2013-02-06

A meeting of the JCR Committee was held on 6th February 2013.

Those present were:  Davina Moss (JCR President), Samantha Johnson (Secretary), Matt Ingram (Vice President), Fiona Shaw, Alex Greaves (Welfare Officers), Fiona Woolston (Access Officer), Peter Greenfield (Green Officer), Daisy Harrison, Dan Jones (Ents Presidents), Josh Armstrong (JCR Rep to MCR), Sandy Rushton, Nick Hands, Joel Daramola (First Year Reps), Ryan Howard (LGBT Rep), Christian von Drehle (International Rep) William Morton (Web and Publicity Officer)

Apologies: Sukhmani Khatkar (JCR Rep to MCR), Tim Axtmann (Treasurer), Elinor Harrison (Access Officer),

Davina Moss (DM) welcomed everyone and everyone introduced themselves to the new members of the JCR Committee.

(1)  Updates from Committee

 

– Samantha Johnson (SJ) and Ryan Howard (RH) reported on Library and Archives Committee. The Jerwood is running smoothly and re-cataloguing but this will be suspended in exam term. The Archives Fellow is in the process of collecting the JCR archives. The Old Library roof is being repaired and the library survey will be this term. There are now welfare and study skills book sin the Mez and this has been publicised to the JCR but it is important the JCR committee note it in reference to welfare issues.

 

– Will Morton (WM) attended the IT Advisor and Committee meeting and reported Rob is leaving but ‘Hallbook’ has traditionally been run by MCR individuals and it has been suggested to employ someone externally to be in charge of this as when it is passed over the coding can be confused and upkeep is not maintained. Will noted this could be similar to the problems coding the JCR website for the last few Web and Publicity officers. Will has spoken to Tom Long, who can alter and access the website, and it seems it might be resolved soon.

 

– Josh Armstrong (JA) noted Peirce Glennie can also access the websites code

 

– WM doesn’t want to mess with it now if there are no complaints and the next webmaster could step in afresh but Tim had noted that the JCR does have some excess money

 

– DM said the Intranet is being updated now (following the college website) and whilst fun things can be kept to help access this could tie in to renovating the JCR website

 

– WM said if college were in charge they might be more cautious and wary about things – such as the issue of fines

 

– JA recommended Phil Ewels for next two years

 

– WM said that he was suggested in the meeting but they want someone more long term

 

– DM said the webmaster could get a quote from Phil Ewell and also BoHo should be getting Wifi

 

– JA said Bateman Street internet access is poor

 

– DM said this will be looked into and the more people who complain the more effective things will be at being fixed.

 

– Daisy Harrison (DH) asked about putting an explanation of the college bill on the website

 

– DM is looking into putting up guidelines and charges from the red book and a breakdown for the college bill on the website but it is difficult for college as when people can see it, they will pay less. She also explained how if you don’t live in college there is additional charge on the kitchen/hall food.

 

– WM and Fiona Shaw (FS) said it is not made aware enough and should be included too

 

– FS reported on the Benn Bursary meeting and tutor meetings. She raised the issue that we need to encourage people to apply for them and make the situation more transparent to help with this

 

– RH asked what it meant when your hardship is classed as not the ‘right’ one

 

– FS said the form has a cost for each category (eg. Books, meals etc) and if you get have money than this and you can prove your income is less than this and then you can get financial support. It is largely for people whose parents earn over the national limit but perhaps their parents don’t give them financial support now they are here and they cannot have a job or anything to help them cope.

 

– Fiona Woolston said that her tutor said you can’t apply until you have maxed out your overdraft

 

– FS said this is not true at all and CUSU has issues with tutors. She noted that every single form put forwards from college has been put forward by just one tutor

 

– WM said they had the same issue when he was welfare an it needs to be changed

 

– FS said the welfare reps can go to the tutor meetings but the current tutor situation is not working well and their efforts vary. FS is trying to raise the profile of bursaries

 

– DM asked should we talk to the tutors and Dr Bampos about this issue

 

– FS said yes, we need to know exactly who is able to apply and it needs to be transparent about what is available

 

– WM said some tutors know more about it and know what to write and what not to and it is so variable and some just aren’t involved enough to understand

 

– RH and FW have both explained there have been lots of difficult situations and it is a pressing issue in college

 

– DM asked that we publicise and clarify the Benn bursary to students

Action: DM (and FS/Alex Greaves (AG)?) to speak to Dr Bampos and tutors to clarify the issues raised with the Benn Bursary

(2)  Room Ballot and Database

– DM said she has spoken with Jackie Harmon and Dr Bampos and there is always a lot of problems and worries about balloting. Jackie and DM will be doing a FAQ sheet with advice and explanations – including the extra charge on hall food if you don’t live in college

– JA said it should explain about 4th years and MML students too

– Matt Ingram (MI) asked if they will change the process for fourth years

– DM said it is different depending on how certain college are that people will come back (e.g. whether it depends on exam results or not). No Cambridge College can promise accommodation for three years but for MML students this is their third one so they get a room. Trinity Hall can offer accommodations to the fourth years too luckily (NatScis, Medics, Engineers etc) based on them getting their grades but it is done in July by email via Jackie considering what is available and how much people want to pay. Historically it has all been fine and if we change it we have to choose to run another ballot in July after exams. MML students have a problem as they want to ballot with returning fourth year friends but it is difficult to make fair.

