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14 Student Politics

The Journal Wednesday 25 February 2009

EUSA AGM not quorate... again

SILVIA PAVLOVA FOTEVA

Megan Taylor megan.taylor@journal-online.co.uk AFTER FAILING TO encourage more than 300 Edinburgh students to attend the General Meeting last Wednesday evening, EUSA’s four sabbatical officers faced the embarrassment of yet another meeting which has ended with nothing being achieved. Eight out of ten motions brought forward were nonetheless debated and voted upon. EUSA president Adam Ramsay held a vote as to whether the two constitutional amendments of changing the licensing laws at the Kings Building Bar and enabling the SRC to mandate voting decisions on behalf of the elected NUS delegates should be debated. Ramsay deemed them to be “boring”

constitutional measures, and said there was no point in debating them if nothing concrete was to be achieved and the vote decided to veto these amendments. A small number of students took offence at this and duly left the lecture theatre. All other motions received an indicative vote in favour, including, ironically, a constitutional amendment which calls for a drastic change to the current GM voting system. Adam Ramsay introduced a referendum motion proposing that students be allowed to vote online instead of having to physically turn up to the meeting. Due to the inquorate status of the AGM, however, none of the motions voted on can be formally ratified. The initial blame for this reoccurring shortfall fell as usual on the four

Sabbatical officers, although it was pointed out that there was an intensive publicity campaign for the meeting around both campuses to which the student body remained fairly unresponsive. Speaking to The Journal Mr Ramsay said: “It’s a shame we didn’t have enough people to pass the constitutional amendments, but the General Meeting brought forward loads of great ideas, and we’ll be taking those forwards, so I’m really glad people got involved and brought motions.” Three out of the four candidates for EUSA president spoke during the debates, including Oliver Mundell, who supported the motion for reducing the student medics’ fees claiming he “had found out just how helpful doctors are recently.” Mr Mundell is currently

campaigning in a mobility scooter, after piercing his foot on a spike while climbing into George Square gardens. Motions for reducing the VAT charged in academic buildings, and increasing the quality of feedback on academic work—a motion brought to the GM by presidential hopeful Liz Rawlings—went unquestioned and passed with a unanimous vote. The remaining motions also passed including the introduction of birthdates onto all new matriculation cards, a campaign for the library to be open 24 hours and a minibus for societies brought forward by EUSA presidential candidate Thomas Graham. The motion for lowering CSE booking prices was closely contested, as was the medic fees proposal, but both were passed with small margins.

However, when the floor was opened for private member’s questions one theme recurred throughout: how can we get out of this rut? The sabbaticals took some of the responsibility with Guy Bromly simply stating: “We tried our best but I’m sorry we obviously haven’t done enough.” One the other hand, George Thomas was convinced that “every problem can be solved with a Facebook application,” whilst Naomi Hunter was convinced it was a matter of finding new ways to “engage” more students into student politics. The four sabbaticals encourage anyone with a good idea to translate it into a “Big Idea” by writing it down on a post-it note and sticking it on the brick walls that are situated around campus for the duration of this week.

Mundell apologises for NUS liberation jibe Alice Stanes alice.stanes@journal-online.co.uk EUSA PRESIDENT CANDIDATE Oliver Mundell has apologised for allegedly reducing a disabled NUS liberation officer to tears. “I understand that liberation is a sensitive issue but I have always tried to keep my own personal emotions out of decision making, putting the needs of students first,” Mr Mundell said. “I’m really sorry if my point of view has been upsetting or misinterpreted but, rather than engaging in petty NUS politics, I’m moving forward with my plans to make EUSA more representative.” Mr Mundell is adamant, however, that any offence caused was unintentional. Speaking to The Journal, he said: “Throughout my time in student politics I have always found it is best to be open and honest about what you stand

Mundell recovers in hospital after impaling his foot on a fence

for. “I have consistently argued that the token liberation that NUS offers is a distraction from the real issues that affect the very students these positions are designed to help.” After impaling his foot on a fence in George Square in the early hours of Monday 9 February, Mr Mundell is now recovering from reconstructive surgery on his foot, and will spend the remainder of his campaign in a mobility scooter. The 19 year old son of Conservative MP David Mundell, slipped on a metal spike whilst attempting to climb over the fence and join his friends on a patch on freshly-fallen snow. Two fire engines were called to the scene, and seven fireman took fifteen minutes to cut Mundell free. But despite the accident, Mr Mundell is refusing to let the incident affect his election campaign. “I don’t really see the accident as a setback as I have a great team of

students behind me putting in the leg work, who think I have the ideas and passion to make a difference. I still hope to speak to most students, if a little slower than before!” he said. “If anything, I found people are more inclined to speak to me, as they see me putting in the extra effort.” Speaking to The Journal, Mr Mundell made clear his wish to focus solely on his campaign without allowing his temporary disability to become a political football in the election campaign. “On the positive side my accident has made me arguably the best known candidate in this election, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into votes. What is important now is to get my positive agenda and ideas like my director of studies-led feedback scheme and plans for cheaper university accommodation out there. “Right now I’d ask students to be proactive and contact me via my website www.olivermundell.com with any ideas or questions they have.”

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