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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.

Union cards for all?

Dec 03 2003 12:52
Darth Nit
How easy is it for Students at Wye and Silwood to get Union cards?
Ooooooh the bright lights of the Union

So if I want a Union card, I trundle out of my office, out the building and then over to Beit, fill in a form, hand over a photo (of me unfortunately) etc and bingo I have a Union card. And I bet you’re now asking why I am ranting about such stuff.

What if you’re at Wye of Silwood? You can’t really take the day off to travel into London just to get a Union card. Okay, so they don’t have a Union card, but this year, there has been a clamp down on membership of all clubs and societies. All members of any club or society must have provable Union membership, whether full student, life, reciprocal, associate or temporary (i think exec have to approve the latter). No Union card? Sorry, you can’t join. This clamp down has been the bane of most chairs/captains of clubs and societies, so not being able to sign up students away from the central London campuses has been irritating to say the least.

I know of at least one example of a student at Silwood, who would like to join a club based in London to go on the training trips that are frequently organised. Of course it’s cheaper for her to join the College club than a non-university club – a small matter of a huge subsidy for training, trips and equipment, all of which outside university is almost extortion for this particular sport.

An email conversation with her has revealed that union cards and their importance with regards to joining clubs hasn’t been made clear by the Union to them at all. They seem to be completely in the dark with regards to Union cards. Any enquires about getting Union cards have resulted in being advised to go to the South Ken campus to get one.

ICU boasts the largest number of clubs and societies for any UK students' Union but it hardly seems fair if a small but significant number of those students find it so inconvenient to join.

One big happy family?

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Discussion about “Union cards for all?”

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.
Dec 03 2003 17:18

We had a visitor from London issuing Union cards here (Wye)... for about two hours one Wednesday lunchtime. That was our only chance.

This was publicised by a block e-mail and a couple of posters, saying that "Union Cards" would be available from the JCR on that day at those times, but with no explanation of their importance to joining any clubs...

...hence although I now have enough members in the Wye College Performing Arts Society (yes, WyePAS, snigger), I still cannot release the club's budget because they have no Union card numbers to write on the form.

Amidst all the debate about non-members joining ICU clubs, here are full members who cannot be included simply because a Union card number (not a valid undergraduate College card number) is needed, and they cannot get to ICU offices between 10am and 4pm in the week.

2. tom t   
Dec 03 2003 18:27

I did bring up the issue of accessibility and sensibility of the new ICU card system at an Exec meeting yonks ago - it was promised that situations like this would be avoided if possible, yet it seems like they have not. I expressed the opinion that getting all prospective members of a society to get a card before anything could happen would create difficulties, even for societies based on the SK campus.

Told you so, though I do agree that having the cards is useful for insurance / safety / organisational / whatever other reasons there are...

Can not someone on the more outlying campuses be charged with Union card distribution?? All you need is a laminator, or failing that, some sticky-backed plastic sheeting, available to all 13 yr olds wanting to make fake ID cards from WHSmiths.

Nichola, you seem like the sensible sort of person who could make it known to Wye-peeps that you're the one with the cards... ;-)

Dec 03 2003 18:54

...and as of next week, the WCUS PR Rep, apparently...

and therefore responsible for "encouraging the flow of information available to all students" (at last!) so I could certainly set about letting students know of the importance/availability of Union cards, although it may be more appropriate for Gemma or Christine to do the actual issuing. I'll raise it with the WCUS Exec next Monday :-)

Dec 04 2003 08:15

The plan was that during the 'roadshow' down at Wye the (South Ken) staff member would, by issuing cards, train up the administrative secretary we employ at Wye. So the idea was that after this big issuing session Wye students would be able to get Union cards on a casual basis from the WCUS offices.

If this has not happened then WCUS should raise it with the Union Manager.

We hope to make similar arrangements for Silwood. With the Medical campuses the ICSM SU President agreed to see whether those which have student offices could issue Union cards on our behalf.

Where we cannot issue cards on a permanent basis locally we shall continue to send people down to issue them. Aside from club and society registrations, students will need Union cards to take part in online sabbatical elections for both ICU and ULU.

Might I suggest better researching news articles in future?

Dec 04 2003 11:01

This item is not a news article, it is an opinion piece.

Dec 04 2003 11:41

If the cards are now available in Wye, this has not been made known to the students: the one issuing session was announced, passed, and no more was heard, and when asking potential members whether they have Union Cards the most common response has been, "What's a Union Card?" although my intention had been to raise the matter with the relevant people in the first instance rather than attempting to make a controversy where the real issue could well boil down (yet again) to lack of communication, an issue which steps are already being taken to rectify.

Dec 04 2003 11:45


it still doesn't not retract from the fact that students at silwood and wye have not been able to get union cards readily or easily nor how important union cards are.

the main rant was for participation in clubs and societies, not elections for sabbatical or ulu posts.

8. Beci   
Dec 04 2003 13:16


The cards are available from Lee. Yes, I know that no one was aware of it. I wasn't either til I saw them on his desk and questioned it, but by then it was not my responsibility to do anything about it. I think raising it with the Exec is a good idea.

9. ian   
Feb 18 2004 18:19

what's wye?

10. tom t   
Feb 19 2004 10:33

who the hell's this rather suddenly prolific ian chap then?

Feb 19 2004 22:05

He's your second cousin once removed you inbred tit..

Closed This discussion is closed.

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