) then they get what they deserve.

Undergratduates at Imperial are also very busy (whatever postgraduates may think the vast majority of us don't have much spare time either, particularly in our final year) but they make the effort, most postgraduates don't.

Apr 10 2006 12:12

Getting (research) postgrads to notice elections requires a different campaign to undergrads. Sticking up posters on the walkway and in common UG areas doesn't work. A single email won't work.

If the Union wants PGs who weren't UGs to get involved, there needs to be a targeted campaign with posters in "staff" areas.

I nearly missed the elections and I was looking out for them.

Apr 10 2006 18:41

It's worth pointing out undergraduates outnumber postgraduates by 2:1. All things being equal, undergraduates will always outnumber postgraduates in open elections such as the last DPGS election.

Why undergraduates were allowed to vote in the DPGS election in the first place is a bit of a mystery.

34. Lara   
Apr 10 2006 21:53

Many undergraduates stay on to do postgraduate courses, so are more than entitled to a vote in a DPGS election.

"Closing" the election to final year undergrads and postgrads only may be an option to consider for the future?

Apr 11 2006 12:51

Lara - " "Closing" the election to final year undergrads and postgrads only may be an option to consider for the future? "

Need to change the law - Education Act '94 s22(2)d "appointment to major union offices should be by election in a secret ballot in which all members are entitled to vote".

We could do this by splitting the Union into UG and PG associations, each with their own officers and groups etc (each being recognised by the College and being SU's under s20(2)a) and then having an overarching 'all student' SU) - but this would be considerably more expensive to run since more sabb's would be needed....

What I want to know is why aren't the Hall committees (which are Student Unions under s20(2)b) open for scrutiny?

36. Seb   
Apr 11 2006 14:08

That seems overly anal.

I'm sure we could nominally split the union into two associations and extend voting and membership rights between various functions on differring basis.

37. bahh   
Apr 11 2006 15:14

Or we could just scrap the DPGS - that would be far easier....

Give the postgrads money to organise social events instead of a pointless part-time sabb...

Apr 11 2006 21:53

bahh - that's essentially what PostSoc recommended. A constituent level Postgraduate Union with a nominal budget, run by enthusiatic postgraduate student volunteers.

39. Dan L   
Apr 12 2006 09:17


If that's what Post Grads still think then maybe they should tell the union that....

Apr 13 2006 11:22

Dan, PostSoc DID tell the union that (and Prof. Ritter - Pro Rector Grad Students). During 2003/4 PostSoc chairs, Mustafa and the other sabbs in the Research Students Working Group discussed the constitutent Postgraduate Union idea at some length over several months, with apparent general agreement and Mustafa offering to submit a proposal to council. Suddenly and without explanation he changed his mind we ended up the DPGS and GSA instead. Perhaps Mustafa would like to explain why he changed his mind...

41. Dan L   
Apr 13 2006 12:51

Jon, that was last year. I am not suprised that last year's president made changes which weren't in line with what the post-grads wanted.

My point was if post grads still want they proposed last year, then they should push for it again.

Apr 15 2006 14:07

As postgraduates no longer have an independent community which they ?own?, as they did with PostSoc (or could do in future with a Postgraduate Union), they no longer have a forum in which to discuss and decide what they want. Until they once again have their own community, we cannot expect to hear much from them collectively.

43. Curler   
Apr 15 2006 18:56

If you want a independent community so much why don't you form one like anyone else who wants a union club for their interest? You would have the dual honour of showing the world that postgrads can represent themselves and also show how pointless having a DPGS is.

Clubs are formed all the time, eg Railway soc reforming and Curling Soc being formed, all it takes is a little effort.

Quite frankly, if Postgrads can't even get together to represent themselves away from the DPGS then why should you get your own union? You have to stand up before you can walk nevermind run.

Apr 15 2006 22:40

Thanks for the advice ;).

