DCSA

Darwin College Students' Association

Easter 2017 Ordinary General Meeting and EGM

Easter 2017 Ordinary General Meeting and Extraordinary General Meeting

The Easter Term 2017 General Meeting of the DCSA took place on Tuesday 30th May at 20.00 in the Common Room. General Meetings happen three times a year and are an opportunity for all DCSA primary members to participate.

An Extraordinary General Meeting was also called and took place after the OGM. See point 3 below for details. 

 
Below:
 
1A. CANDIDATES STANDING FOR THE DCSA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AND HUSTINGS TRANSCRIPT
1B. VOTING IN THE ELECTIONS
2A. MOTION 1: TO HOLD A REFERENDUM TO APPROVE CHANGES TO THE DCSA CONSTITUTION
2B. MOTION 2: TO MANDATE THE DCSA TO NEGOTIATE WITH COLLEGE IN ORDER FOR NON-FEE-PAYING STUDENTS TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR COLLEGE BURSARIES AND GRANTS 
2C. TO MANDATE THE DCSA TO ENSURE COLLEGE DOES NOT MAKE THE DCSA PAY THE INVOICE FOR THE DISPOSAL OF PHOTOSOC'S CHEMICALS
3. EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING
 

 

1A. CANDIDATES FOR THE DCSA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (MANIFESTOS)

Five positions remain unfilled: LGBT+ Officer, Ents Officer, Events Officer, Sports and Societies Officer, and one College Council Rep. A second election will be held in late June, details will be released early/mid June. 

See below for the candidates' submitted manifestos and photos.

You can READ THE GM HUSTINGS TRANSCRIPT here.

 

PRESIDENT
 
Candidate: Luís Nobre (ln280)
Proposer: Thea Precht (tlp27)
Seconder: Elaine Gray (eg453)
 
 
Howdy,
 
I am Luis and I’ll be running for the position of DCSA President. I’m a second year PhD student in Medical Science who spends a fair amount of his time playing with herpes. From the start of my time at Darwin, I have been involved with the DCSA. Many of you will know me from my time as Ents officer having co-organised many events, including the “Eat your feelings” picnic and this year’s Freshers' BOP. I am highly organised, active and like to be involved with College life (having presented a lunchtime seminar, briefly worked the bar, tried rowing and even sang at a DCMS open mic night).
 
I have spoken to the current President, to understand what the role entails, and am confident I possess the necessary skills to be your representative. I look forward to this challenging position, as I believe it will be an extremely rewarding experience. Additionally, having worked with two DCSA administrations, I have a good understanding of the other DCSA positions.
 
As President, I will do my best to ensure Darwin College satisfies your welfare, social and intellectual needs and will coordinate the DCSA to deliver an exciting year!
 
Herpetic regards,
 
Luis
 
Words: 199
 
 
SECRETARY
 
Candidate: Daniel Dennis (djd49)
Proposer: Elaine Gray (eg453)
Seconder: Luís Nobre (ln280)
 
My name is Dan. Some of you may recognise me as the LGBT+ Officer for the DCSA, someone who often frequents the bar or just someone who is (almost) never in the study centre. I'm a first year Education PhD student and I’m running for Secretary for the DCSA. As Secretary I will endeavour to:
- Safeguard the constitution of the DCSA in all its business. Following a constitution is vitally important for the fair running of the DCSA year-on-year, protecting its reputation and preserving its future within the College. I have played an active role in the recent amendments of the constitution and feel best able to ensure its implementation.
- Ensure that the DCSA continues to reflect the needs, wants and views of the student body at the highest level of the College. I already have a good level of experience in this, including taking a leading role in the raising of the Rainbow Flag over Darwin for the first time, this February. I will work hard to protect the transparency of the workings of the Executive Committee to the student body with the timely preparation and distribution of comprehensive and accurate minutes.
Vote for Dan as Secretary.
 
Words: 200
 
 
TREASURER
 
Candidate: Christina Courréges (cjfc4)
Proposer: Adria Salvador-Palau (as2636)
Seconder: Stefan Winzeck (sw742)
 
My name is Christina, first year PhD student in Biological Sciences. I am running for the position of the DCSA Treasurer as I believe that this position, together with the Secretary and the President, has a huge impact on Darwin College and I want to actively take part in the process of shaping the College life for current and new members.
 
Since I joined Darwin College last year, I have been the treasurer of the Darwin College Wine and Cheese Society. This position gave me insights into the role of a treasurer and has motivated me to run for the DCSA Treasurer position. I have also talked to Stefan, the current Treasurer, who has familiarised me with the daily tasks and the annual budgeting.
 
