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August 17, 2005

This is the end

Well, it's time to sign off from Warwick blogs… as my user-name is going to expire tomorrow.

I think the blogging experiment has been interesting, and has generally been shown to promote freedom of expression, which must be a good thing.

I wish it well.


June 15, 2005

Public Meeting

Dear all,

There will be a public meeting entitled

The staffing implications of business coming to today's meeting of Union Council

on Thursday (tomorrow) at 6pm in H0.58.

All are welcome to attend.

Union Council itself is at 7pm in S0.21.

The purpose of this meeting is basically to discuss whether any of the motions coming to Union Council have a beneficial or adverse affect on the staffing side of the organisation, and whether as a result it is desirable to vote for or against these motions.

Students are currently prohibited from discussing the staffing implications of motions at Union Council due to the Union's Staff Student Protocol. It is hoped that this meeting will help Councillors to better understand the consequences of the decisions they make, and that this will lead to better decision making.

This meeting is being held in accordance with the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 which guarantees the right to free speech within the law on University Campuses.

Benny


June 14, 2005

Union Commercial Services

Follow-up to Public Debate from Benny Blog

Dear all,

If you haven’t read the blog entry that I am writing about I suggest you go back and read it (and the associated comments) first, otherwise you will not understand what I am talking about.

Gareth Barker stated on my blog that,

“If you want a rough figure for the commercial contribution (and it is rough) then you are looking at something closer to £3 million, not 300k mate. Infact, 300k is what is reserved for our capital expenditure to make building improvements and purchase new equipment for departments each year. As you should already know."

If it were true that the commercial operations were making a net surplus of something close to £3 million which was then contributed to the non-commercial side, this would mean that the net surplus was something around 70% of sales. I cannot immediately think of any company that makes a profit of anything like 70% of its turnover on a regular basis. It might be thought at a first glance that a contribution of 300k, representing about 7% of sales, might be the more plausible of the two numbers. However as I have a copy of the budget pack available, I can look at the figures to work out which one is more likely to be correct.

The purpose of this entry is to examine in some detail whether it is plausible that the commercial contribution to non-commercial activities is something close to £3 million. I am going to do this by using data from the Union’s Budget Pack, dated 23rd June 2004.

Please note that this is only an attempt to quantify the monetary gains from the Commercial activities. Non-monetary gains are not included, as these are not the purpose of this discussion, although it is obvious that there are substantial non-monetary gains for students from the Union’s commercial operations.

I am using data for the Forecast for the year 2003–04, as estimated at the time of the June 2004 budget. Although the Union will now know actual figures for this year the detail of these have not yet been released to students, and so this is why forecasts are used. I am also using these figures for consistency as the figure of £334,000 that is estimated in the budget is a forecast for the 2003–04 year.

The budgets show Operating Income as being £4,227,737 and Operating Costs as being £1,409,271. The difference between the two is about £2.8 million, this could be said to be something close to £3 million.

But where does this £3 million go? Does it all go towards funding non-commercial activities? The answer is clearly “no”. This is clearly the case, as these operating costs do not include the payroll of £2,294,999. Some of this £2.3 million is spent employing staff who work only on commercial activities, some of it is spent on staff who work only on non-commercial activities, and the rest is spent on staff who work on both commercial and non-commercial activities. It is not all spent on the non-commercial side.

Fortunately, help is at hand, as Section 6 of the budget pack divides the budget up into these three sections.

Commercial is defined of consisting of
a) Entertainments
b) Food and Beverage
c) Stewarding
d) Retail
e) Machines
f) Rents
g) Marketing
h) Market Research
i) Venue Operations
j) Reception

The only suspect entry on this list is Reception, indeed the Budget Pack states,

The Union Reception provides a huge service to the Union in a whole host of areas, and is our front line for numerous enquires and services. It sits perhaps rather incongruously under Commercial Services because it produces some income from room hire.

Arguably, Reception should be transferred to the list of departments that is both commercial and non-commercial in nature. However as the cost of reception is only £42k, this makes very little difference in the end.

Non-Commercial (or Membership) is defined of consisting of
a) Advice and Democratic Services
b) Sabbatical Officers
c) Student Activities
d) Societies and Sports Federation
e) Committees and Representation

Things which are both Commercial and Non-Commercial (or the so-called “Department Services”) consist of
a) Facilities and Safety
b) Finance
c) Human Resources
d) IT
e) General Management
f) General Overheads
g) Other Income

It is worth noting that the total payroll budget for all the departments that are purely commercial is £1.35 million. Some departments also have “expenses” that are not included in Cost.

