The battle of QMU constitutional amendments have seemingly come to an end with the expected amendment vote taken off the agenda.
QMU hosted its first online Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 30 October. It was first scheduled for April, but had to be pushed back due to Covid-19.
Originally slated as the showdown for contested amendments, the amendments were noticeably absent. Such amendments would have changed the Union’s structure, but controversially sought to remove life members voting rights and remove obligatory financial disclosures to the membership. They claimed that the amendments would amount to a full rewrite of the constitution. The amendments failed at the extraordinary general meetings, primarily because life members took a majority and could delay passage until a further EGM which did not achieve quorum, leaving it to the AGM which would have no quorum.
At the time of cancellation, president Courtney Hughes believed she would chair the meeting and be able to push the amendments. However, it was later decided current president Ruaraidh Campbell would chair the meeting and not put forward the amendments. Mr Campbell, in his manifesto, appeared to not support the amendments, though did desire structural changes with more consultation.
Ms Hughes had noted a change of opinion, especially regarding the life membership question. She believes that there were not appropriate mechanisms to consult life members, leading to the constitutional changes being made in a vacuum. She apologised to anyone who felt attacked by her original president's report.
Several life members were present and had various notes regarding Ms. Hughes position. One member believed that she had the mechanisms and claims to have offered help and suggestions, but these went unheard. Another member questioned the financial operations, as Ms Hughes tried several committees to manage the QMU finances without consulting wider membership or changes in bylaws.
Mr Campbell said the constitution needs to change, but did not go as far as to confirm a rewrite. Mr Campbell has formed a constitution and bylaws committee to look at these issues more in depth, and possibly approve new amendments. The amendments passed were the ones necessary to host the AGM online, a spelling correction, and an amendment to remove the quorum for EGMs under extraordinary conditions such as the pandemic.
Outside of the amendments, there appeared to be a more positive tone regarding the Union’s finances, as QMU noted a surplus of £79,000 from the start of the year until the start of the pandemic. There was a concern raised by members that the finance boost came at the expense of student projects and money coming from renting out the building, but their accountant argued that the boost came from the cafe and bistro. Also on the financial side, the Union said they were in discussion of recognising the Unite union within the QMU, but there apparently some roadblocks at the university level.
Other business included committee reports, which can be found on the QMU website, as well as election of non-student positions. The most interesting election of the night was that of Alexander Sandy to the position of honorary life member. Sandy is notably a dog.
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