On Monday 3rd February, I started the day by responding to an email regarding the BDS motion. The BDS motion was passed by students in a General Meeting in 2018, however after some back and forth, the motion was actually overturned by the AUSA Trustee Board. After discussions with the relevant parties (a representative from the Palestine Society which proposed the motion and a representative from the Jewish Society which proposed an amendment to the motion, which passed), there AUSA Trustees sought legal advice on the motion, and after this the Trustees took a vote and the decision was to overturn the policy. AUSA must and can only act in accordance with its Constitutional powers and the advice suggested that in supporting the BDS Movement it could not be satisfied this would not be the case. This, of course, does not mean that students cannot campaign for this, but it does mean that it will not be an official AUSA policy.
After this, I had a Trustee Board meeting for the Rocking Horse Nursery, in which things like fees and risk register was discussed. I was able to ask some questions on behalf of a student parent, and there are some ‘Stay and Play’ events happening in February and March that I asked if I can attend to meet some more student parents. I had my third Mandarin lesson, and things are getting more challenging as I am learning more initials and struggling to remember how to pronounce most of them, but our teacher, who is a student and a volunteer teacher is really good and patient.
Later on the Monday, I had a meeting with the Principal and we discussed grade boundaries, the Sustainability Action Plan, the Hardship Funds, the necessity of a University Appointed Trustee for the AUSA Trustee Board, the Founders’ Day event and AUSA’s upcoming AGM (on 11th February, 5PM in the William Guild Arts Lecture Theatre!). To finish the day, I attended the AUSA Activities Team meeting, where we planned the King’s Ball ticket sales and to have more Occasionwear Events (13th and 20th February! Come and borrow some nice outfits!)
In Tuesday 4th February, I had a EHRC working group (Equality and Human Rights Commission) on Tackling Racial Harassment which is a subgroup of the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. I am meant to be attending this meeting together with Alexander (Welfare Officer) and the BME Convener, however one was ill and the other in class. I raised some issues with the report we were given, and the discussion during the meeting mainly concerned actionable things we can do to improve the University in terms of racial equality, but overall the meeting was not overly productive. After this, I went on to record a video for the AGM (which can be viewed on the AUSA FB page).
In the afternoon, I was in a meeting with the AUSA Senior Managers (CEO Margaret, Activities Development Manager Danielle, Representatives Services Manager Scott, and Finance Manager Ian) to discuss what AUSA will do to celebrate the fact that AUSA is turning 20 years old this year. Personally, I think a week long Freshers’ Birthday Party sounds amazing but we’ll see what will happen!
This Tuesday was also a Student Council Meeting Tuesday, so the Sabbatical Team had a pre-council meeting, and then we went to the actual meeting. This Student Council meeting was the first time to be live streamed, which was amazing and the recording was of great quality. This enabled more people to see what happened during these meeting, and it allowed the Qatar Campus Committee to join in and vote, which the feedback from them suggests that they loved. At the time of writing this, the Student Council recording has been viewed 2.1K times. During this Student Council meeting we discussed:
Co-options, which were all passed. A Motion regarding making AUSA Trustee Board meeting minutes available online to students, which passed. A motion on preventing a rise in sexual harassment on campus, which was deferred to the next Council meeting in March. NUS Referendum rules and regulations, which passed. The new Sabbatical Officer remits, which passed. The updated Constitution, which passed, and will be sent to University Court to approval.
On Wednesday morning (5th February), I started the day early with a meeting with the Vice Chair of the Qatar Campus Committee. We discussed the Student Council meeting and other things, such as the Qatar Graduations and the status of Qatar regarding Societies and Sports Clubs. After this we had a Sabbatical Team meeting in which we discussed what we’ve been working on, challenges we’re facing and got a brief on Sports Ball from Ailsa, the Events coordinator, and then I rushed off to my fourth Mandarin lesson.
During Senate on this day, we received a presentation by Professor Pete Smith on Climate Change and the University, which was very cool, and the staff members present asked a lot of questions around food and travel.
The rest of the day I spent doing readings for meetings and writing reports to these meetings.
On Thursday, I had a bit of a sleep in before attending a Digital Strategy Committee. This is a meeting in which we approve ‘business cases’, which are proposals from University staff for funding for projects. After this, I went back to the office to check out the Sports Salon event in the Union Brew, and work on some things before helping out getting student attending the Sports Ball onto the shuttle buses.
Sports Ball was fun and very pretty, we were walking around reminding students when they were taking their club photo, and I had the chance to join the photo for the Triathlon Club which is a club I joined at the start of this term.
On Friday, I had a very short day. I was meant to have a meeting with a student but they did not show up, so instead I spent some time in the Union Brew and checking in with what was happening there. I had an Open Session (although not advertised) so I just walked around with my red Sabbatical Officer sweater and asked students questions. I attempted to write a blog update, but as soon as I was near finished with the update, my laptop momentarily crashed and I lost my update. This was very frustrating and I lost all motivation to retype it all, as it was a lot of words and information I had lost that would need to be retyped, which is why the updates came today instead on Friday!
Finally, I was meant to have a meeting with the new Dean for Student Support, Abbe Brown, but my accident we had scheduled two meetings so we decided that we would meet next Thursday (13th February) instead.
Then it was the weekend.