All students are welcome to come to Student Council to propose and debate motions whilst holding their elected representatives to account. Each college, school and SU Campaign has voting members who represent their constituencies.
Council usually takes place every other Monday in term time, at 6.30pm.
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If you are not a voting member of Council you can sign up to receive papers below. Voting members should instead email firstname.lastname@example.org as the SU maintains records of voting members and their constituencies to verify votes cast.
More About Council
The Student Council is made up of elected representatives from across the University. These are:
- The eight Cambridge SU Sabbatical Officers
- The SU representatives for Double Time Students, Mature Students, Part-Time Students, and Student Families
- 2 representatives of each SU Campaign (or 1 where the Campaign has a sabbatical representative); 1 Undergraduate and 1 Postgraduate
- 2 representatives per College of the University; 1 for each J/MCR except where there is only one common room in a college
- 2 Academic Representatives per School of the University; 1 Undergraduate and 1 Postgraduate
Motions passed at Student Council direct the work of the SU. You just need a proposer and a seconder to send a motion to Student Council for discussion, and any student can do it. If you’d like to know more about the format of Council motions, or have other questions about submitting one, email email@example.com. You can also view an example motion for guidance.
The motion, as you submit it, will be circulated to Council members and available to view on the SU website behind a Raven Login.
The process for whether a motion is accepted or rejected is as follows:
- Following the submission of a motion, the chair will make a call on whether to accept, reject or go through the escalation process for the motion in question.
- The first step of the escalation process is taking the decision of whether the motion will be accepted or rejected to the Democracy Committee.
- The second step of the escalation process is taking the decision of whether the motion will be accepted or rejected to the Trustee Board.
The Democracy Committee will be able to deal with anything that will have an impact on students, for example a motion that could cause distress to specific groups of students. The Trustee Board will be able to deal with any issues that relate to the law or governance, for example if a motion goes against Charity Law or the Education Act.
Debates and Amendments
After a motion is introduced by its proposer, there is an opportunity for questions about it and debate. Amendments to motions can also be submitted.
There a few ways a motion can be amended:
- Substantial amendments to a motion should be submitted to the Chair by noon on the day of the Council meeting
- If you would like to submit an amendment to an emergency motion, this can be done up until the start of Council
- If you would like to state a small amendment during debate, the proposer can decide whether it is “friendly” i.e. acceptable. These are then taken immediately into the text of the Motion
- Amendments cannot themselves be amended during debate, except by the request of the proposing speaker
More detail can be found in the by-laws in Chapter 1.
Making Sense of the Agenda
Every Council meeting follows the same structure:
|1. Objections to the order of items on the agenda
|The order of items is usually fixed but sometimes things get moved around for convenience.
|2. Approval of the minutes of the previous meeting
|Minutes of Council are a formal public record so they are always signed off as accurate before being published.
|3. Matters Arising from the Minutes of the last meeting
|Sometimes there will be questions about an item in the minutes or someone will have been assigned to update at the next meeting.
|4. Reports to Council
|Sabbatical officers and the rest of the Executive Committee who are accountable to Council give an update on their work and they take questions. Other members of Council might also want to make announcements.
|Some roles within the SU, such as the Chair of Council, are selected by the Council members in an election at the meeting.
|This is where more informal conversations or consultation with Council happens.
|7. Action Motions
|These are motions that require the SU to take a one-off or short-term action, like supporting an event or signing an open letter. They only need a simple majority at one Council.
|8. Policy Motions
|These are motions that require the SU to take a longer term stance or campaign for a change. These are presented at Council for information and then voting members have until the next meeting to consult their constituents on the policy, before a vote is taken.
|9. Changes to Governing Documents
|This comes up less often, but Council also has a role in approving changes to documents that decide how the SU is run, including the Articles and the By-Laws.