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University of Warwick Students' Union

From Academic Kids

The University of Warwick Students' Union is the students' union for the University of Warwick.

Contents

History

The Students' Union developed in tandem with the University and has existed since 1965. In its first few decades of life, it was heavily involved with the protests, rent strikes, and occupations which earned the University the nickname of 'Red Warwick.' One of its on-campus successes was its campaign for its own building, which finally succeeded in 1975 after lengthy opposition from large parts of the University establishment. Some of its early activism was carried out in partnership with sympathetic elements of the academic staff of the university, with one incident being chronicled in the book Warwick University Ltd., edited by the eminent historian E. P. Thompson.

Governance

The Union's basis of existence is its Constitution, which sets out the Union's mission statement, legal basis, and democratic structures. In addition to this, there are currently 8 Appendices to the Constituion, 5 sets of regulations, and 71 policies; all of which govern specific areas of Union activity.

The Union has three main methods of policy-making:

  1. Referenda - Conducted by The Elections Group
  2. General Meetings - open to all full members and have a quorum of 200.
  3. Union Council

These decision-making bodies form a hierarchy, with Referenda at the top and Union Council at the bottom. Any decision made by one of these bodies may be over-ridden by the same body or a higher one, although each has powers exclusive to it.

Referenda are held twice yearly and are the only method by which the Union's Constitution or affiliations may be changed. Motions may be sent to referendum if they are submitted with a petition of 80 signatures of Union members (with amendments possible with a petition of 20 signatures); in addition to this, up to four motions may be referred to referendum by Union General Meetings or Union Council in each referendum period. Referenda are subject to a quorum of 7.5% of full Union members, but shall also be considered to have reached quorum if 5% of full Union members vote for or against. Should the referendum fail to reach quorum, the result is not binding upon the Union, and any constitutional change proposed will not take effect. If a constitutional change is passed, it is then subject to approval by the University Senate and Council.

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is open to all full members of the Union both to speak and vote. It approves the Union's accounts and appoints an auditor. It also takes reports from the Union's Executive Committee, Union Council, services groups, and Elections Group, of which is approves the membership. The Union must have at least one General Meeting in each year, but in addition to this, there is normally at least one Union General Meeting (UGM) per year which considers policy but does not carry out the AGM's business of taking reports or approving the accounts. Emergency General Meetings (EGM) can be called by any member who collects a petition of 150 signatures in order to discuss a specific issue of the member's choice; in other respects, however, an EGM behaves in the same way as a UGM. If a General Meeting fails to reach the quorum of 200, it may still discuss the motions submitted, but the decisions will not be binding and the motions will be submitted to the next meeting of Union Council without any amendments which may have been made at the General Meeting.

Union Council is a group of about 110 Councillors and Officers elected from the student population and has the power to amend Appendices to the Constitution. Council normally meets eight times per year in weeks 3, 6, and 9 of terms 1 and 2 and in weeks 3 and 9 of term 3. The meeting is run by the Chair of Council and the Deputy Chair of Council who do not normally vote (although the Chair will vote to break a tie). The quorum for Council is 50% of its current members. Council also conducts co-options for vacancies for various Union positions throughout the year (although not Sabbatical Officers).

The financial well-being of the Union is primarily the responsibility of the Executive Committee, which is a standing committee with 16 members. It consists of the seven Sabbatical Officers, the chairs of the Union's seven standing committees, and two non-portfolio Executive Officers. Executive members are the trustees of the Union Charity and are responsible for holding the Sabbatical Officers, as the Board of Directors of the Union companies, to account. In addition to this, the Executive has the sole power to pass Union regulations governing subjects such as finance, elections, sports clubs, and societies, as well as disciplinary regulations. The Executive Committee can also take the powers of Council in three exceptional situations: in an emergency when Council cannot meet, when the last three meetings of Council were inquorate for all of their length, or when Council or a General Meeting mandates the Executive to carry out a specific action.