Section 6 rather usefully takes each department in turn and considers the total amount that the department makes. This is done by taking income and subtracting cost to give gross profit, and then subtracting labour and expenses to get the total amount made by the department.

The totals made by each of the purely Commercial departments is as follows:
a) Entertainments £143,034
b) Food and Beverage £1,064134
c) Stewarding (£152,052)
d) Retail £56,977
e) Machines £179,327
f) Rents £116,650
g) Marketing (£134,378)
h) Market Research £750
i) Venue Operations (£74,202)
j) Reception (£42,141)

Negative contributions are in brackets.

The total amount made by these purely commercial departments is £1,157,649. (or about £1.2 million if reception is excluded).

The total amount spent by all the purely Non-Commercial departments is as follows:
a) Advice and Democratic Services £161,402
b) Sabbatical Officers £124,729
c) Student Activities £85,288
d) Societies and Sports Federation £90,541
e) Committees and Representation £78.780

These departments run at a total cost of £540,740, so the cost of these departments is easily covered by the block grant of £1 million.

The total amount spent by the departments that are both Commercial and Non-Commercial is as follows:

a) Facilities and Safety £247,994
b) Finance £221,349
c) Human Resources £104,852
d) IT £153,204
e) General Management £97,889
f) General Overheads £699,305
g) Other Income (£21,423)

Negative costs (i.e. income) is in brackets.

With the exception of the “other income” category, and a misc. income of £600 in the I.T. Department, all of the departments that are both commercial and non-commercial have no income, these consists of costs that are borne on behalf of both the commercial and the non-commercial sides of the organisation.

Even if the commercial and non-commercial departments (like Facilities and Safety, Finance and Human Resources) only did any work for non-commercial side, the total contributed by the Commercial side would only be £1.2 million.

If, on the other hand, the departments that are both commercial and non-commercial only did work for the commercial side, the total contributed by the Commercial side would be minus £886k.

It follows that the true monetary contribution of the Commercial side to the non-commercial side is somewhere in the region of minus £886k and plus £1.2 million.

To work out whether the Commercial side makes and contribution at all, and the level of that contribution, it is necessary to make assumptions about how much of the expenditure from the departments that are both commercial and non-commercial should be attributed to commercial activities and non-Commercial activities.

This is what Ross Davidson did in Section 6 (i) of the Budget Pack entitled “Generation of Union Funds”. We know this is the case because he stated:

“In order to get an accurate picture of how much each area of activity costs us, it is necessary to reallocate the cost of Departmental Services between Commercial and Membership Services. In the past, this has been done based on a rule of thumb. This year, a Cost Driver Reallocation basis has been used, where the costs are allocated based on an analysis of what generates the costs. E.g. IT costs are reallocated based on the number of computers in each department.”

He clearly thought that this is an appropriate way to answer the question I am trying to answer because he went on to say:

“This technique allows us to make it abundantly clear that the Union’s Commercial Services produce a substantial surplus to the organisation. This is added to the Annual Allocation from the University, and is used to fund the cost of Membership Services.”

So this technique allows the question of whether the contribution from the commercial side is positive or negative to be solved, and infact shows that the contribution from the commercial side is substantially positive.

Ross Davidson calculated that commercial operations resulted in a net surplus of £334k, or about 7% of sales. And lets face it, a return of 7% of sales is not bad going for any commercial undertaking.

So, the figure of a commercial contribution of somewhat in the region of £3 million is simply not consistent with the Union’s own figures. All the commercial departments put together only yield a net surplus of £1.2 million, without taking into account the costs incurred by the commercial side in departments such as “facilities and safety” and “human resources”.

Note:

There is an argument of economies of scale which can be sensibly made – the idea here is that the whole is worth more than the sum of the component parts. This is slightly superfluous to the discussion of the monetary contribution; however it’s worth investigating to consider what the magnitude of these economies of scale might actually be.

According to Ross Davidson’s estimate the non-commercial side costs about £1.3 million, made up of £1 million from the block grant and £334k from the commercial side.

Now it could be argued that the non-commercial side would incur additional costs if it wasn’t part of the commercial operation, due to cost duplication. For example there would have to be a separate finance department and a separate human resources department. This would mean that the departments that currently provide both commercial services and non-commercial services would have to remain bigger than the amount estimated using the Cost Driver estimation method.