As a scientist, I am an analytical person, who can deal with numbers and work in teams. Should I become Treasurer, I will strive for transparency, efficacy, and fairness.
 
A position within the DCSA will also allow me to take part in pivotal events of the College, such as the regular BOPs and the Welcome Week.  Taken together, I feel that I bring along the required skills to thoughtfully carry out the Treasurer's position.
 
Words: 198
 
 
WOMEN'S WELFARE OFFICER (3 CANDIDATES)
 
Candidate: Janna Hastings (jh2000)
Proposer: Francis Grant (fg344)
Seconder: Hannah Jongsma (hej33)
 
Hi, I’m Janna and I’m a second-year PhD student running for DCSA Women’s Welfare Officer. I’m applying because I love the spirit of Darwin College, there is a great sense of community and I would love to become more involved in the college and to support my fellow students. I’m an open, friendly and easy-going person. I studied psychology as an undergraduate and hold a certificate in counselling. As a student mom, I also have a good understanding of the challenge in balancing work-life commitments! I love to talk with people and understand that we are all individuals bringing with us our wonderfully diverse backgrounds and facing a wide range of different stresses and circumstances. If elected, I hope to support and promote the welfare of Darwin women and all Darwin students by listening, finding the right direction for any additional support you may need, and being your champion in raising the profile of hidden challenges. I particularly hope to work with the rest of the welfare team and the wider Darwin community to promote healthy strategies for dealing with stress, e.g. by running some positive stress management workshops in the College during the year.
 
Words: 195
 
                                                                                          
 
Candidate: Chloé Kattar (ck511)
Proposer: Hannah Jongsma (hej33)
Seconder: Amani Zalzali (az344)
 
I am aware as a History PhD student that living up to the high standards of Cambridge comes with many difficulties.
 
From my own experience, I can easily relate to two common aspects of graduates lives:  gender-based inequality in the field of research and mental health issues that can occur during studies, such as stress, anxiety and depression. My goal is to organize events and informative talks on these topics as well as personally help any Darwin student in difficulty by orienting him to the body systems offering welfare support.
 
I am also planning to direct my actions, not only towards women, but also towards other groups in challenging situations. Also, helping the DCSA team in any ways necessitated will naturally be one of my priorities too. I will naturally build up on the achievements of Hannah Jongsma, female welfare officer for 16/17 (PhD Buddy system and Thursday’s tea and cakes).
 
Also, being a Human Sciences student, not being affiliated to any lab, makes it very easy for me to always be around as a College resident. Actually, you can usually find me in the parlour, so come along and say hi!
 
Words: 192
 
                                                                                          
 
Candidate: Jezebel Mansell (kjcm2)      
Proposer: Elaine Gray (eg453)
Seconder: Daniel Dennis (djd49)
 
Hello, I’m Jezebel and I’m in the first year of my PhD studies. I’d like to run for the position of Women’s Welfare Officer.
 
I am approachable and a good listener, and helping people through difficult times in college is something I hope to do in any capacity, be it official or otherwise. I am happy to provide support in any form, from a chat over a cup of tea to providing points of contact for counselling and academic advice throughout the wider university.
 
As postgraduate students, many of us have few contact hours with supervisors and other students within our field, which is where Darwin’s strong community really comes into play. I would like to help develop and strengthen this community from the very beginning of life at Darwin, helping students to integrate and adapt to college life.
 
I would be thrilled to continue Hannah and Andrej’s fantastic work this year and am open to further student suggestions. I intend to work with the future DCSA Committee to organise talks on mental health awareness and support, and if the upcoming visit from stress-busting puppies is a success, I would be keen to repeat this (yes, I am offering puppies!).
 
Words: 200
 
 
MEN'S WELFARE OFFICER
 
Candidate: Aleix Gorchs (ag853)
Proposer: Elaine Gray (eg453)
Seconder: Thea Precht (tlp27)
 
Hi all,
 
My name is Aleix Gorchs, a second year PhD student in Plant Sciences. I am running for Men’s Welfare Officer.  In my first year in Darwin I was part of the DCSA as LGBTQ+ Officer and I realised the importance of the different position within the DCSA. Specially, I think that the Welfare positions are one of the most needed among the students. It is important that in each college there is a person that the students can talk to and discuss about personal and academic issues. Therefore, if I am elected Men’s Welfare Officer, I will be the reference point that students can approach to discuss anything. I am planning to continue the great work that has been carried our Welfare Officers such as the afternoon meet-ups or talks regarding mental health issues. Moreover, as a LGBT Officer I attended several workshops organised by CUSU on Sexual Health and Anxiety that were really informative and helpful so I intend to organise a few of these workshops together with the Women’s Welfare Officer and also other colleges.
 
