2015-02-28

28/2/2015

A JCR meeting was held on the 28th of February in Seminar Rooms 2 & 3.

Attendance:

Those present were:

  • –  James Troup – President, JT hereafter
  • –  Dale Walmsley – Vice-President, DW hereafter
  • –  Charlie O’Neill – Treasurer, CON hereafter
  • –  Veer Goiporia – Secretary, VG hereafter
  • –  Jacob Sen – Male Welfare, JS hereafter
  • –  Lucy Mackie – Female Welfare, LM hereafter
  • –  Mary Schafer – Access, MS hereafter
  • –  Lea Benk – Green and Ethics, LB hereafter
  • –  Bruce Collie – Webmaster, BC hereafter
  • –  Alice Brownlow – Special Considerations, AB hereafter
  • –  Sam P-s – LGBT+ Officer, SPS hereafter
  • –  Audrey Sebatindira – Black & Ethnic Minorities, AS hereafter
  • –  Sebastian Mellab – International Rep, SM hereafter
  • –  Kate Jones – Ents, KJ hereafter
  • –  Martin Dunne – Ents, MD hereafter
  • –  Jennie Towler – Frep, JeT hereafter
  • –  Catriona Ashley Miller – Frep, CAM hereafter
  • –  Charlotte Attwood – MCR Rep, CA hereafter

    Apologies from Dominic O’Neill (Frep) and Lily Rosengard (Women’s Officer).

    Contents

  1. JCR/ MCR Membership
  2. Room Balloting
  3. CUSU Elections
  4. Welfare
  5. Committee Members’ aims for the coming year
  6. A.O.B.

1. JCR/ MCR Membership:

  • Ellen Judson (Previous President): Last lent, had to decide whether 4th years were members of the JCR or MCR. Decided JCR to avoid the college fee. However 4th years would like to be in both, but the MCR had difficulties passing a vote.
  • 4th years mostly upset about the way the issue had been handled, and would like to be affiliates of the MCR (i.e. allowed to use the common room and attend certain events)
  • A Position Paper, with the wishes of the JCR and MCR for a vote, has been submitted to the college. Both MCR and JCR president support a vote before the decision is made.
  • A meeting has been scheduled between the presidents and the college for the 10th of March in the hopes of resolving the problem.
  • It was noted that if a part of the MCR, students would get greatly subsidized halls for a fee of £60.00 a year. This would be good for those who support the vote, but perhaps not for those who do not.
  • It was pointed out that the Graduate Tutor might not want a vote, due to the fact that the JCR and MCR were not able to reach a consensus earlier. Whilst they agree now, the Graduate Tutor still does not support the vote. It was also noted that the college might lean towards 4th Year students staying in the JCR.
  • It was decided that a decision would be made after the meeting with the college, and that co-operation between the JCR and MCR would be a priority.

    2. Room Ballot:

    • In anticipation for the impending Room Ballot, some discussion went into the organization of the event.
    • It was stated that the ballot would take place in the beginning of Week 9 in F Staircase. It’s there that people will be allowed to pick their rooms at the same time as their ballot groups. However it was emphasized that people would not be required to pick rooms that were in the same place as their ballot group. The ballot system only means that allocation of rooms happens in groups.
    • DW suggest creating a Doodle Poll for JCR members to choose shifts, as it was important that the Balloting station was manned at all times. JT decided that there should be about 3 members of the JCR in the room at all times so as to avoid chaos when groups of people arrived at the same time. This was met with agreement.
    • It was also decided that, whilst accommodations could be made for people that had legitimate reasons, it was not practical to allow them without bounds. Therefore a tentative two-day grace period was agreed upon to swap rooms or change the license period. It was only to be allowed, however in the case of an acceptable reason.
    • Sadly, it was said that JCR members did not get priority in the balloting system.
    • SM asked whether it would be possible to get an online system in place, because the physical ballot stations made logistics harder. Webmaster BC agreed that that might be a possibility for the future, but that it was not feasible for this year as it would be difficult to implement in such a short space of time.
    • The issue of ‘Year Abroad’ students and balloting was bought up. It was decided that they should be allowed to ballot together as well, but this still needs to be finalized.
  • It was pointed out that fewer messes would be made if the room allocations were beyond people’s control, like in the first year and that it would maintain fairness. JS asked why the college didn’t handle the whole affair. JT pointed out that other colleges had systems like the above in place and they were disasters:

    o Some colleges had fixed prices regardless of the rooms o Some colleges did not allow students to choose rooms

    resulting in upset students.

  • JS brought up the point of License periods and how they were still

    not full explained by the college.

o Currently the college has three different options for

licensing: 30, 35 or 40 weeks. The 30 weeks are for the three terms, the 35 weeks includes the Spring Break and the 40 week license includes both Winter and Spring Breaks.

o It was decided that as before, that swapping licenses would be a worst case scenario, and that people were strongly encouraged to have a good idea of the kind of license they want before the balloting day. This must especially be considered, as subletting rooms would not be allowed after this Easter.