However it doesn’t seem plausible that these departments would have to grow in size if the commercial operations were dispensed with, so the upper limit of the cost of these departments to the non-commercial side would be £1.5 million. Adding this to the costs of the purely non-commercial departments of £540k, means that the total would be about £2 million, and so once the block grant is subtracted it would only be necessary to find £1 million to plug the hole left by removing the commercial services.

Of course, as I pointed out, this is an upper limit of how much the commercial services may be worth using an economies of scale argument, in practice it will be substantially less than this, as it would be possible to reduce the size of many of these departments in practice.

Conclusion:

This examination has told me that the claim that the commercial side gives something close to £3 million to the non-commercial side, a profit of some 70% of takings, is just not substantiated by the Union’s own figures.

The Union’s own budget pack suggests that the actual figure is £334k. A scale economies argument could be used to argue that in practice the figure would be somewhat more like £700k, but it is difficult to see how it could be argued that it is substantially more than that.

As I said at the outset, it could well be argued that commercial services are a good thing in their own right and should be retained on principle, but that is a separate argument.

A couple of final points, yes the Union does set £300k aside for capital expenditure, however this is generally spent on the commercial side (Zippy’s, the Graduate, Café Xanana, Cholo), and not on the non-commercial side at all.

It’s also worth noting that whilst losing the commercial services would downsize the Union, it would not be downsized as far as a sixth form college. How many sixth form colleges have a block grant of over £1 million?

Benny


June 11, 2005

Public Debate

There will be a Public Debate entitled

"Union Commercial Services: Save them or Scrap them?"

on Tuesday 14th June at 4pm in H0.58.

The future of the Union's Commercial Services is a hot topic at the moment, as the Union is currently taking part in the so-called "Leadership Foundation Project" with the University. (This was formerly known as "Devolved Department Negotiations".

The Union's Commercial Services have a turnover of about £5 million and contribute about £300,000 towards the non-commercial services which the Union provides.

Here are two sample arguments to give you a taste of the sorts of things that will be discussed:

Argument for saving the Union's Commercial Services

Historically, the Students' Union fought hard for its independence from the University, and won the right to the Use of Union South in 1974. The £300,000 earned from the Union's Commercial Operations go straight back into services for students. The fact that the Union has this revenue stream means that it is not wholly reliant on the University, and makes the Union less vulnerable to threats to withdraw the block grant. The Union forces the University to keep its prices down by competing in the food and drink market. Because Union South is run by students, for students, the facilities can be used for what students' want. Students can have a real say on how the Union's Commercial Services are run through the democratic processes, as was demonstrated by the decisions taken about fair trade hot drinks. Therefore we should save the Union's Commercial Services.

Argument for scrapping the Union's Commercial Services

Running commercial services is by definition a risky undertaking, and as the Union's surplus tends to only be around £20,000 even a small deterioration of profits from the commercial side could leave the Union in financial ruin. The University would probably be happy to compensate the Union for the £300,000 lost if the Union let it take over the Commercial Services. The Union currently has a large incentive to tacitly collude with the University in the food and drink markets, which prevents the Union campaigning against the University's high prices. There is no reason why the Union's Commercial services could not be run by the University or the private sector, and they may thrive from being freed from democratic pressures. Students can make little difference about how commercial services are run as they are forever being warned that proposed policy is financially unviable. The staff-student protocol prevents discussion in Union meetings about how the Commercial Services are being run, and this is an unacceptable infringement on freedom of speech. Therefore, we should scrap the Union's Commercial Services.

As the Union is so fond of saying, come and have your say!

4pm, Tuesday, H0.58.

Be there.

Benny


Return of my blog

Well my blog is back online for the next two weeks before it is ruthlessly shut down for non-payment of a WGA subscription.

I'll be talking a bit about the new disciplinary regulations in a future entry, as I was not allowed to complete my remarks at the executive committee meeting at which they were passed, and I believe there are serious freedom of speach issues about the regulations that need to be considered.

For those who are interested in the John Cross case, I can confirm that the matter is currently being considered by the University Registrar.

Benny


May 06, 2005

Blog Suspended

I am suspending my blog until 28th May to concentrate on my exams.

In particular I will not be commenting on the John Cross case until this time.

I will also not be doing any further work on this case or campaigning on the subject of the Union Disciplinary Regulations during this period.

