Annual General Meeting, October 2012

  1. President’s report
  2. Executive committee elections
  3. Action on monitoring attendance of overseas students
  4. Report back from Pay Ballot

1. President’s report

President John Wadsworth (JW) reported on a mixed year for the branch, and for UCU nationally.

Action in November had been effective in galvanizing members and spreading the message, but the continual action-short-of-a-strike around USS had lacked focus. A general lack of focus and momentum in this national dispute had caused problems here, and meeting attendance has remained quite low as a result.

Locally, we have seen four directors of HR in one year, and have unfinished business with HR. They have been a demotivated team and it has been difficult to make progress, but we are hopeful that the new director who will be active from January will revitalize the department.

2. Exec Elections

This meeting was just under quorum; so all positions are ‘acting’ until our next GM.

It was agreed by those present that at a meeting with quorum we should push to suspend the constitutional rule 9.3 (‘Retiring Officers shall be eligible for re-election, except that the President may not normally hold office for more than 3 successive years’) so that JW can be re-elected. Please note the vacancies for Health and Safety and Learning Reps.

President John Wadsworth Educational Studies j.wadsworthATgold.ac.uk
Secretary Des Freedman Media & Communications d.freedmanATgold.ac.uk
Treasurer Frances Renton IT Services f.rentonATgold.ac.uk
Membership Tom Henri Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies t.henriATgold.ac.uk
Casework Coordinator Pamela Beevers p.beeversATgold.ac.uk
Part-time/Hourly Paid Rep Branden Donegan Anthropology brendandoneganAThotmail.com
Co-opted Member Ben Levitas Theatre & Performance b.levitasATgold.ac.uk
Co-opted Member Natalie Fenton Media & Communications n.fentonATgold.ac.uk
Health & Safety Rep Vacancy
Health & Safety Rep Amanda Kipling Educational Studies a.kiplingATgold.ac.uk
Equalities Rep Deirdre Osborne Drama d.osborneATgold.ac.uk
Learning Rep Vacancy
Branch Administrator Ben Osborn gucu-adminATgold.ac.uk

3. Action on monitoring attendance of overseas students

Matthew Fuller (MF) presented the draft statement, ‘We are not Border Agents.’

He reported that many overseas students in Cultural Studies have had issues with visas caused by clerical and administrative errors, including one student having to return to Japan. Many students feel that admin workers don’t understand the impact small errors can have. MF suggested possibly having workshops with students and admin workers.

MF said that London Met has shown this is simply a broken policy, not just an admin issue, and UCU and NUS need to re-emphasize their opposition to UKBA’s attitude to student. So far, Goldsmiths management has been unwilling to be part of this fight.

Secretary Des Freedman (DF) emphasized the need for a student-centred response. He pointed out that it was not always clear how to act on UCU’s policy of non-compliance. SOAS staff have been going through similar issues, and we should find out what is going in on in other universities from UCU HQ. It may be necessary to go beyond non-compliance. DF and JW said that this issue would be brought up at the Joint Negotiating Committee today.

Members present agreed to support MF’s statement, and BO will put it online and email it to all members.

4. Report back from Pay Ballot

The strike ballot was badly lost, and action short of a strike has been agreed but has been delayed – at present, UCU is taking no action. UCU Left suggest a delegate meeting. Ben Levitas noted that a substantial majority wanted action short of a strike, so we need to press for this to go ahead – and to press for as much clarity and leadership on this from UCU as possible, to prevent the lack of focus felt during the USS action (see item 1).