KCLSU is attempting to repeal a Student Council motion, removing debate on the issue. Key union figures were cut out of the process.
Last Friday, student councillors received an email detailing a motion that would allow student officers to work in KCL halls of residence. The motion would amend policy that Council passed at the end of the last academic year, which cited conflict of interest as the primary reason for preventing officers from working for the College. For example, issues could arise if a student officer is campaigning against or lobbying a halls of residence for which they work.
The new motion, which is yet to be made available to students on the KCLSU website, can be viewed here.
Section 3.61 of KCLSU bye laws states: “A written resolution voted in favour by two thirds of the Voting Members of Council shall be as valid and effectual as if it had been passed at a meeting of the Student Council duly convened and held.”
In the email, Benjo Taylor, Democracy and Representation Manager at KCLSU, asks councillors to respond with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as soon as possible. As this is an out of meeting motion, councillors have not been given the opportunity to debate or amend it.
A councillor commented on the situation, arguing it is in the interests of students that Council has the chance to debate contentious issues.
“This motion removes all opportunities for councillors to discuss the issue, and it ignores previous motions passed by the council. I will not be supporting the motion, but would encourage it be brought up at the next council.”
Last year’s motion, which is currently being threatened by the resolution, states: “If a conflict of interest should arise, it has the potential to significantly undermine an officer’s position to the student body.” The resolution would omit this statement.
Anthony Shaw, Vice President Representation and Communication (VPRC), commented: “It is an amendment to an existing policy. Amendments to policies are common and encouraged so that we can ensure they are still right as situations change.”
The Council Chair had no prior knowledge of the motion. In response to this, Shaw pointed to the bye laws, claiming that the Chair does not need to be informed beforehand. “Motions only need the Chair’s permission if it is an emergency motion.”
Shaw, in his capacity as VPRC, oversees Student Council. However, he himself had received no information from Benjo Taylor until the email was sent out to councillors.
Taylor was unable to comment.
You can follow Ben Jackson on Twitter at @bjacksonuk