Student Council

Student Council is a democratically-elected body of students who volunteer their time to raise, discuss and pass campaigns and motions to shape the work of the association for the year ahead. You can get involved in Student Council and help drive forward the student body’s priorities by representing the views of your fellow students.

 

Council Meetings

Student Council normally meets in the King's Conference Centre auditorium on Campus. Due to the current situation, we are planning to move all our Council Meetings online for the first semester of the academic year 2020-2021. Please check back with us for updates on the election timeline, meetings and deadlines to submit motions. For further information, please contact ausareps@abdn.ac.uk.


Watch the April 2020 Student Council Meeting
here

 

The Agendas and Minutes of previous meetings can be found at the bottom of the page.

 

March 2020 Student Council Meeting Update

- Council approved the minutes of February 4th 2020 Student Council meeting
- Co-opted new members to the Foresterhill Committee.
- Approved all Sabbatical Officer work reports.
- Discussed and voted on a reviewed version of the Student Council byelaw. After discussion, Council decided to move the byelaw amendment to be discussed in April Council meeting via a procedural motion.
- Discussed and voted on ‘Preventing a rise in sexual assaults’ and ‘Roombookings reform’ motions which both passed.
- Discussed ‘To ban plastic bags’ motion which was moved to be rewritten for April Council meeting via a procedural motion.
- Discussed ‘Diplomae campaign’ motion which after an amendment via procedural motion was passed.
- Discussed and passed byelaw amendments to recognise ASCN as a student group, change the current societies re-affiliation byelaw and ensure protected speaking time during Council debates.
- Discussed a byelaw amendment to change the composition of Societies Union Committee which did not pass.
- Discussed an emergency motion to amend the Societies Union Committee byelaw to allow the committee to implement policies.

February 2020 Student Council Meeting Update

-Student Council held its first meeting where the Qatar Campus Committee was able to vote. The meeting was also livestreamed.
-Council approved the minutes of January 2020 Council meeting.
-Co-opted new members to the Raising & Giving Committee and the Education Committee.
-Approved all Sabbatical Officer work reports.
-Council gave feedback on the draft Late Submission Policy for the Education Sabbatical Officer to take to University Senate.
-Discussed and voted on the ‘Motion regarding the minutes of Trustee meetings’ which passed.
-Discussed the ‘Preventing a Rise in Sexual Assaults’ motion which through a procedural motion was sent back to the proposer to be resubmitted for March Council meeting.
-Discussed and approved the NUS Referendum rules, new AUSA Constitution and Sabbatical Officer role remits.

January 2020 Student Council Meeting Update

-Approved the November 2019 additional Student Council meeting minutes.
-Held a Q&A session for the University of Aberdeen Principal George Boyne, who discussed topics such as Brexit, University funding and sustainability with Council members. Summary of the questions and conversation can be read in the January 2020 Student Council meeting minutes, included in the February 2020 Student Council reading materials available below.
-Approved three new Student Trustees.
-Approved all Sabbatical Officer work reports.
-Debated and voted on the ‘Student Council Chair experience requirement’ and ‘Repeal of Demilitarised Campus policy’ motions, which did not pass.
-Debated and voted on the ‘Sports Clubs access to Butchart Recreation Centre’ which passed.

November 2019 General Meeting Update

- Approved the minutes of the October 2019 Student Council meeting, all Sabbatical Officer work reports and co-opted new member to the Welfare Committee, Societies Union Committee, Sports Union Committee, Education Committee, Postgraduate Education Committee and the Communities Committee.
- General Meeting discussed the Motion to abolish Sabbatical Officer Oral Work Reports which did not pass.

November 2019 Additional Student Council Meeting Update

Due to the November General Meeting losing quorum, Council members petitioned the Student Council Chair to call an additional meeting. The meeting took place on the 20th of November.
- Council discussed and approved the Meat Free Mondays motion.
- Council discussed the Sports Clubs access to Butchart Recreation Centre motion. A procedural motion was passed to move the motion to the next Student Council meeting for clarification.
- Council discussed and approved an emergency motion to allow the Qatar Committee members to vote on Council. Practicalities to be worked on by the Sabbatical Officers.

October 2019 Student Council Update

Following was approved in the Student Council October 2019 meeting:
- The minutes of the Student Council meeting of March 2019.
- Dates of Student Council and cancelling the November date to have a General Meeting instead.
- Co-opted new members for the Disabled Students’ Forum, the Qatar committee, Welfare committee, RAG, Societies Union, the Communities committee and the Environment & Ethics Committee.
- Approved all Sabb work reports.
- Discussed and approved two motions regarding the Qatar campus, which were both presented by the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Qatar campus committee who attended the meeting via Zoom. One motion was regarding a variety of food available on campus and the prices, the other regarding extending library hours. The motions passed, and the Sabbatical team will now lobby University to seek to resolve these issues on the Qatar campus.
- Discussed and approved a motion regarding an NUS referendum. As a result of the motion, AUSA will organise a referendum regarding the association’s NUS membership during the 2nd term.
- Discussed and approved a motion regarding climate emergency. As a result, AUSA will form a climate crisis strategy group and lobby the University to go fossil free.
- Discussed and approved an amendment to the current Byelaw 7 regarding Societies Union.