Benny


Disciplinary Update

Writing about web page http://www.johncrossisinnocent.tk

John's appeal is confirmed for next Tuesday, when the Union will have to decide whether to confirm its position of taking action against a student whom it accepts didn't break the constitution, its appendicies and regulations, didn't break the staff-student protocol and didn't break the law.

I am still baffled as to how the first hearing found that no rules had been breached, and yet still found John guilty. Surely if no rules are breached at all, that means no action should be taken against you?

You can read the verdict here

In other news Union Council passed a policy expressing concerns about the disciplinary regulations last night. There was suggestions that it was personally motivated – I can confirm that I personally believed that we should pass that policy.

Incidently, the Sabbaticals claimed that it was constitutional to expel members from the Students' Union and that they had received legal advice on this subject.

We have to follow the Constitution, unless the law means it would be illegal for us to do so.

The Constitution states:

_4.1 The following will be members of the Union:
(a) Full members: All registered students of the University except those who exercise their right not to be a member under section 22 (2) (c) of the Education Act 1994. Sabbatical Officers of the Union will be full members of the Union_

It is clear from this statement that if you are a registered student of the University, you are a member of the Union. So taking the Constituion on its own (ignoring the law), the Union cannot expel its own members.

Now the question is, is this section of the Constitution illegal? If it is, the Sabbaticals should inform the University Council immediately that it
has approved an illegal Constitution for our Union.

Otherwise, they are wrong.

I hope that the disciplinary regulations are rewritten as soon as possible to meet some of the concerns that were expressed yesturday. We are in a situation where a member has been found guilty for breaking no rules at all. That is certainly unacceptable, it is questionable whether it is legal. Although I have no legal expertise, it seems to me that whilst it is legal for a membership organisation to impose sanctions on its members for breaking its rules, it seems doubtful whether it is legal for a membership organisation to impose sanctions for not breaking any rules.

Even though I think the Sabbaticals are wrong, I respect each and every one of them, because I know that they are doing what they think is right. I am also doing what I think is right, and I make no apology for standing up for what I believe in.

Benny


May 04, 2005

Disciplinary Verdict

Well as had been decided some time ago the Union Disciplinary found John Cross guilty this afternoon at about 5.30 pm.

Most of the investigating Officer's report, such as the bits about annonymous questions, were disregarded as irrelevant, but the fact that the irrelevant evidence was ignored isn't a lot of consolation, if the panel then convicts on the basis of no evidence.

It turned out that the action was being brought under the 11th ground for disciplinary action:

Any behaviour which causes a student, guest or staff member to lodge a complaint.

Yes, that's right, if you take any action which causes someone to lodge a complaint, that in itself is a grounds for a disciplinary. It could be walking into Cholo, tying your shoelace, speaking on Union business, casting a vote… any action at all is grounds for a disciplinary.

It was accepted by the panel that John didn't break the constitution, its appendicies, regulations, the staff-student protocol or the law. And yet a disciplinary was proceeding because a member of staff had complained.

Union Council is going to consider whether we should have a new set of disciplinary regulations, which would stop this kind of nonsense happening. I hope they give the current regulations the vote of no confidence they deserve.

Incidently John was finally convicted of causing offence to a member of staff and of compounding this offence by not retracting his statement. He was never told that he was being tried for causing offence at any point during the proceedings.

Maybe Simon Lucas was right to tell John to stop wasting time by persistantly asking for a copy of the charges. After all, if the charges can change just before the verdict is announced, what would be the point of looking at them at all?

Now John's been ordered to apologise and clarify his remarks to Union Council. It's difficult to see why he would want to do either of those things, so it seems that the only thing the Union has acheived today is to waste everybody's time.

Benny


Today's Schedule

So, its the day of John Corss's disciplinary hearing.

The schedule today looks set to be as follows:

1230 – Demonstrate outside Union North to protest about this disciplinary action.

1430 – Hearing begins.

Later – John found guilty by panel.

Tommorow's schedule includes

Before 1600 – John lodges appeal against guilty verdict.

1900 – Union Council meeting in S0.21 to give the disciplinary regulations a vote of no confidence – all welcome.


May 03, 2005

Public Meeting Today

Don't miss the public meeting on Union Censorship that is being held today at 6.15pm in R1.13.

It will be a great chance to discuss freedom of speach in our Union, in relation to the disciplinary regulations, the media codes of conduct, and the staff-student protocol.

