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By comment-editor on 18.5.2023

The Union Council Blog- 8/5/08

Hello and welcome to the Union Council blog! I hope that this will allow you, the ordinary student, to see inside the entertaining world of Kent Union student politics, especially through this monthly, 40 odd representatives meeting, otherwise known as the ‘Union Council.’

This month’s meeting promised to be a controversial one, mainly due to the nature of the motions presented, and it didn’t disappoint. The length and depth of the discussion and the intrigue prevalent during the council is a testament to that.

The action kicked off with an accountant’s wet dream; a presentation of the draft budget by Kent Union’s director of finance, Peter Cole. He thus led us on a financial journey of monetary proportions, guiding us through the peaks and troves of the union’s budget. Apparently, the union slumped to an £300,000 deficit in 2004, after poor financial performance from 1999 onwards. However, from 2005 to today, the union has amassed a budget surplus to between £50,000-70,000. This ensures Kent Union’s reserves are up too, or its rainy day money needed in emergencies and for continued growth. However, the thing to note is that the union is still heavily reliant on the university through its block grant money despite increase in the turnover made from the union’s licensed trade outlets. According to Mr Cole, the increasing budget surpluses of the union would have very much bigger to warrant any capping (about three quarters of a million), as the money is needed for growth and financial security, whether the union has charity status or not. The main aims of the union is thus to continue to expand its commercial services and decrease its financial reliance on the university. As is expected, the cost involved in refurbishing bars like Woodys and Rutherford have led to the union needing to ‘drive contribution’ from these places in order to ‘maximise the benefit of the refurbishment programmes.’ Such programmes for the future involve the refurbishment of the Venue’s toilets, wish I truly welcome, as one is tired of standing in pool of urine while urinating into a broken latrine.

Following on from this, I have heard from several fellow students disputing the ‘not for profit’ status of the union, especially concerning Essentials. However, this time it was raised by that honourable mature student’s officer, Shaun Nichols, concerning the summer ball. The tickets are priced at £45, and he expressed a worry at the expense of it. In response, the president stated that the absolute minimum the tickets could go for would be £41, considering the costs involved. The extra added on £4 is in case the tickets were undersold.

The first motion to be aired was that concerning student parking and highlights the on-going struggle between the forces of the union, led by our president Archike, and the university and Estates over car parking spaces and the expanse of Parkwood. The unanimous passing of the motion guarantees that the Union will do its utmost in campaigning, to ‘defer the university’s decisions’ to ban student parking on campus. The second motion, facetiously if not frustratingly put as ‘Motion to ensure the sports clubs can be set up on Satellite, Associate, and Partnership Colleges. Again’ also passed easily to the relief of the council considering a similar motion faced complications in the last council. The motion gives societies in other colleges or institutions associated with the University of Kent the autonomy to set some of their own rules.

Next, was an eagerly awaiting motion looking to pass reforms of the JCC after a JCC review looking to modernise it through structural changes. The reforms outline that the JCCs can instigate their own individual constitutions but at the same time adopting new policies laid down by the review. The motion was amended firstly by Rutherford JCC president Helen Palmer, who explained that the JCCs want to have the same core constitution to bind them together somewhat and anything extraneous to that could be put in and amended by individual JCCs themselves. The core constitution has to be in line with union recommendations, to be voted in at the next AGM. Secondly, Parkwood president Ben Tipple added a media officer to the list of committee members needed for the core constitution, to deal with press, publicity, inQuire and CSR. After much confusion about the issue constitutionally, the motion passed. Ben Tipple sees this as a start in changing the perception of the JCC for the better, and hopes the reforms will go even further next year. Having written a lot on the JCC this year, I share his sentiments.

The last motion of the council involved the election of the union chair. The education sabbatical, Tom Christian, spoke in favour of the need for the union chair to be elected at the last union council so that the person elected for the role has the summer to be trained comprehensibly in constitutional union matters. The debate heated up with Keynes JCC president, Tom Page arguing against the motion, suggesting that this year’s council has no right to dictate who the next council’s union chair will be. After much contention this motion passed too. The next union council will therefore now involve the election of the union chair amongst other things.

That’s it for this month, folks, tune in next month for another exciting union council blog, the last one of the academic year.

Comments

  • It gives a reason for the price of the ticket. Any less and it would be costing the union rather than breaking even.

    Many students don’t believe that the union didn’t make any profit from the summer ball. So maybe it is something to point out.

    By Lauren Granville on 23.6.2023

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  • We shouldn’t have to mention it, Kent Union is known to be a non profit organization anyway.

    It is expected of them, no need to indicate something that should already be.

    By events-editor on 27.5.2023

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  • You forgot to mention Zain, that the Union make absolutely no profit on the summer ball, and the cost of the tickets is so that they break even.

    By Lauren Granville on 24.5.2023

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