3. CUSU Elections:

  • A quick note was made on the Cambridge University Student Union elections, in which students from both the MCR and JCR would be able to vote many different candidates from a range of positions.
  • It was noted that the online portion of the vote would occur on Monday the 2nd of March. This was where all students would be able to vote on the official CUSU election website.
  • It was also noted that there would be a physical place to vote on Wednesday the 4th of March. This would be at the Porter’s Lodge on Central Site and would be open to members of the college from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Shifts would be organized by DW at a later point, with at least two members of the JCR present at the booth at all times. Everyone is strongly encouraged to vote.

    4. Welfare

  • The ‘Big Welfare Tea’ was briefly mentioned. It will take place on Sunday the 1st of March. It was promised to be an event of special magnificence.
  • JS enquired on the possibility of multiple weekly Welfare Teas on the various different accommodation sites. It was agreed upon that some people find it difficult and inconvenient to come to central site for the event. JS recognized the logistical challenges with hosting multiple teas and hence has decided to focus on bringing the teas to the Wychfield site before the BBC site was considered.
  • JS also offered up the idea of a Welfare Pigeon hole instead of a locker, as it would allow people more anonymity when going to pick up things from the welfare Locker. It was noted that the position of the Welfare Locker was not ideal towards this end. It was decided that an enquiry would be made of the possibility of Welfare Pigeon holes in Wychfield and Central Site.
  • The topic then changed to talk of a Welfare Committee, which would comprise all the welfare officers. It was agreed that they would have separate meetings with a more welfare-oriented agenda. This would start in the Easter term 2015.

    5. Aims

  • BC: Room database updates are a priority and must be changed within the course of a year. The old system is not very useful and is incomplete. The update hopes to put floor-plans in along with more information on each room, possibly including prices of each room.
  • AB: The hope is that mental healthcare is addressed as early on as possible, Fresher’s Week being preferable. This would ensure that students always had an accurate idea of what mental well-being is and the kinds of support systems that are in place for them.
  • JS: On the previous point of mental health issues, an open platform should be created where people can openly discuss these topics freely. As before the support systems should be clearly explained to students as early as possible.
  • CON: Transparency for college bills and bursaries is a priority this year for the JCR. It is important that students know what they are paying, and what they might be entitled to. It was noted that more people are eligible for the Benn Bursary than those that apply.
  • LB: An important aim for the college is to reduce on its food waste. One important way to do this would be to give away the left over food at the end of the day to charity. There is a health and safety consideration when waste food is concerned, and the added work that would go into the implementation of this. There is also the notion that the plastic cups in hall are not environmentally friendly, reusable ones might be a solution.
  • LM: It was thought that the college should relook how they deal with mental health issues. The idea of an anonymous submission box from friends of people who have had ‘bad weeks’ was considered. This would mean that even if people did not seek help, they could be assisted anonymously.
  • ENTS (KJ & MD): A suggestion of possible university wide events was made, but given past circumstances, it was understood that these might not be possible. The idea of fewer Vivas was considered, with open-mic nights and film showings happening more frequently instead. This was thought to be more popular during the Easter term when exams were on. A possibility of a garden party in the Fellows garden was also considered.
  • DW: A short weekly update on the doings of the JCR was proposed, just so that people were kept up to date on general information. It was also brought to the attention of the JCR that most people don’t know the procedure for switching Tripos subjects. Whilst this is not encouraged, it is necessary in some cases and an easy explanation is required. It is also important people know about the possibilities of changing tutors if there are issues. All of this information should be compiled and made available to the students at once.
  • SM: A priority was more events for International Students. Whether they are themed events, swaps or even workshops. Taxis to pick international students up from the train station were also important priorities. The possibilities of translating dictionaries in exams were also brought up.
  • MS: An important update to online resources was called for. This would include but not be limited to the ‘Day in the Life’ resources available to prospective students. A wider range of information for people from all walks of life should be put up.
  • FREPS: Delegation from the ENTS committee was called for, the Freps, noted that they would likely be busy with preparations for Freshers week for the oncoming year.
  • VG: Continuing the good work of the previous secretary, JT, was a priority. Developing and maintaining a good relationship with the Alumni and Development office was a goal for the year. This would hopefully facilitate more positive relationships with the JCR in future years.
  • SPS: Freshers week consent workshops, along with discussions on STIs and sexuality were an aim for the next year. Sensitivity to LGBT issues was key and this means that everyone should be aware of the issues that exist. There may also be possible training for staff members. Swaps and Formals are also an important aspect of the social part of the college community.

    6. AOB (Any Other Business):

  • The best method for surveys was discussed. Especially when trying to reach as many students as possible. The current method of Google Docs will be used until a suitable alternative is reached.
  • The point of why Pigeon Holes did not exist in the Wychfield site was brought up. It was deemed to be inconvenient to come all the way to Central Site to pick up mail. Wychfield does have Pigeon Holes, but they are in use by the Graduate Students. The issue may persist.