45. hmm   
Apr 17 2006 20:13

Isn't that what the GSA is supposed to do? Why has it taken so long for the DPGS to set it up?

I don't see the point in running postsoc alongside it, when they will be doing the same thing!

Apr 18 2006 19:47

On the contrary, I see a good case for someone (not me as I graduated last year), restarting PostSoc, and that it could effectively complement GSA.

DPGS/GSA could provide the more formal postgraduate environment, organising larger scale and ?official? College and Union related postgraduate events (such as a postgraduate recruitment fair, or a College induction party). In parallel, PostSoc could provide a smaller scale informal forum under the direct control of volunteer students, where social events (such as theatre trips) and informal discussions on postgraduate requirements could take place. A PostSoc representative could then advise DPGS on what the grass-roots postgraduates actually want.

Apr 19 2006 09:35

Good plan Jon. This could also be a good start for removing the post of DPGS and allocating the ?20k to PostSoc to actually represent students.

Apr 19 2006 16:56

I thought the representation was done by the Faculty Unions and Research Reps??

What would PostSoc do?

Apr 20 2006 18:25

The problem with the research rep structure is that it is just a reporting framework. PostSoc on the other hand, being a club, supports a postgraduate community and provides a informal forum for discussion and debate on postgraduate issues.

Apr 20 2006 22:17

"supports a postgraduate community and provides a informal forum for discussion and debate on postgraduate issues"

The FU "reporting structure" is part of the college wide QAA structure, so its use is well to a certain degree dictated by the college and ofcourse the needs of the students.

A need for an "informal forum", begs the question, do PGs have enough time/or even care enough to have "informal" discussions, let alone formal ones.

And talking about PG issues, or let alone any issue, is somewhat of a prerogative of "talkers/politicians/time wasters" etc.

If the PGs want to discuss academic related issues and feel the present structure/facilities of college aren't sufficient this might be something that the GSA or even the FUs could raise.

I am sure the college would be glad to stop payin ?20-?30k for a sabb and spend the money in furthering possible inter-department/faculty research opportunities etc.

If PGs have enough time to talk about "PG Issues", maybe they can run for the damn sabbatical, else the MSc. students will rule their world!

51. Update   
Apr 22 2006 09:44
Apr 28 2006 17:57

Jon's account of discussions between PostSoc and the Research Students' Group relate to 2003-2004 (my first year as President). Discussions did take place but I decided that it was not politically possible to procede (i.e. that Council would not support any proposal). There were several reasons for this: 1) the PostSoc chair was an undergraduate; 2) the tone (though not the substance) of PostSoc's language was very much that they wanted to be completely independent of the "undergraduate" Union; 3) there was still lingering resentment amongst long-standing Council members of Jon and PostSoc's repeated requests for money to fund buffets; 4) the hostility of the Union's elected PG reps to the PostSoc Committee.

So, I shelved it, as we just weren't going to get anywhere. It wasn't about changing my mind or ignoring views. It was about being pragmatic.

In 2004/2005 many of the old people (in PostSoc as well as Union Officers) had left the scene and more constructive discussions were then held. The idea of the GSA was fully supported by the PostSoc committee that year. The GSA idea the we all signed up to was precisely that of a volunteer/membership-led PG community, led by a dedicated sabbatical officer. I've no idea whether this is happened or whether it became a one-man band. I would hope that there are faculty and social reps on the committee (as has been aluded to in above discussion) and that they are organising a comprehensive programme of activities and representation.

But whilst people might question the value of the DPGS, you ought to consider that the money would not "otherwise have gone to PostSoc". Representation itself doesn't cost much. The old PostSoc was a social community (and I hope the GSA has one). The Union has never extensively funded social activity, which has always been expected to breakeven. Jon's PostSoc committee wouldn't accept that principle, believing passionately, that they had a right to be subsidised, attracting a harsh reaction from Council over several years. Whatever your views on the matter, that sharp division created the environment that meant we couldn't get agreement until enough 'old' people had moved on.

