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

Council Meetings for the academic year 2021-22 will be agreed at the first Student Council of 2021-22 - date TBC. For further information, please contact ausareps@abdn.ac.uk. The papers and minutes of previous meetings can be found at the bottom of this page.

Council in a Nutshell

If you are a member of a Standing Committee, you are a member of the Student 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, debate, etc.

Chair of Council

Daniel O'Connor is the Chair of the Student Council 2021/2022 and can be contacted by email at 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 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 Sabbatical 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 an 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).