A meeting of the JCR Committee was held on the 1st of February 2014.
Those present were:
- Ellen Judson (JCR President)
- Kerry Corley (Vice President)
- Zephyr Penoyre (Secretary)
- Alissa Lamb, Megan McPherson (Access Officers)
- Joseph Chroston-Bell (Green Officer)
- Hux Norman, Lizzie Gaunt (Ents Presidents)
- Sunny Honda (First Year Rep)
- Christian von Drehle (Treasurer)
- Oliver Lane (Web and Publicity Officer)
- Solene Fercocq (International)
- Nick Harvey, Georgia Ware (Welfare officers),
- Niki Wood (Disabilities Officer)
- Gareth Mattey (LGBT Officer).
- Anna Dobson (First Year Rep)
Should welfare sub-committee be part of JCR committee – Niki recognized problem of “having too many people around the table”, and that it makes sense to have them as a separate committee with specific members present when the issues at hand are relevant to them. Gareth pointed out that the LGBT role has shifted off JCR committee, and would like a clear definition of his role.
Welfare committee praised for their involvement in freshers week. Having clear definitions clarify the scope of their role. Perhaps send one member of the sub-committee to each meeting.
Nick pointed out that being a separate sub-committee encourages a more focused approach to welfare. Solene says that she would support international reps being migrated to welfare subcommittee. Most international officers sit on the JCR in other colleges, allowing them to be very aware of college wide affairs. Perhaps international could be on both committees. Could open up meetings to all who feel compelled to attend. Important to send minutes to welfare committee as well. Question was raised of linking access with welfare.
Conclusions: Welfare to remain separate committee, international rep will come to every JCR meeting but also be part of welfare committee. A welfare sub-comittee mailing list should be created. Meeting agendas and minutes will be sent to this list as well. JCR meetings open to subcommittee members, and at least one should come (as well as international rep). Sub-committee roles need to be clearly defined.
Freps: do we have too many? General support for current number of freps.
Pairs: do we think applications should be allowed in pairs? Problem is that often becomes one person doing the job. Also they may have a competitive edge in elections. With welfare sub-comittee should be enough help for a single person running as Access officer.
Questions raised about whether the LGBT is properly represented by one person. Gareth believes single LGBT rep is sufficient as long as they know who to refer people to. Solene advised it would be a good idea to invite LGBT CUSU reps to LGBTea in fresher’s week.
Libraries: Changing magazine subscriptions (less MML focus, more general news and opinion). Tablets are to be allowed in reading room on a trial period, as long as they can be used silently. A plea was made to encourage JCR members not to eat or chat in the library, including the staircases and lobby area.
Education policy: Similar offers made to last year. Boy girl split skewed to boys, generally due to boys for maths based subjects. Huge increase in phys nat sci and engineering applicants. From 470 last year to 622. 65% on state private split, comes down a little with making offers but well above universities 63% target.
DoS survey sent out, will talk with Clare Jackson at lunch next week. Generally people like to have the same DoS, but as people specialise getting a DoS in their subject is often useful. Individual DoS’s helpfulness is known to vary. Possibly should look to outsource DoS if not one in college for a particular subject.
IT: If you live in BBC or Boho you can get uni card to open doors, please encourage people to do it by asking the porters. Wifi will hopefully be updated across college sites over the next year. Printers survey has gone out. People generally said that we’d like to keep what we had now (50%), 30% want change. Centralized system appeals but there are flaws in the current proposed system.
Gender Balance meeting: Mostly learning experience. They want us to formulate a survey to test people’s views across college, and to ensure we get a large response.
CUSU conference: Questions raised over if university is using access for right reasons, or recruitment of the most able students. Cost of living is too currently very high and they seek to address this. Caius in turmoil, leading to a trend in rent increase. No student representation in bursars committees, CUSU recommends pushing college on what they’re spending money on. Need to update Trinity Hall pricing database.
Kerry recommends the program for anyone if they get the chance to go next year.
Rent agreements: We recapped current situation, see open meeting minutes for info. MML situation (where they choose rooms for this year without knowing this) they should pay the old price, questions raised about rent period. Plan to give MML students the rent length choice when everyone else is balloting.
Question raised about whether 4th years should be part of MCR/ JCR or both. Current consensus is if you can have graduated, then you are in the MCR, regardless of whether or not you are still here. MCR are in agreement. MCR/JCR rep to be added to our mailing lists to encourage contact.
