Anyway, since I've been home, a number of things have happened. Firstly, the EMC of QUBSU (made up of sabbatical officers and union management) asked me to go to a meeting to decide what would happen to me, essentially. They'd been telling the press and anyone who asked that QUBSU Council would 'decide my punishment', but then tried to change their minds. Below are the emails that were sent:
A Special Meeting of the Executive Management Committee is to be convened to consider the recent events at the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) Congress.
I have been asked to ascertain whether or not you would be available to attend such a meeting at some point between 11.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. on Friday 26 April 2013.
If the above scheduling is unsuitable, can you please indicate those dates and times when you would be available during the week beginning Monday 29 April 2013?
I'm a little confused. Why am I being asked to go to a meeting with only the executive rather than in front of council?
The Executive Management Committee will consider the matter initially.
If that Committee takes a decision that you wish to appeal, the Council will consider your appeal and make a final determination.
I then said that going a meeting where the people who decided to throw me out would decide my punishment was beyond ridiculous and undemocratic.
If you are invited to attend a Special Meeting of EMC to consider this matter and you choose not to attend, this is your right but the meeting is likely to proceed in your absence.
If you are unhappy with any decision that is taken at this Special Meeting, you may appeal to the Council.
I would strongly recommend that you take advantage of all of the possible opportunities to put your side of things but, ultimately, this will be a matter for yourself to decide.
I've gone away and thought about some stuff and I'd like to know in advance before the meeting:
- A copy of the written procedures governing this and how a session like this should be run
- Whether they're planning to run the session with the sabbs who took the original decision participating (other than as witnesses), seeing as they're the ones who took the decision in the first place
- A specific wording of charges I'm specifically being asked to answer or offence I'm being asked to respond to
- Who will be participating on EMC
- If something were to be brought to a disciplinary committee or appeal within the university, then a book of evidence, containing details of all relevant evidence and procedures, has to be provided to the student and all members of the panel - everyone should get the same material, so I think it is reasonable to request this.
He then said he'd forward on my comments to the union president (sent on 18th April).
On 26th April, I received this:
I have been asked to inform you that, after due deliberations, the Executive Management Committee has decided to refer this matter directly to Council to be discussed at the Annual Business Meeting on Tuesday 7 May 2013.
The Council will be asked to consider the following propositions:
On Monday 25 March 2013, at the Annual Congress of the Union of Students’ In Ireland, Aisling Gallagher, acting solely in her capacity as a delegate of Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union, cast a vote that opposed live Queen’s Students’ Union policy when voting on a motion entitled “Engaging with the Abortion Rights Campaign”.
On Tuesday 26 March 2013, at the Annual Congress of the Union of Students’ In Ireland, Aisling Gallagher, acting solely in her capacity as a delegate of Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union, cast a vote that opposed live Queen’s Students’ Union policy when voting on a motion entitled “Crisis Pregnancy Agencies”.
At Council the Union President will outline the case against you. You will then have the opportunity to state your case. Following this there will be another opportunity for both you and the Union President to speak on this matter. Subsequent to this Council will be given two motions to vote on, detailing potential sanctions for your actions. The two options will be as follows:
1. To bar you from attending any conference organised by a national union as a QUB SU delegate for the 2013/14 Academic Year.
2. To bar you from attending any conference organised by a national union as a QUB SU delegate for the 2014/15 Academic Year.
We feel that it would be inappropriate for Council to take a decision in relation to your deposit for attending USI Congress. You can therefore collect this from the general office on the 2nd floor of the SU at your convenience.
If you seek any further guidance please get in touch.
So, essentially, QUBSU Council gets to vote on whether or not I'm to be banned from going to any more conferences (amusingly, next year will be the last year of my degree- but it appears they think I'm planning to stay on once I'm done).
Thing is, can they actually do this? There's nothing in the constitution about this (or about any of the mandate stuff that caused the problem, either), and I don't exactly see how they can stop students standing in elections to be delegates. I mean, regardless of whether the motions pass or fail, I don't see how they can just DO this.. and it seems a lot of other QUBSU students don't understand it either.
The meeting will take place in the Space in QUBSU at 6pm on Tuesday 7th May (as far as I'm aware), so any support in the form of people coming to the meeting would be great (and there's free pizza, too).
The thing that gets me is that they're bringing up rules that are literally pulled from thin air. Plus, I already spent three days of a conference in a hotel room following the twitter feed when I should've been on Congress floor representing the students who sent me there- isn't that punishment enough?