Words: 178
 
 
INTERNATIONAL OFFICER (3 CANDIDATES)
 
Candidate: Binbin Wei (bw373)
Proposer: Guy Williams (gwew2)
Seconder: Dan Shan (ds735)
 
The international officer mainly has two responsibilities: speaking for the welfare of the international students and promoting the communication between students with different cultural background.  As a international student who studies in UK for the first time, I know exactly what we need to help us better integrate into the local community. One thing I have in mind for the new coming international students (Especially those who study abroad for the first time) is to find a UK buddy for them and organize several activities which they could attend together during the first few weeks. At the same time, I have great interest to know about different cultures, especially languages, which is one of the reasons that I apply for this position and will be a great motivation for me to undertake my duty well. Language exchange groups could be organized if many people show interest in this. Also, apart from the annual food festival, we could organize events like a international movie night in cooperation with the movie club. Events like Easter egg hunting during Easter holiday, making pancakes at pancake day, will also be organized during some UK festivals to get people know more about the UK culture.
 
Words: 200
 
                                                                                          
 
Candidate: Melanie Whitfield (mjw218)
Proposer: Chloé Kattar (ck511)
Seconder: Charlotte Tumescheit (ct518)
 
As a student at Darwin College, we are part of an international community. I have felt privileged to be granted the opportunity to meet people from so many different backgrounds to my own, but I can well understand the difficulties that accompany the brave decision to move here. For these reasons I have felt motivated to apply for this position.
In this role, I would focus on 3 key activities: hosting social events to aid integration like cultural trips if funds permit, weekly drop in coffee or board game meetings to discuss issues encountered during the week and finally to provide a pastoral role for students needing help adjusting to the new culture.
 
I have previously held positions of responsibility in organising a film club and as a Study Scheme Leader. This voluntary role involved providing pastoral support for a first year students. I will have a lecturing role for Chinese students visiting the UK this summer and currently I am treasurer of the Darwin Humanities Society.
As a local, I have the advantage that I can provide an insider's insight. I believe that it would benefit the college to have a local student as a welcoming figure
 
Words: 198
 
                                                                                          
 
Candidate: Ziyue Tracy Zeng (zz340)
Proposer: Lilong Zu (lx238)
Seconder: Kaiqiang Li (kl470)
 
Vote Ziyue (Tracy) For International Officer
 
Why International Officer?
• Desire to make Darwin a warm home for all the students
• Interested in various cultures
• Would like to help students who live far from their hometowns
 
Why me?
• As an international student from China, I am aware of the help and support needed by the international students
• Good at organising interesting events
• Cheerful and easy-going personality
 
My plan?
• Organising celebration events about the traditional festivals of different cultures
• Organising formals with themes about various cultures
• Organising mini classes about learning different languages
• Collecting international students’ opinions and suggestions about Darwin via both e-mail and letter
 
Words: 108
 
 
ADMIRAL OF THE PUNTS
Candidate: James Macdonald (jsm85)
Proposer: Michael Gale (mbg28)
Seconder: Marc Felske (mf596)
 
Hello I’m James, an MRes engineering student due to start a PhD in October and I’m running for Admiral of the Punts. I’m applying for this position because I’ve really enjoyed the punt club events I’ve been to and I believe I can make a positive contribution in the role. I would like to continue the work of our outgoing admiral with the aims of: creating an inclusive atmosphere, ensuring the financial health of the club and -most importantly- maximising college members’ access to and enjoyment of the punts. Specific goals are to: organise punting exhibitions around Cambridge and to Grantchester, look into creating a regular ‘just turn up’ event and to analyse the current pricing strategy for potential improvement.
 
I have spoken to the outgoing admiral, the porters and some of the current punt captains to get a realistic expectation of what the role will require. I am a keen outdoor sports enthusiast and have voluntary experience with a youth swimming group. I believe my experience of leading and tutoring with sports will lend itself to running the punting lessons. I have previously been involved in project management and held jobs involving handling cash and keeping membership lists.
 
Words: 199
 
 
COLLEGE COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVE
 
Candidate: Charlotte Tumescheit (ct518)
Proposer: Melanie Whitfield (mjw218)
Seconder: Chloé Kattar (ck511)
 
As a student council representative, I want to be actively involved in the college to ensure that our interests are voiced. I am sure I have the diplomatic skills necessary for this position and since I am involved in college life I am able to see issues people might bring forward to me and provide student insight to the College Council. The exchange between the students, the DCSA, and the college is vital to maintaining a good college life, so I am hoping to be involved and help to make the college the best possible place it can be.
 
