Controversy at KUSU EGM as motion against management plans is passed, but may count for nothing

Students overwhelmingly passed a motion to oppose KU senior management’s controversial academic progression proposals and support lecturer union UCU’s alternative strategy for the University.

Joe Stanley-Smith

Students overwhelmingly passed a motion to oppose KU senior management’s controversial academic progression proposals and support lecturer union UCU’s alternative strategy for the University.
 

However only 94 people attended the Emergency General Meeting, with 100 required to bind the Students’ Union to the ruling. Over 200 students had petitioned for the meeting to be held.

The issue will now be passed to the executive committee of KUSU who will decide whether or not to comply with the motion.

The chair of the meeting, LGBT officer Nelson Truran, said before the vote: “I can confirm that the executive committee will take seriously what the votes indicate today.”

410 lecturers against proposals

The 94 students present, although a small fraction of the student body, have paid at least £337,500 in tuition fees this year alone, although the actual figure depending on how many students were first years, postgraduates and international students could be as high as £1million.

Whatever KUSU’s decision, the University management may decide to press ahead with plans anyway, despite 410 lecturers signing a petition against the proposals.

Not short on dispute

The meeting was not short on dispute as Vice Chancellor Julius Weinberg interrupted UCU branch chairman Andrew Higginbotham’s first speech.

A second motion which backed the academic progression plans by management, with some conditions, was put forward by former KUSU President Chris Dingle and seconded by current VP Activities Rita Serghis, a member of the exec committee in which the final decision on KUSU’s position on the academic progression proposals will now lie with.

Students being lied to?

More controversy followed at the end of the meeting, as some members of Kingston Education Activist Network briefly left the meeting to try to persuade more students to attend to bring the number of students to 100 to make the meeting ‘quorate’, or binding.

VP Student Life Lucy Williams said that the students who then arrived at the meeting had been lied to. She alleged on Facebook that EAN members had told new arrivals that the meeting was on the subject of rising student fees.

The students in question, upon hearing the meeting was not on student fees, then did not enter the meeting.

The River live-tweeted the event and will conduct a full investigation. Do you know what happened? Please leave a comment below. See more, and a full report on the EGM, in next Friday’s River.

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