Dean house will act as a place where people who need to come back early are put. E, F, K and L of new build are now to be 30 week rent only.
Questions raised over quality of dean house for this purpose. Potentially one floor of BoHo would serve this purpose better.
For reference, 30 week rents now called term time (30 week), 35 weeks now called Easter, and will not cover Christmas (33.5 weeks in total) and 40 week redubbed full holidays (37.5 weeks in total). 20% reduction on holiday rents confirmed.
Need to check what the over-summer arrangement will be. Dean house currently works well for summer accommodation.
Subletting needs to be properly policed. Need to find a list of people who may be willing to offer rooms and JCR vice-president with help will orchestrate.
Need to check prices of summer residency.
Scholars benefit: Current benefit is scholars get free vacation residency, 200 quid, 75 quid book tokens and some meals.
- No scholars benefit.
- Raise lump sum.
- Cheap weeks of accommodation.
- Free weeks of accommodation.
JCR definitely support scholars benefit. Some question whether it can feel disadvantageous to those who are not scholars, especially if it’s a financial gain.
Niki says that scholars benefit is a big incentive. Megan raises the point that now some people will be forced to pay for rent while others do not.
Suggested roof of 300 pound lump sum. Want to first see what college offers.
Talks to be had with Clare Jackson about the scholars benefit, taking account of the fact that by taking it away they’re saving 800 pounds or so per student. Think of other ways to advantage people with scholars benefit possibly.
Benn Bursary: Application process difficult. Question raised of people whose parents have high income but they themselves don’t. Would be more beneficial to have face to face interviews, considering individual circumstance. Could be presented as an option of doing interview or means test. Tutorial office is recovering from staff leaving and should be much improved next year. Perhaps someone could draft a list of which bursaries are on offer, and to whom. Currently many bursaries are only accessible by applying to the Benn bursary.
IT department are updating the information available online about which bursaries exist and how to apply. Updating the system will go hand in hand with tutor reforms; tutors must understand bursaries in detail. Face to face interviews should be presented to college as an option.
Red book: Plan to have a summarized version accessible alongside the official book. Should improve the indexing and ease of finding specific information. Should separate student information and college rules. Do not want to give impression that our abridged version is definitive.
JCR website: Oli has been updating a lot of information on the website and would like each committee member to have a look at your specific section to check the information.
The room database is very out of date. Renovated staircases are particularly a problem. Could have rooms categorized and describe one of each type carefully. Would like the floorplans to be accessible online.
Oli Lane got a round of applause. Zephyr will look for some exemplar database entries and make an example room profile.
Tutors: CUSU survey shows that tutors need to be trained is a generally held opinion. Currently welfare reps have a 4 hour CUSU training, a similar one would be a possibility for tutors. Currently they have no training in dealing with disabilities, mental or physical health (although we question whether they need extensive sexual health training). The first priority is to ensure tutors know who to refer students to. Currently can go to other tutors, and the possibility of tutor specialization was suggested, if other tutors are more clued up on certain things. Issues with this is include that some may have a heavier workload than others and ideally we want to promote strong student tutor relations.
Committee all in agreement that we like the current form of the tutor system, but do strongly believe that they lack the training to be properly effective.
We will attempt to make it more obvious that changing tutor is possible and easy.
General system: Need welfare statement from college. Questions to be raised over whether tutors have support and if they need confidentiality agreement.
JCR UPDATES AND AMBITIONS
- President – Sort out welfare, tutorial system, clarify the red book and access to funding.
- Vice president – Setting up balloting, repeating open weekend and fixing room database
- Ents – Viva less often, otherwise similar to previous years, will fill Saturday slots with other things
- Freps – College weddings done, considering doing some other events before end of year.
- Access – Shadowing scheme going well, alternative prospectus has fully formed draft, looking for a design company to tie it all together
- Treasury – We have money, going to focus on making transition easier for new treasurer. Glen Sharp will also be signed on to accounts just in case.
- Secretary – We will very soon have magazines in JCR, hope to set up a charging station in the library in the next few weeks.
- Welfare – Will work to convince college they want trained confidential tutors. Work on smooth handover to new team.
- Website – Get everything as accurate and clear as possible
- International – Currently arranging regular events for the international students, and plan to make a facebook group
- Green and Ethics- Has ascertained that most food is fairtrade and sourced reliably. Mixed recycling now in central site. RAG events going well.
This meeting of the JCR Committee for Lent Term 2014 ended at 18.55 on the 1st February 2014.
Zephyr Penoyre (jp576)