Mike Anderson is a former Guild Councillor, serving as Access Co-Officer in the 106th and 107th Guild Councils. He is an independent and does not belong to any of the Guild Tickets.
Your 108th Guild Council met in January for the third meeting of their term.
This month’s council was relatively brief, running for just 44 minutes. This stands in stark contrast to previous years’ councils that ran multiple hours. Is this a sign of things to come? The brevity of this council may well be down to the changed format of NUS’s National Conference which, in the past, has been the major focus of January Council meetings. Or, it could be reflective of a relatively calm month with all factions largely agreeing on the direction of the Guild.
The meeting started with an acknowledgement of country by Chair of Guild Council Bre Shanahan. This was followed by Bre informing the Council of the passing of Gina Evangelista, UWA’s Manager of Student Wellbeing, and noted the impact Gina had on student life at UWA, expressing the Guild’s condolences to Gina’s family.
Prosh Directors Curtis White and Charlie Frankpitt introduced themselves to Council. They asked Council to invite their friends to join in on PROSH and to be EFTPOS Marshalls on the day (people who are responsible for marshalling a group and carrying an EFTPOS machine). Emma Mezger (jokingly) informed Council that being an EFTPOS Marshall was now mandatory for them. I encourage readers to help out with PROSH, which is in their 90th year of spreading humour and raising money for charity.
Reports are generally submitted in written form prior to council, and thus are usually just submitted “as tabled”, however some councillors will state their report “as read” to provide additional information on their report. All reports were submitted as tabled, bar Access which noted their continued work with UniAccess to help communicate their and Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to students.
Interestingly, no questions were asked of any councillor’s report. Generally, council will ask one or two questions, whether as a means of gleaning further details or to have a “gotcha” moment against a factional rival. The lack of questions seemingly came as a surprise to Chair, Bre Shanahan, who had issued a reminder to Council that questions must be relevant to the report they are asked of.
Staff reports come from the Directors of each division of the Guild and the Managing Director. Managing Director Tony Goodman drew attention to a number of items in his report; notably, the progress towards O-Day and the work the Guild Staff are doing, the overhaul of Student Leadership Training for club executives to hopefully cover new subjects such as insurance, sponsorship and contracts, and constitution writing. Tony also noted the yearly audit of the Guild’s account was underway and that the Guild will be selling merchandise in the newly moved Guild Student Centre (GSC) and Volunteering space.
Associate Director (Commercial) Jack Spagnuolo informed Council that the ongoing works on guild level two should be completed soon and that Pelican, Women’s, and the International Students’ Department (ISD) should be moving into new rooms there soon. Jack also advised Council that a contract had been signed with Scouts for a Container Return Scheme.
Motions, being generally uncontroversial, went fairly quickly with most being appointments and regulations. As all motions were moved with little to no debate or questions (because Council didn’t want to, don’t worry no gagging of debate) I’ll only briefly cover these in general groupings.
Two motions were moved to appoint people to positions within the Guild. Medaavi Gopaul and Erin Miller were appointed as Relay for Life UWA Co-Chairs. Max Tran and Brook Lewis were appointed as Ordinary Committee Members (OCMs) on the Tenancy Committee.
Three Working Groups were created: the Special Consideration Working Group, Assessments Working Group, and the Sponsorship Working Group. The Assessments Working Group is going to be tackling a major stressor that students have identified – that being exams – with the intent to improve student wellbeing. The Sponsorship Working Group is a continuation of the work of the 107th Guild’s Sponsorship Working Group, overseeing the recommendations that were accepted by last years Guild Council. Working Groups are pretty standard year to year; they usually give an indication of what Council is looking to tackle that year or have earmarked as a priority that needs addressing.
Two motions addressing the concerns of international students and travel restrictions were passed by the Council. Both moved by ISD President Abdul Rahman. The first, encouraging students to sign the petition being circulated to allow exemptions to the travel ban for international students returning to study. A minor friendly amendment was put by Guild President Emma Mezger changing the wording of the final clause from “endeavours to continue its advocacy to bring international students back on campus and onshore” to include “in a safe an ethical manner” at the end.
The second motion addressed the lack of online availability of some units for students studying abroad, some being unable to take the units they are required to. The motion called for more units to be made available online and/or for suitable study plans be made available to international students. Emma put forward another friendly amendment to reflect the fact that some units cannot be made available due to professional accreditation requirements necessitating in person study. Both motions passed with no votes against. Jacob Cerin abstained on the first motion addressing the Travel Ban.
Finally, the Council adopted new rules for the Lyn Beazley institute, bringing them in line with the current rule template and introducing a selection process where there wasn’t one before.
A pretty quick council all things considered. No debate or questions were raised and all but one motion passed unanimously (and even that one was just an abstention). It will be interesting to see if all councils this year will be this efficient, or if this simply the calm before the storm.
Words by Mike Anderson