Inquiry into Senate

18 March 1969

'Sois jeune et tais toi' or 'Be young and shut up': French poster from the events in May

The issue of student participation in key decisions of the University continues to be a hot topic.  Guild Gazette today carries this report on a well-attended meeting of Guild Council last week:

An extra-ordinary meeting of Guild Council was held in the Childwall Room, March 10th at 5.15 pm, to discuss the participation by students in University government.

Nearly 300 ordinary members of Guild were present. The meeting began with a suspension of standing orders to allow the backbenchers to vote on the various motions.

Mr Richard Davies introduced the draft for participation. At two previous Council meetings, drafts which he had put forward were rejected as being inadequately prepared. Mr Davies said that at least they had stimulated discussion.

He went on to explain the governing bodies of the University as they are at present, and the representation that students have – practically nil – on the standing committees.

The “A” Society representatives were asked to report the opinions of their members on student participation. They appeared, however, to have had difficulty in finding out these opinions.

Mr Dave Robertson suggested that a staff-student commission should be set up to investigate the whole situation. He rejected the idea of ten students to attend the court, and twenty to sit on Senate, and Mr Frank Milner from Politics advocated a 33 per cent student representation.

The proposal for a commission, consisting of six University administrative staff, six academic staff, one postgraduate, two professors, two senior staff and six students elected at a Guild Council meeting was accepted.

The other specific proposals of Mr Davies were passed with little difficulty. They were that :

  1. Provision should be made for officially sponsored news-sheets to inform all staff and students in the individual departments of items under discussion.
  2. The agenda and minutes for all committees which affect the finance, organisation or policy of teaching and assessments, should be made available, on request, to any member of the University.
  3. Negotiations should commence straight away for significant membership on both Council and and Senate.

The extra-ordinary meeting of Council was, perhaps, the nearest that the Guild has reached to the principle of the Union being run by mass meetings. Some participation was possible from the floor, and a decision was reached at 10.30pm.

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Author: Gerry

Retired college teacher living in Liverpool, UK.

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