Apr 28 2006 20:17

Ah yes, Mustafa's excuse for everything from ignoring regulations and council to not doing anything about issues. Pragmatic is not another word for arrogant or lazy nor does it give an excuse for following your own power crazed agenda under the influence of a permanant secretary (NOT the current holder of that job) who was furthering his political ambition but who thankfully got sacked for doing so.

Apr 28 2006 20:47

Just to expand slightly on Mustafa's post, it was my impression that Council said to PostSoc that they could not legally give them the money for the buffets, what with it being HMG money and all. Jon just wouldn't accept that fact and held up all other business because of it. Ended up in constitutional limbo at the end of the year with the dreaded "Q" word thanks to him.

Apr 28 2006 22:14

Mustafa?s account seems broadly correct, but invites some comment and correction...

1) This point is petty and misleading. Although the PostSoc chair was indeed an undergraduate during the 2003-2004 session, Mustafa knowingly forgot to mention that said chair was previously an Imperial postgraduate (PhD Aero 2001), a principal founder of PostSoc and its inaugural chair in the 1999-2000 session, and continued to be involved in PostSoc as one of its leaders through to the 2004-2005 session. One could also argue that having actually completed his postgraduate studies, served PostSoc for 5 years, and having undergraduate stakeholding as well, made him uniquely well qualified for the job.

2) This is subjective speculation, and incorrect. PostSoc never seriously proposed postgraduate independence from ICU. We supported the creation of a constituent level postgraduate union as a client of the main union, which to their credit, was an idea that Mike Moate (DPFS) and Mustafa originally developed. Its a great shame that Mustafa bowed to political pressure (at election time) and failed to follow through on this exceedingly good idea.

3) As neither the Union nor College provided any global induction or welcome for PGs at that time, we took the initiative, believing that PGs should at least get a free welcome drink and a sandwich when they arrive at College. Initially, CGCU and ICU supported this with funding.

Growing ICU Council hostility (see 4) towards PostSoc became clear in its disgraceful treatment of our budget appeal at the end of the 2002-2003 session....

For the record, we were already receiving sponsorship from Barclays Capital and didn?t really want to make ICU buffet funding the main issue in this appeal. We wanted to move on to discuss support for postgraduate union/infrastructure development ? but unfortunately we didn?t get a chance to say so.

I would like to point out that there was certainly no PostSoc hostility towards the union before this appeal debacle. Indeed, between 1999 and 2001, when we were receiving respectable ICU and CGCU funding for our buffets, our efforts were being rewarded with various ICU Full Colours and CGCU Distinguished Service Award and Full Colours awards.

4) This union hostility problem really is the crux of the matter. The real reason, we long suspected, for the union?s growing hostility towards PostSoc, came with their paranoid realisation that an organised body of postgraduates might eventually pose a threat to undergraduate dominance of the union and its budget. They simply did not want to share power with postgraduates who, on the basis of head count, could in theory make a case for control of up to one third of the union?s budget. Regrettably, hot-headed reaction on both sides resulted in a lack of constructive debate from then on.

I broadly agree with the last two paragraphs of Mustafa?s account. However, although the coming of a new Council and New PostSoc admitted negotiation and compromise, both parties lacked experience, and this is why we now have the flawed solution in the form of DPGS/GSA. As it says in Simon?s glossy report, PostSoc?s experience was not used in the formation of DPGS/GSA (and we would not wish to claim it), and that is a regrettable loss to ICU, College and its postgraduates.

Mustafa, Mike and PostSoc?s constituent level Postgraduate Union idea was, and still is, a much more effective, stable, inclusive and cheaper solution.

56. Dan L   
Apr 29 2006 08:25


What do you mean by "constituent level postgraduate union"?

The UGs run a very efficent system in Guilds of organising Buddies events throughout the union, which are cheap and effective.