Council in a Nutshell

If you are a member of a Standing Committee, you are a member of Council. Liberation & Section Forums and Student Groups also have representatives on Student Council. Any student may nominate themselves for committee elections that are normally held twice a year, towards the end of the second semester and at the beginning of the first semester.

The elected members attend Council meetings to discuss and vote on motions, deciding the focus and direction of AUSA. The Student Council also holds the elected Sabbatical Officers, your Student Leaders, accountable for their work. All Councillors are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the Student Council Handbook to prepare for future meetings. The guide has more in-depth information on how to write a motion, voting, debates, etc.

Chair of Council

Lea Rattei is the Chair of the Student Council 2019/2020 and happy to answer any enquiries (sa.chair@abdn.ac.uk).
The elected Chair of Council regulates the discussion and makes sure that everyone gets a fair chance to speak and is being respected. The Chair also compiles the Agenda and the reading documents before each Council meeting.

Student Council Feedback Survey 2018-2019

In 2018-2019, AUSA conducted a feedback survey on Student Council, which was sent to all members of Council. The survey aimed to gather students' opinions on Student Council procedures, training, support, accessability and other aspects. The results of the survey were compiled into a report and it can be accessed below.
Student Council Feedback Survey report 2018-19

Student Council Reading Materials

 

FAQs

What is a motion?

Motions are initiatives by students discussed during Student Council meetings, General Meetings and the Annual General Meeting. Motions are submitted in written form (Word or pdf document) and debated by students. Once a motion passes and it is ratified by the Trustee Board, it becomes official AUSA policy. To see our current policies, and for examples on how to write a motion, please visit the Policy Hub website.

How many proposers and seconders do I need?

Regular motions to Student Council only need one proposer (this is usually yourself) and one seconder. Emergency motions submitted past the relevant deadline require one proposer and nine seconders. 

How many votes do I need to pass my motion?

In Student Council meetings, General Meetings or the Annual General Meeting, motions are debated by students and then voted on. Most motions require a simple majority support, unless the motion is aiming to amend a byelaw or mandate a specific Sabbatial Officer. In these cases, a 75 % majority is required.

What is quorum?

Quorum is the minimum amount of students or Council members needed present for a meeting to be legitimate to make decisions and pass motions. For Student Council, this is a third of the elected members. For General Meetings and AGM, the amount is 250. If the quorum is not met within the first 30 minutes of the meeting, the meeting does not go forward. If a General Meeting or an Annual General Meeting fails to meet quorum, the meeting is rescheduled for the following week.

What can motions do?

Motions can be used to pass policy, create new campaigns, amend existing policy and create or amend byelaws. Motions can be used to mandate AUSA and/or specific Sabbatical Officers, but cannot mandate the University, as AUSA and University are separate institutions. To mandate AUSA and/or the Sabbatical Officer to lobby the University, the ‘resolves’ section in a motion needs to read “For AUSA to lobby the University to…”. If you are unsure, please do not hesitate to contact the Student Council Chair (sa.chair@abdn.ac.uk) or the AUSA Reps Team (ausareps@abdn.ac.uk) who will be happy to help.

How to write a motion?

Each motion must have a title and the three section headings that are called ‘Council notes’, ‘Council believes’ and ‘Council resolves’. The three sections are distinct from one another and have a different purpose. Motions submitted to General Meetings or the AGM, the motion format is the same but the word ‘Council’ is replaced with ‘General Meeting’ or ‘AGM’. All motions need to be submitted by the relevant deadline to the Student Council Chair at sa.chair@abdn.ac.uk.

The format is the following;
1. Council notes
This section is for background information; it can include explanation of used terminology or data to demonstrate that an introduced issue is pertinent to and within the student community. It can also refer to national decisions or existing AUSA or University policies.
2. Council believes
This section outlines your opinion on a matter and explains to the reader why you think this motion should become a policy. Whilst the first section should seek to present information neutrally, this section is for your opinion, allowing you to present your views on the information you provided in the previous section.
3. Council resolves
This section should succinctly explain actions that the policy will mandate. We encourage this section to be as short and specific as possible.

If you have any questions about the Student Council, how to write a motion or anything else, please get in touch with your Council Chair (sa.chair@abdn.ac.uk, only monitored during term time), Student President (ausapresident@abdn.ac.uk) or AUSA Reps (ausareps@abdn.ac.uk).