CUSU to “pressure” for more representation

Colm Murphy 13 November 2015

On Monday 9 November, CUSU Council passed a motion to “pressure” the University to increase “absolutely necessary” student representation.

However, the University challenges the idea that permanent student representation on this committee is needed.

The motion, proposed by Magdalene JCR president Harry Gower and seconded by Sidney Sussex College Students Union president Annie Magee, called for “student representation at the University Bursars’ Committee.”

It claimed that it was one of the “three main intercollegiate committees”, and that it is “influential in University business and thus the lives of all students”.

The motion argued that representation on issues that affected students was “absolutely necessary”.

At the meeting, Fitzwilliam JCR vice-president Damiano Sogaro raised whether the student press would be invited, or whether they could ask the representative questions. Concerns about confidentiality were raised.

After an amendment, according to the minutes, the motion also called for “non-confidential information” in those meetings to be published to ensure transparency.

CUSU is now mandated to pressure the University. The motion also calls on all JCRs to present a similar motion at open meetings for their respective student bodies.

Speaking to The Cambridge Student, Gower welcomed the passing of his motion, saying he put it forward “because I believe financial matters to be an issue that affects all students at this university.

“At the current moment, there is a severe lack of student representation on an influential committee that can only be discussing issues that directly affect us. Hopefully, this motion will be taken forward by other JCR, MCR and autonomous campaign Presidents to their members and, if a large number show support, CUSU has a clear mandate to demand to be allowed access.”

He added that the Bursars’ Committee had an “extensive part” in  “both welfare and monetary issues” that affect students.

There is currently student representation on other intercollegiate committees, apart from the Bursars’, including ones for the University senior tutors and the colleges.

When contacted, a spokesperson for the University were said: "The Bursars' Committee is not a statutory committee of the University and it has no decision-making powers. Its main purposes are to promote best practice, to assist communication between the College and the University and to work with the other inter-collegiate bodies on the formulation of inter-collegiate policy.

"Any specific proposals which come from the Committee are taken forward by decision-making bodies such as College Councils and Governing Bodies, or the University Central Bodies or Sub-Committees. Students are fully represented on all those bodies." They added that CUSU and GU presidents annually meet officers' of the Bursars' Committee.