All are welcome.


April 29, 2005

More on the charges

Follow-up to But what are the charges? from Benny Blog

We are still waiting for a list of charges in the John Cross disciplinary case.

The Union seems to be somewhat confused as to what charges actually are. A report from the Investigating Officer does not constitute charges. The Investigating Officer's report is supposed to detail the facts relating to the case. (On this occasion there is a severe lack of facts in the report, but never mind). It does not actually list charges, in fact the charges are supposed to be decided based on the facts (although it may be that this doesn't happen that often these days).

It is really important that John receives a list of charges which specify exactly which rules it is alleged he has broken, so that he can prepare his defence properly. To fail to provide a list of charges would be very unfair.

Anyway onto the question of whether it is possible that John could have opened the Union upto legal action from its own staff.

The answer to this is a categorical "no".

In general terms the action of an individual cannot open an organisation to legal action. For example if a fight breaks out at a Union event, the only people liable are those who caused the fight, unless it can be shown that the Union was negligent for failing to provide proper security measures etc.

Similarly if someone makes a slanderous statement at a meeting it is generally the person making the statment who is liable not the organisers of the meeting. (Of course no slanderous statement was made on this occasion, the point is if there had been, it would be John, not the Union, who would be liable).

Now there is another issue that could be relevant, the staff-student protocol. Now this is a contractual document between staff and the board of directors, which sets out the relationship between students and staff. It is true that if the Union breaks this protocol it would be a breach of staff contracts and the Union could face legal action.

But lets consider the relevant section:

17. Elected officers of the Students’ Union share a collective and individual responsibility to ensure that under no circumstances shall discussion take place of matters relating to the responsibilities; conditions of employment; performance or conduct of members of staff other than at a meeting of the Board of Directors.

Note that it is elected officers who hold the responsibility. John is not and was not an elected officer. Therefore if there had been a breach of the staff-student protocol, then the people who have opened the Union up to legal action are those officers who failed to take any action to take the protocol being breached. Not one sabbatical attempted to raise any objection to what John was saying at the meeting or did anything at all to stop what was being said.

Of course, the fact that there was no mention of staff or discussion about them at all is another trifling issue that no one seems to be too bothered about.

So we now have a situation where someone is being disciplined for a circumstance, which, had it occured, would have been the fault of officers, such as the sabbaticals on the disciplinery panel.

But don't worry, we can be sure that the question of conflict of interest will be considered carefully. In response to John's objections to Gareth Barker being on the disciplinary panel, Gareth replied,

I have consulted with both the President and, in the spirit of fairness, the Deputy President about your concerns with my Chairmanship of the panel. Both concurred that I should remain as Chair.

So a person with a conflict of interest has consulted with a person with a conflict of interest, and, to make it just that bit more fair, another person with a conflict of interest, and found that there was no conflict of interest.

Now that's what I call fair!

No doubt I'll be adding more in due course.

Benny


April 27, 2005

But what are the charges?

Writing about web page http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/johncross/entry/union_disciplinary/

I have to say I still completely baffled by the misapropriation of logic that appears to have occured in relation to the John Cross disciplinary case.

If I were to point out every logical inacuracy in the Union's position in one entry I would be here all night, so I've decided to split it up into bite-sized chunks to make it easier for you to digest.

Today's installment is on the subject of the actual charges. The notification letter of a disciplinary is supposed to say what the alleged offence is, but all that John has received so far is an outline of the substance of the complaint made against him. Now summarising a complaint that has been made is no substitute for a statement of what the charges are, John is entitled to be told which of the 12 grounds for disciplinary action the hearing has been called under.

I now turn to the logical problems in the summary of the complaint.

This states,
"you have therefore exposed the Union to the possibility of legal action from both its own staff and a private company."

I can only assume from the investigating officern's report that the private company referred to is the Union's Auditor's, Baker Tilley, as the investigating officer claimed that John's vote against the accounts
"extends his allegation of fraud and corruption to a forth party: The Union’s auditors, Baker Tilley"

Lets us consider whether it is plausable that John's comments or vote could have anything at all to do with Baker Tilley.

John's comments were about the Union's accounts for the 2004–05 academic year. These accounts have not yet been audited by Baker Tilley. Therefore the comments John made have nothing to do with Baker Tilley whatsoever.