– JA said in the current system MMLs are in normal ballot position but could possibly have first choice for the next year and make it available for other fourth years to fit around them

– WM asked if they can ballot when they return from abroad

– DM said in a sense the other 4th years should have almost less priority but MMLers need their third year for it to be fair

– DH suggested the MMLers can have a choice when to ballot, either early (as usual in the year before going away) or with friends at the end of their year abroad

– JA said it can be a problem if things change over the time

– DM said every other college does it the way we currently do and only a few MMLers are upset

– JA said Caius do them at the top of the ballot

– DM said she will talk to Jackie and offer the choice to ballot in second year with everyone like they do or in the summer of their year abroad with the fourth years including a clause that they have to stick to that decision. DM also said there is also a problem for switching in the ballot and proposed enforcing that switching can be changed except for the college sets so whilst people can still be pulled up to pair, people cannot play the system to swap for sets

– RH said there is concern about who you live with and if you’ll always be with your ballot group and this needs to be included in the FAQ

– DM will send an email that next Tues and Wed she will be in the bar for any freshers to come see her and she’ll answer questions about the ballot. FS will also be there on Wed and anyone else is welcome to be there

– DM wants to carry out a room database brief questionnaire but asked how to inspire people to complete it

– JA suggested if you fill it in your name goes in a raffle for a 25pound Amazon voucher – to be confirmed

– DM said someone will also go round and take some photos on different sites

– Sandy said it doesn’t have to be individually as you could let the first staircase/house/corridor win so that people can fill in the friend’s rooms they know to speed up the return

– JA said it also needs to be rebanded properly by one or two people to going round to remove subjective element

– DM said she will do that properly after the ballot but before the forms will be filled in so there is at least a bit of an update

– MI said the FAQ should say to ask your college parents because it is unlikely to be finished before the ballot

– JA said to make it clear Wychfield New Build is all the same and not as big as you think

Action: DM to speak to Jackie Harmon about offering the MML students the two options for balloting times, DM to complete the balloting FAQ and email to say she’ll be in the bar to answer Fresher’s questions on Tues (12th) and Wed (13th, DM to send out room balloting questionnaire  – prize TBC

(3) Sky TV

– DM explained at Oxford they had the same problem of the bar cost of Sky TV and all the colleges’ JCRs lobbied to get a charity rate and Rosalyn Old has rung up and said this to Sky who quoted £66/month which is far more reasonable  so Dm asked do we want it

– MI said why not get a proper quote and then take it to open meeting

– AG pointed out the TV is still broken anyway

– DM said we can get a new freeview box in the mean time

– The committee suggested several issues that may be wrong with the TV as no one knows, suggestions include the cable, box or the actual TV.

– DM said Glen is aware of the problem and DM has offered the JCR to pay for it but it is currently being worked on still

– Everyone agreed to take the Sky point to open meeting after the TV is fixed

– JA said a cheap hard drive recorder could be bought to record TV programmes

– Nick Hands (NH), DH and Dan Jones (DJ) offered to look into it fixing the TV

Action: DM to get a quote from Sky then take it to Open Meeting, NH/DH/DJ to look into fixing the TV

(4) Committee Positions and structure

– FS has had a meeting about women’s issues recently and there are a lot of Women’s officer roles for FS to cover that she does alongside Welfare. Some women have taken issues directly to CUSU as Trinity Hall have missed their issues in at least four specific cases. FS said although the role was cut in college, there are independent classes of roles – Welfare, Black and Ethnic Minorities, Women’s, LGBT+, Special Considerations and the related Green and Ethical and International Roles – as well as CUSU women’s campaigns and we need to be able to say we have a representatives for these in college and FS has a proposal for a subcommittee for welfare to represent all, smaller than the JCR committee and has showed how they connect to the committee and CUSU

– Dm said this would create a better hierarchy of responsibility and accountability and more roles can be covered

– FS said there will always be someone with an issue and it is important that no matter how small we have someone who is there for that. It is difficult as we can’t oversize the JCR committee but we could have a co-opted committee would be better connected to CUSU for these other roles

– DM said we don’t want to lose representation on the JCR committee for issues such as LGBT

– FS said the co-opted roles would be welcome to JCR meetings and if specific issues are raised, they can come or the welfare reps can represent them in that so the committee is not overloaded with people but changes cover more roles

– MI said Sidney have this but someone has to self define as the role and asked if this would be our policy

– DM said the current co-opted roles have to self define as that group (eg. LGBT or International) and so this would be our policy but at Sidney the roles only have to be filled if someone runs for it so we could also implement that. DM also said the Constitution states the webmaster is supposed to be co-opted.

