Parking and student trustee motions fail at first General Meeting of the semester

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The first Union General Meeting of the semester saw A3 lecture theatre packed to the brim, as students voted on a number of contentious issues.

Chair of the Labour society Daniel Deery took to the floor in an attempt to enforce a motion which would see the Student Trustees elected directly via a campus-wide ballot, like the sabbatical officers, who also sit on the board of trustees.

He said: “I think it is incredibly important that students have the final say, and we elect every member.

“We need to make sure students are heard at this university.”

Speaking against the motion, Jorge Molinero said: “The student trustees are not currently elected like they were in the past, because they do not vote for ideology. This is not an issue of democracy but one of competence.”

And Finlay Allmond, who is a student trustee himself, said: “We already have elected students on the trustee board, in shape of the sabbatical officers. The others are appointed by the university executives after an application process.”

The motion marginally failed to pass, according to a Union spokesperson.

The exact figures from all the votes apart from the parking motion were unable to be disclosed by the Students’ Union after the meeting, due to a technical issue with the electronic voting method.

As results were read out, exact numbers of votes were not revealed but instead, the audience were just told whether each motion had passed or failed.

Laura Firth tabled a motion which would see students awarded parking permits on a means-tested basis, with those living farther away to get priority.

She also highlighted that it would make Stirling more environmentally friendly as a whole if more people were walking or cycling to university, instead of driving.

However, the motion was opposed by a number of students in the audience.

Chloe Whyte addressed the issue that “public transport in Stirling is shocking and unreliable.”

Meanwhile, former NUS delegate Lily Climie believed that there were too many problems with the motion, saying: “People might have accessibility issues that they don’t want to disclose.”

Credit: Stirling Students’ Union

And a student, who is also a parent, voiced his concerns that the motion would make it more difficult for him to drive into university.

Another student spoke in favour of the motion, referring to other universities like Strathclyde who have introduced similar protocol.

Despite Laura defending her motion for around ten minutes, it was voted down by 77 votes to 44.

VP Education Amy Smith’s motion for the Union to declare a climate emergency was passed by a landslide, with only six students voting against the motion.

She said: “We are in a global state of climate emergency. We must act to prevent further loss of biodiversity and cut climate emissions.”

The vote comes as earlier today, Stirling Council also declared a climate emergency after campaigning from local groups including Stirling Extinction Rebellion.

The motion will allow the Union to support striking students and staff; the sabbatical officers will also campaign for the university to set an ambitious target for net-zero emissions.

And Housing Officer Cian Ireland’s motion to strengthen the position to elect the university’s NUS delegates by a campus-wide ballot also passed convincingly.

He said that the Union’s previous decision to get already elected officers with other remits to take on the role was “undemocratic and unconstitutional.”

He also praised the Union’s decision to reverse this.

Lay members for the Community Zone Executive Committee (CZEC) were also elected.

Alongside the VP Communities and some of the part-time elected officers, CZEC help to pass constitutions and approve grants to clubs and societies.

Those elected included former Union President hopeful Charlene Gregaitis-Schickler, the debating society president Euan Stainbank and the Uniboob team’s president, Emily Hencher.

And the three positions for the elections committee were filled, with the candidates running unopposed and being automatically appointed.

Featured image credit: Stirling Students’ Union (Instagram)

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Fourth-year BA (Hons) Journalism Studies student.
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