Could the FSU's not get their AAO (Research) and Welfare Officers to just organise some buffets for PG's and then we can be done with all this nonsense? ?20k split between 3 FSU's for only using for PostGrads could go a long way.

Apr 29 2006 08:31

In reply to point 4 of the above post:

If it wasn't about the buffets, then why the f**k was the paper about the buffets, and why did all you talk about during the meeting was the buffets.

If memory serves (which it normally does), you spent approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours talking just about buffets. This from a 5 (yes that's five) hour meeting. You interuppted people, you refused to accept that the union couldn't fund this all year. And you must remember that when Council tried to come up with a compromise, as it was sympathetic to the problem of PG's arriving throughout the year, you wouldn't accept it.

And remember, never trust anyhting you read in newspapers peeps, or for that matter anything your told, until you see the black and white proof.

Apr 29 2006 09:52

Whoops, meant point 3..

Apr 29 2006 13:33

Edward, I did not submit that paper. I never sign myself as Jonathan, and was as surprised as anyone else to see it being presented. That paper looks like a cut-and-paste job by persons unknown (non-PostSoc), who lifted the first paragraph from our handbook entry, and the second from a much earlier request for funding (which actually was realistically based on our previous year?s ICU funding of around ?850).

We did accept Council?s valid point on PGs arriving throughout the year, and this is one reason we had in fact softened our stance on buffet funding by the time of the appeal meeting in June. Unfortunately, the ballistic reaction to the bogus paper overwhelmed our intention to compromise on this issue. Had we actually submitted a paper, it would have focussed on funding for postgraduate society infrastructure development, which is what we really wanted to talk about.

My recollection is that the appeal meeting started over 1 hour late, ICU Choir got a Rolls-Royce hearing lasting over 30 mins, while our brutal barracking was terminated after about 10 mins.

Dan, postgraduate needs are quite different from those of undergraduates and go far beyond the provision of buffets, e.g., specialist independent advice on registration and supervisor problems, online networking database, postgraduate recruitment fair, etc.

By ?constituent level postgraduate union?, I refer to the creation of a Postgraduate Students Union at faculty level, over which postgraduates have genuine sovereignty in the form of an elected President and Council, which has an adequate budget, and which supports the development of a postgraduate community.

60. Seb   
Apr 29 2006 14:03


Point 1:

People need to learn when to move on. Having a UG chair of PostSoc was not a clever idea, constituency changes from year to year. That kind of behaviour re-inforces the perception that a society is in fact a propogation of a self-serving clique.

As for this idea the union is an "undergraduate" union, it rather ignores the substantial number of post graduates that do involve themselves in the union. The bulk of activities are done through societies which are open to all and run by all and have a substantial number of PG members, at least from my experience. If you characterise C&S spending as spending on Undergraduates then that is probably more a problem in your perspective, bluntly.

Now, certainly there is a case for some of the things you mention in accademic welfare and registration etc. but does this really need constituent level organisation? I'd suggest it's far easier (from my experience) to just get on and do it.

I, with a number of Imperial students and people from other universities, are stuck out in a Government lab in the middle of no-where, and if you think you have/had it hard at IC with regards to registration, supervision and inability to access social stuff then this takes it to another level. The people we rely on for day to day supervision are not accountable to anyone so we have had to really push for them to recognise various failings and their responsibility to do something about them. We don't have a legaly recognised Union nor, because this place is not a university, are we likely to get one.

If a problem exists and there is a genuine appetite for something amoung PG's, go and make it happen and then ask the Union or College to recognise it after it works.

Structures like that are best organised from the bottom up, not top down.

61. Dan L   
Apr 29 2006 14:33

My point was that FSU's have done Post-Grad representation extremely well over the past few years - the only thing they failed with was having money. What Guilds has tried to do is get reps in every department (this is not as easy as it sounds), so that the reserach academic committee can actually get feedback and do something.

