Lacklustre SUSU AGM fails to deliver

1st Jun 2011 - Andrew Howe

Steadily emptying cinema - Click to view a larger version This year's SUSU AGM failed to deliver, again. The disaster of last year's SUSU 2010 AGM continues to be felt today, with positions and business from that meeting still unfulfilled and carrying over to current Union Council meetings. It was thought that the sabbatical team would be able to learn from past mistakes and make the 2011 AGM success, however problems plagued the ill-fortuned meeting from the beginning.

The last AGM did not reach quorum (250 people) and as such was not able to function as an AGM, and did not have the power to make decisions. With low turnout a common problem for SUSU functions, especially the AGM, it is unbelievable that SUSU would have plastered the Union Building and campuses with posters advertising the AGM with the wrong date stated. The ugly and difficult to read font used only made matters worse.

Charlotte Woods

Charlotte woods discusses the rebrand

The AGM did not reach quorum yet again. This set the precedent for what was to be a redundant and fruitless meeting. The first sabbatical reports were normal, and then came Charlotte Woods (VP Media & Comms) with her infuriating report on the rebranding of SUSU. Despite opposition to the completely unnecessary and wasteful 'rebrand' of the Union, the sabbaticals decided to go ahead anyway. The new SUSU logo was revealed, a meaningless printed 'SUSU' with coloured speech-bubbles. When students and higher education is facing the greatest attacks of generations, why is the Students' Union spending time and resources on a rebrand? What was revealed was a Union enormously concerned with its cosmetic appearance, and a Union clearly with the wrong priorities.

The final blow came in the form of the unsuccessful Nestle Boycott motion. Despite good speeches and arguments from the Yes camp, the motion was defeated by blocks of No votes from Union Films, who showed up en masse, various Union Council officers, such as the LGBT Officer, and the entire sabbatical team. The Yes team had proof that they had popular support for the boycott, in the form of their successful petition. The fact that every sabbatical voted no clearly shows that the sabbatical officers do not represent the mass of students at Southampton University. The motion perhaps would have stood a chance, had it not been split into two votes. By splitting the motion into "giving students information on Nestle's practices" and "boycotting Nestle in the Union", the No team were clearly trying to look less like 'bad people' for voting against the motion, by supporting the first, successful, part.

With another useless, unrepresentative disaster of an AGM, some serious questions need to be raised about the effectiveness of SUSU as an organisation. Perhaps students at Southampton need to take the route of universities in London and around the UK, and set up an alternative, truly democratic student body.

Photos courtesy of SUSU

Come to our next meeting: Banner making, Tuesday November 1st at 19:30, Nuffield Theatre Room B