– DH said the subcommittee needs to be known to everyone as the JCR are, especially at the beginning of the year

-DM suggested one person from the subcommittee could be with a welfare officer at each welfare tea and welfare is a huge role that needs support

– FS said these roles also need to get information from CUSU and this needs to be made very clear to people applying. She explained the women’ officer was cut as the person felt there was a lot of lack of direction but CUSU has a lot of things going on but people need to be aware of this

– DM said CUSU has training sessions daily for these roles

– WM said confidentiality can be a problem as college members may feel the subcommittee are reporting back to both the JCR and CUSU and in some cases people can be identified easily as its so personal so this would have to be completely minimal to keep anonymity

– FS explained there is also a problem with peer support costs and Trinity Hall has its own system but a lot of people don’t know who they are and their pictures need to be on the website and there need to be events to meet the welfare officer and everyone involved (tutors, college nurse and LGBT etc) and college are funding a big tea and cakes to just put faces to names so people know the people who are around and this is being organised currently

– AG said if positions aren’t consistent (as they are co-opted and only if someone runs) they will be less valued and less respected and he also clarified the relationship between Black and Ethnic Minorities officer and International officer as these will interlink

– DM said the newer positions will perhaps form more structure and links between committee members

– RH said LGBT is difficult because he would not be able to talk to someone who was identifying as trans as he has no experience of that and he doesn’t feel trained in lesbian or trans issues. RH said he should have gone and got some training but this emphasises the importance of these people have to get trained and stressed this issue

– DM said that is why they will be linked to welfare and to CUSU to expand resources and training that is readily available

– RH said it would be nice to have one or two LGBT officers as some issues aren’t covered by one person and their role is huge despite LGBT being a subset of the small student body but suggested there could be two roles for someone to be trained on welfare and another to be at the events, almost like a vice, just to share the weight and pressure of almost daily events

– FS said LGBT were told last year that they couldn’t run in a pair but it would be better to have a lesbian and trans students represented too

– DM said the committee can only be 25 people according to the constitution and the cost to bring everyone to run freshers week is notable but with structure there can be a greater hierarchy for the main roles

– MI raised the point that the college councillor is not very responsive by email and this needs to be addressed and he recognised the problem of having one person represent the face of the community is an issue but suggested the committee cannot be too big and some jobs can be unofficially run as subgroups by the individual in the main role

– AG asked will this change be implemented before elections

– DM said it has to be raised before that in an Open meeting

– MI said to send an email around a week before the Open meeting and then people will come knowing what we are discussing to allow the decision to be made

– AG wanted to clarify that this will be the ‘welfare committee’ who are not on JCR and for whom it is not compulsory to attend the JCR meetings as he said this will lessens the appeal

– FS said that isn’t relevant as we want people to care about the issue not the status of the role

– WM said he agrees with that and he probably missed those issues during his role in Welfare but college is very small so branches within these issues are too small in college but could we not have someone come once a term from CUSU to represent that role as the person in the role may have no issues all year and then at handover sya the role is not worth having

– Christian Von Drehle (CVD) said it is better to have the direct contact from CUSU to the individual to avoid the relaying of messages between the JCR officer and CUSU and the individual

– MI said he agrees but there is an advantage to keeping things personal as CUSU is faceless to most people in college so the personal link is more likely to make people feel reassured

– DM said CUSU people are also spread over 30 so stretched for time

– FS said she agrees with Christian but it hasn’t really worked when they have tried as CUSU are so busy and people know where they can get access but it is difficult to connect so much up for the welfare officers as the task of welfare is huge

– DM clarified it is a very heavy role and congratulated out welfare officers

Action: DM/MI to email a week before Open Meeting to alert college of the motion of  proposed change to the JCR Committee that have been decided upon here

(5) JCR Office

– DM said the office needs to be cleared as Dr John Pollard wants the archives from the 80s and 90s so shewill do a doodle poll for people to come for an hour each and help.

Action: DM to do a doodle poll, everyone to sing up and help

(6) A. O. B.

– DH said that Selwyn Jazz can’t do Half-way Hall and they need help as there are no options they know of

– FW suggested Fred and Laura on June Event committee running Musical Ents who may be able to help

– RH said CUJO practise here too so they might be an option

_________

The first meeting of the JCR Committee for Lent Term 2013 ended at 18.40 on the 6th February 2013.

_________

Samantha Johnson (sjj38)

JCR Secretary

Trinity Hall