What Happened at Council? – 1st February

The latest Council meeting kicked off with an introduction to our new chair and the news that the Part-Time Students’ Officer had resigned from their role. The VP Academic let Council know that the motions from the last Council meeting had been approved by the board, and that importantly, the GSA has now officially declared a climate emergency! The GSA President provided an update on an amazing win – she secured 50 free places for postgraduate students on the Languages For All programme this term, with 70 more to come next term.

The first motion brought to Council was a motion that would mandate the GSA to usualise the use of pronouns – meaning that in any GSA meeting, forum, or event, GSA officers and staff should provide their pronouns along with their name. Suggestions were made about what format this could take – for example, pronouns can be inserted into your name on zoom. An amendment was made to the motion which makes it clear that some people do not use any pronouns at all and wish only to be referred to by name. With this amendment, the motion passed.

The second motion sought to mandate the GSA to provide captions, subtitles, and image descriptions on all GSA media. This adjustment would make accessing video content easier for people, and image descriptions on photo content ensure that anyone using a screen reader can also engage. Though Council cannot mandate the GSA on financial matters and the commitment to financial investment in technology was removed from the motion, the amended motion passed.

The third motion introduced asked that the GSA commit to celebrating religious and faith holidays through events, email updates, and web pages. In order to decide which holidays in particular should be celebrated, Council suggested an amendment to the motion which detailed how students would be polled on their preference of celebration. The motion passed.

The fourth and final motion of the evening was an update to the Principal Officer Team By-laws, proposed by the officer team. The VP Academic explained how each officer had gone through their own by-law and suggested updates and changes to increase the accuracy of the policy. The motion passed after clarification and the by-laws were updated.

Please do come along to the next Council meeting and get involved in the decision-making process – or feel free to follow along on our twitter where the events will be live-tweeted!

15th February 2021