Could John's vote against the accounts have had anything to do with Baker Tilley? It is true that he voted against accounts that they have audited "as a protest". But he wasn't the only one. A significant number of other members cast their votes against these accounts. I voted against the NUS accounts at Conference this year and voted against the Union's accounts last year, infact it is perfectly normal for members to vote to reject the accounts if they wish to do so. Can a vote be an allegation of fraud? No of course not.

I certainly hope that it may prove possible to get some clarification from Baker Tilley before the hearing as to whether they view commenting on unaudited accounts to be an accusation of fraud against the auditors, or indeed what action they feel should be taken against all those members who dared to vote to reject the Union's accounts.

I am amazed that a Sabbatical Officer could make such a patently absurd claim.

In my next entry I'll be dealing with the subject of whether John could have opened the Union up to legal action from its own staff.

Benny


April 26, 2005

My Resignation

I have resigned as Chair of Union Council with effect from midnight tonight.

The text of my resignation letter is as follows:

Mr S. Lucas
President
University of Warwick Students’ Union
COVENTRY
CV4 7AL

26th April 2005

Dear Simon,

I am writing to inform you that I am resigning from the position of Chair of Union Council with effect from Midnight tonight. I have taken the decision to resign as I have been informed today that a member of the Union is being taken to a Union disciplinary as a result of comments that he made at a Union meeting, despite the fact that there is no evidence that any rules were broken.

I wish to stress that I am resigning on this issue and on this issue alone. This has been a good year. You have managed to revitalise interest in Union democracy by your visionary attitude that has silenced the doubters. At this time last year no one could have imagined that we were going to have two quorate General Meetings, two quorate referenda periods, and a brand new Constitution, putting to rest the myth that students are not interested in Union democracy. You can be truly proud of what you have done, and I know you have done a lot of other good things for the Union that I have not mentioned here.

However I find that my position as Chair is now untenable, as a member is being sent to disciplinary for making a speech at a Union meeting, despite the fact that no evidence has been produced that he did anything wrong. I have reviewed what happened at the Annual General Meeting, and I am convinced that the member involved did not break the Constitution, its Appendices, the Regulations or the Staff Student Protocol. Indeed he is yet to be told what section of any of these documents he may have broken.

You have also sent the member involved what is a frankly bizarre email making quite ludicrous claims about his conduct. You use anonymous questions against him, despite the fact that I have at no time told you who asked those questions. I find it unacceptable that you should be suggesting that you know who asked anonymous questions, as there is no way that you can know this.

You also claim that the member’s vote constitutes an allegation of fraud. Whether or not to approve the accounts is a decision for the Annual General Meeting to take; this is set out in the Constitution. It is totally unacceptable to suggest that a vote against the accounts is an allegation of fraud, how could it be?

You also claim that the member has opened the Union to legal action from the Union’s Auditors. Considering that the member made comments about the 2004–05 finances, which have not yet been audited, the suggestion that the comments that were made have anything to do with the Union’s Auditors is palpably absurd. The fact that at the Annual General Meeting there was also a debate about whether the Auditors should be reappointed makes your point doubly absurd.

You claim that the member made an allegation of fraud and corruption against the Union’s Finance Manager and his team. Not only is there no evidence that there was an allegation of fraud and corruption, the member did not say anything at all about any members of staff. It is ultimately the responsibility of the Finance and Internal Affairs Officer and the rest of the Executive Committee to ensure that the correct amount of money is in each account, and it is quite proper that members are able to fulfil their constitutional and legal right to scrutinise the accounts, provided they in no way refer to any members of staff.

So you have failed to produce any evidence at all that any Union rules have been broken, indeed unless you have a large stack of evidence that you have not yet disclosed to the member involved it would appear that there is no prima facia case against the individual at all.

I am committed to ensuring free speech within the Union, provided that those speaking stay within the rules of the Union. As I am no longer able to do this I feel that I have not option other than to resign.

“This Union is directed by its members and aims to enhance the experience of students whilst at the University of Warwick.”

We have failed in this mission today.

Yours sincerely,

Benny Spooner
Chair of Union Council


March 27, 2005

Vote twice on May 5th

Writing about web page http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk

No this isn't an entry encoraging you to commit fraud…

Infact if you live in two different places (as many students do), you may be able to vote twice in Local elections, if your two addresses are in two different Council areas.

For example if your home address is in Staffordshire and you live in Warwickshire whist at Uni you can vote in both elections on May 5th, povided you are on both electoral registers.

