Thursday, May 25, 2006

NUS debacle - the Steering Committee response

Following on from my earlier post about the NUS National Executive trying to get out of the mess it's in, including the attempts by the NEC to pass the buck to the Steering Committee in the row about the recent NUS Conference not even discussing the matter, some of you may have seen this comment posted. With permission I reproduce it as a new post:

The Steering Committee at every stage ensured that there was time allotted to Emergency Motions on the Order Paper and on each revised Order Paper. This time allocation never was fewer than 20 minutes. Requirements under the Standing Orders were also observed for the prioritisation of business and the prioritisation of time allocated to main items. Delegates who sought advice on how to challenge the Order Paper for the purposes of moving the Conference onto discuss the Emergency Motions, received advice on how to do this. Those representatives who attended the Drafting Commission meeting for the Emergency Motions were also advised as to the process for how the Conference would deal with Emergency Motions and the process of how Order Paper challenges could raise Emergency Motions towards the top of the agenda, including being notified that there were priorities for debate as listed in Standing Orders.

Challenges were received to the Order Paper both on the Wednesday evening penultimate session and on the Thursday morning final session. One of these requested a ruling from the Chair of Conference on timing (for Elections and Emergency Motions) as the No-Platform Policy amendment had run on into time for Elections and the other was raised as a Point of Order requesting a Chair’s ruling on time allocation during the Coca-cola motion and amendments which the Chair of Conference again dealt with. In the latter case, the Chair asked the Conference if it wished to hear the case for the Point of Order. The case was put that (15 minutes of) time be removed from the Zone Debate on Society & Citizenship and allocated to the Emergency Motions time allocation. The Conference denied this request and the Chair of Conference ruled in favour of the Conference’s decision. This meant that the guillotine on the Society & Citizenship Zone fell at 13:42, leaving only 18 minutes of time allotted for the whole of Conference. Items remaining for discussion along with the Emergency Motions, included Estimates, the Accounts, Ratification of Liberation Conference Policy, the Policy Lapse, all of which are time prioritised above Emergency Motions in the Standing Orders.

The Steering Committee has met in a wash-up meeting, and has highlighted priorities which need to be addressed, both by the Steering Committee and other parties involved in the organisation of the Conference. The minutes of Steering Committee meetings are open to inspection by any Union and any student of the NUS for inspection at anytime including the allocation of time and discussion of the submitted Emergency Motions to the Conference in March 2006.

This statement should be read along with the full Steering Committee Report on Emergency Motions, which includes background information and details which explain some of the minutia. Other useful documents include CD15 The Order paper (Appendix A), CD19 The Steering Committee Report to the Conference (Appendix B) and CD22 The Minutes of the Conference (Appendix C).

Steering Committee, May 2006

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