On a day to day basis the Union is run by Sabbatical Officers elected by cross campus ballot. Currently there are seven Sabbatical Officers:

  • President
  • Deputy President and Education Officer
  • Commercial Development and Communications Officer (CDCO)
  • Finance and Internal Affairs Officer (FIA)
  • Societies and Student Development Officer (SSDO)
  • Sports Officer
  • Welfare and Equal Opportunities Officer

Affiliations

The Union is a constituent member of:

The Union is also a shareholder in the NUS Services Ltd (NUSSL).

Presidents

N.B. the dates in brackets refer to the academic year in which the President in question served. Where more than one President is listed for an academic year, their terms were consecutive rather than concurrent.

  1. Mike (Czeslaw) Kosniowski (1965-1966)
  2. Peter Shellard (1965-1966)
  3. Alan Hill (1966-1967)
  4. Tony Ward (1966-1967)
  5. Richard Clifton (1966-1967)
  6. Graham Webster-Gardiner (1967-1968)
  7. Tony O'Rourke (1967-1968)
  8. Alan Phillips (1968-1969)
  9. Michael Poulton (1969-1970)
  10. Trevor Griffiths (1969-1970)
  11. Will Fitzgerald (1970-1971)
  12. Kevin O'Donovan (1971-1972)
  13. Louis Paperis (1972-1973)
  14. Pete Ashby (1973-1974)
  15. Alistair Edwards (1974-1975)
  16. Kasper de Graaf (1974-1975)
  17. Jimmie Quinn (1975-1976)
  18. Phil Dixon (1975-1976)
  19. M. Whyte (1976-1977)
  20. Andrew Chalk (1977-1978)
  21. Phil Dixon (1978-1979)
  22. A. Watson (1979-1980)
  23. Frankie Devine (1980-1981)
  24. Robin Edwardes (1981-1982)
  25. Gavin Reddin (1982-1983)
  26. Richard Jones (1983-1984)
  27. Mike Moran (1984-1985)
  28. Tommy Webb (1985-1986)
  29. Andrew Woodhouse (1986-1987)
  30. Terry Durkin (1987-1988)
  31. Andy Shearer (1988-1989)
  32. Julia Offord (1989-1990)
  33. Ian Bradley (1990-1991)
  34. Alan Nott (1991-1992)
  35. Ian R. Corfield (1992-1993)
  36. Kevin Turnbull (1993-1994)
  37. Andy Poulter (1994-1995)
  38. Josh Wong (1995-1996)
  39. Jon Norburn (1996-1997)
  40. Jon Pycroft (1997-1998)
  41. Jo Scaife (1998-1999)
  42. Martin Biggs (1999-2000)
  43. Caitlin McKenzie (2000-2001)
  44. John Dubber (2001-2002)
  45. Greg Jones (2002-2003)
  46. 'Big' Bob Jones (2003-2004)
  47. Simon Lucas (2004-2005)

President-elect for 2005-6: Kat Stark

Students' Union building

The Students' Union got its first building, Union South, in 1975, after a long struggle with the University under Vice-Chancellor Jack (later Lord) Butterworth, who said to Will Fitzgerald (President of the Union in 1970-1): 'the Students' Union will never have its own building.' Union North, which primarily houses offices and meeting rooms was added in the 1990s and is linked to Union South by the 'link corridor.' The building contains a large social space with 8 bars — Grumpy John's, The Cooler, Cholo, Bottles And Shots, Bottles And Shots 2, The Graduate, Zippys (now called the Graduate Club), and Xanana's — as well as four coffee-shop-cum-food outlets — Rococo and South Central as well as the aforementioned Xanana's and Cholo.

Societies

The Union runs more Clubs and Societies than any other in the vicinity; currently there are 233 Societies (full list) (http://www.sunion.warwick.ac.uk/portal/societies/) and 74 Sports Clubs (full list) (http://www.sunion.warwick.ac.uk/portal/sports/Default.asp?url=CLUBSOCLIST&category=59), including a student newspaper, radio station, and television station.

Union Companies

The Union has two subsidiary companies:

  • Student Union Services Warwick Limited
  • Warwick Students Union Services Limited

External links

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