Of course it may be inconvienient for you to be in two places at once, you you may want to apply for a postal vote for your home address at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk

Local elections are being held for County Councils only, so they may not be being held where you live. They are being held in Warwickshire (Leamington, Kenilworth, plus Hurst, Cryfield, Redfern, Lakeside, Heronbank, and any other residences on that side of Gibbet Hill Road). There are no local elections in Coventry and the rest of campus this time.

In the event of a general election you are only allowed to vote once, regardless of how many times you are registered (although it is up to you where to vote).

Benny


March 05, 2005

Provisional Referenda Results

These have now been placed on the elections group notice board. The provisional results for the Elections and Co-options held at Union Council this week are up there as well.

All motions reached the quorum of 1417.

The provisional referenda results are as follows:

Motion 1 – Limiting Devolved Department Discussions

For 965
Against 267
Abstain 221

Motion Carried

Motion 2 – Allowing Stances on all International Issues

For 777
Against 503
Abstain 172

Motion Carried

Motion 3 – No Stance on Emotive International Issues

For 742
Against 542
Abstain 154

Motion Carried

Motion 4 – Abortion: The Right to Choose

For 995
Against 341
Abstain 149

Motion Carried

Motion 5 – Paper Voting Option

For 676
Against 561
Abstain 187

Motion Carried

Motion 6 – Sabbatical Expenses

For 1058
Against 243
Abstain 127

Motion Carried

The complaints deadline is 12 noon Wednesday and requests for recounts must be made by 5 pm Tuesday.

Assuming that the results to motions 2 and 3 stand, they will both lapse immediately and none of the resolves of these policies will take effect.

The constitutional change in motion 5 is subject to approval by the University Council.


March 04, 2005

EU citizens should register to vote

Writing about web page http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk

If you are a EU citizen resident in the UK you are entitled to vote in UK Local and European elections. Irish and Maltese Citizens are also entitled to vote in Parlimentary elections.

If you are not registered to vote, you should download a form and return it to your electoral registration officer by March 11th to vote in the elections being held on May 5th (if you live on campus, the university should have registered you already).

The EU countries are as follows:
Austria
Belgium
Cyprus (part)
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Ireland
Italy
Malta
Netherlands
Poland
Portugal
Slovak Republic
Slovenia
Sweeden
Spain
United Kingdom


Commonwealth citizens should register to vote

Writing about web page http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk

If you are a commonwealth citizen resident in the UK you are entitled to vote in UK elections. This was initally provided for by the Representation of the People Act 1918.

If you are not registered to vote, you should download a form and return it to your electoral registration officer by March 11th to vote in the elections being held on May 5th (if you live on campus, the university should have registered you already).

The commonwealth countries are as follows:

Antigua and Barbuda
Australia
The Bahamas
Bangladesh
Barbados
Belize
Botswana
Brunei Darussalam
Cameroon
Canada
Cyprus
Dominica
Fiji Islands
The Gambia
Ghana
Grenada
Guyana
India
Jamaica
Kenya
Kiribati
Lesotho
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Malta
Mauritius
Mozambique
Namibia
Nauru
New Zealand
Nigeria
Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
St Kitts & Nevis
St Lucia
St Vincent & The Grenadines
Samoa
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Solomon Islands
South Africa
Sri Lanka
Swaziland
United Republic of Tanzania
Tonga
Trinidad & Tobago
Tuvalu
Uganda
United Kingdom
Vanuatu
Zambia
Zimbabwe


March 03, 2005

Quorum

The Quorum for the Referenda is 1417.

In addition, motions will also be quorate if 945 votes are cast for, or 945 votes are cast against.


February 21, 2005

Motions now online

Final referenda motions now online:

link


February 20, 2005

Final Referenda Notice

SPRING REFERENDA 2005

The final motions submitted to referenda are as follows:

1.Limiting Devolved Department Negotiations
2.Allowing Stances on all International Issues
3.No Stance on Emotive International Issues
4.Abortion: The Right to Choose
5.Paper Voting Option
6.Publishing Sabbatical Expenses

The full text of all final motions is displayed on the Union North Link Corridor.

To join a Campaigning Group for or against any of these motions, please register at the Democratic Services Office, Level 1 Union North, and submit a deposit cheque of £20.

Polling Opens: 9 am Tuesday 1st March 2005
Polling Closes: 9 pm Friday 4th March 2005