This is why I see no point in the GSA - FSU's represent UGs and PGs, so why do we need a 3rd body. Seb is indeed correct - why have another council - there is already one for everyone.

Also I think you will find that the council chair was a postgrad himself at the time of that appeal....

Apr 29 2006 14:40

Some queries:

"Edward, I did not submit that paper."

Then why did you speak for it. Why didn't you ask the Council Chair to remove it from the agenda.

"That paper looks like a cut-and-paste job by persons unknown (non-PostSoc)"

I would helpfully suggest that a paper had to be submitted with the appeal. As the person most likely to have lodged the appeal was from PostSoc, it was probably written by someone in PostSoc, most likely someone on the committee. Probably a rush job yes, but PostSoc none the less.

"Unfortunately, the ballistic reaction to the bogus paper overwhelmed our intention to compromise on this issue."

You weren't willing to compromise at the start. Council tried to find ways and means of helping you but you wouldn't listen.

"My recollection is that the appeal meeting started over 1 hour late."

That is correct, but it still lasted to well near mignight until Quorum, so five hours for the meeting stands. And what this has to do with the question in hand I don't know.

"ICU Choir got a Rolls-Royce hearing lasting over 30 mins"

ICU Choir presented a good case, and were willing to hear Council out, and consider compromises.

"while our brutal barracking was terminated after about 10 mins"

Try multiplying that figure by a factor of 10. If you mean Council got sick of you not willing to compromise on the issue, especially when it was willing to, and so moved to the vote. Perhaps the clubs whose appeals came after yours were unimportant?

63. Sam   
May 02 2006 02:05

oh ffs.

Why are you arguing about what happened about 3 years ago? - I don't see how this helps the future of Postgraduates at IC.

Ed - please shut up. Jon has at least made constructive points about what happened from his point of view. You are just making picky little points. This does not help form a solution and as neither of you are at IC any longer, you are no longer relevant.

Let the current students thrash it out - so far this thread has been dominated by an ex-President (current UCL traitor), an ex-PostSoc chair (sadly now graduated - twice ;o) and an assortment of miscellaneous graduated old hacks. Give. It. Up.

64. pedAnt   
May 02 2006 08:54

Oh dear Sam, It would appear that your punctuation is slipping. You never closed the last set of brackets. Either that or your winking face has no mouth.

65. Sam   
May 03 2006 22:24

That's actually a stylistic device, but if you were any good as a grammar pedant, you should have complained about the extraneous ; and o instead:

  • Semicolon usage is not appropriate here, does not separate to sentences related in meaning nor demark a list.
  • "o" is not a valid sentence, needs grammatical context.

For further points you should have pointed out that I hadn't closed the parenthesised statement with something like a full stop. For true pedant status you should have questioned the parenthood of the hypen used within the brackets.

May 18 2006 23:25

All this talk about what PostSoc was doing in between 1999-2001 has me confused. I was a union member, but I don't recall any PostSoc activity then. I do recall CGCU events aimed at postgraduates but I didn't think they had anything to do with PostSoc. In fact I distinctly remember that PostSoc was dead in the 1999-2000 Academic year because it didn't even have a budget for the next year, until the incoming chair requested one at the last minute (not his fault he ahd only just being elected). I even remember arguing strongly that PostSoc should get their budget in the hope that the Union did something for PostGrads. I also remember my disappointment the following year when I didn't see anything.

In any case this whole thing around Postgrads seems ridiculous; find out what Postgrads actually want, and then offer it to _all_ union members. Duh!

May 19 2006 07:20

I refer the right honourable potato to:

which seem to indicate PostSoc started in the middle of the 1999-2000 academic year and then held a buffet...

May 19 2006 10:55

Apologies, I was getting PostSoc mixed up with ICU Postgraduate Group. Re-reading the articles it seems that PostSoc was part of CGCU and organised the events I was thinking of.

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