I am a first year student and would like to fill the position either until November or for a year. 
 
My proposers are Melanie Whitfield and Chloé Kattar.
 
Best,
Charlotte
 
Words: 129

 

1B. VOTING IN THE ELECTIONS

The online election has been set up by the DCSA Secretary and the Returning Officer (the Bursar) will verify the results. 

Voting opens 12.00 31/05/17 and closes 23.59 02/06/17. Cast your vote here: https://www.vote.cusu.cam.ac.uk/dar-dcsa/16-17/eastergm/ 

 

 

2A. MOTION 1: TO HOLD A REFERENDUM TO APPROVE CHANGES TO THE DCSA CONSTITUTION

The DCSA Executive Committee is proposing amendments to the DCSA Constitution. The DCSA Constitution sets out rules for how the DCSA functions, including: the duties and terms of office for its officers, rules governing Executive Committee and General Meetings, how it deals with DCSA clubs and societies, how the budget is amended, and how amendments are made to the Constitution and Schedule and Regulations.
 
The amendments will make it easier for the DCSA to operate and to serve the needs of primary members. Primary members will benefit through the additional ways to hold referendums, additional ways to amend the budget, and fourth years and those with valid extensions will now be allowed to vote at GMs. The amendment to reduce how many non-primary members can participate in clubs and societies will ensure DCSA budget is focused on primary members, and the amendment to reduce who can use Darwin facilities also ensures primary members are given priority.
 
The changes range from major to very minor. The amendments to the Constitution can be seen in the document here and have been presented in their entirety for context. Red indicates the clause is to be changed (either edited or removed), green shows the proposed amendments, and yellow shows the explanations to the amendments.
 
In short, the major points to take note of are:
- Throughout the document: “fee paying members” has been changed to “primary members”. This amendment means fourth years and those with valid extensions are included in the term “primary members” and will be able to vote at GMs.
- 3.2 (p4): associate members can only use Darwin facilities if they are part of a Darwin club/society using the facilities.
4.3 (p5) and 10.5 (p13): the DCSA does not wish to be liable for the May Ball finances, should something go wrong with how they have managed their accounts; the amendments mean the DCSA will not manage the May Ball finances or be liable for anything they do. 
9.7 (p10): this amendment gives a way to hold a referendum should a motion be presented at a non-quorate GM or those in attendance feel those present and voting do not represent the views/attitudes of the entire student body.
- 10.4 (p12): this amendment allows budget changes to be presented at any GM, rather than only at the Michaelmas GM or at an Extraordinary GM. 
 
 
The motion to be voted on will be:
Do you support the proposed amendments to the DCSA Constitution?”
with the option to vote yes or no and an option to leave it blank.
 
The motion was presented at the General Meeting on Tuesday 30th May 2017, was quorate, and the changes passed by at least a two-thirds majority. Therefore a referendum has been arranged alongside the DCSA Executive Committee elections. Cast your vote here: https://www.vote.cusu.cam.ac.uk/dar-dcsa/16-17/eastergm/
 
This motion has been proposed by Elaine Gray (eg453) and seconded by Daniel Dennis (djd49).
 
If you have any feedback, questions, or suggestions please email the Elaine (DCSA President) eg453@cam.ac.uk.

 

2B. MOTION 2: TO MANDATE THE DCSA TO NEGOTIATE WITH COLLEGE IN ORDER FOR NON-FEE-PAYING STUDENTS TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR COLLEGE BURSARIES AND GRANTS

Darwin College offers several small bursaries and grants to its fee-paying students: hardship funds, travel grants, and sports bursaries. The reason that only fee-paying students can apply is because they are contributing to this pool of money through their fees. The reason is apparently due to the way accounting works and how fees and funds must be accounted for in the same financial period. The college’s (and university’s) financial year starts in July, which is why some of the deadlines are in June. But these imposed deadlines make it difficult for anyone in the later months of their third year to apply for funding. It means that someone could be paying into that financial pool for the last few months of their third year (i.e., July-September), but because there is not a travel grant deadline between June and December, it means they are not eligible for this funding after June. Therefore, the last chance PhD students have to apply for a travel grant is halfway through second year, which is not ideal. Fourth year is the time when many students are preparing for life after their PhD - often trying to attend conferences to share their work and network – therefore, travel grants would be of great benefit to them. Many fourth year students are not funded and any amount of financial aid will likely help, especially hardship funds, which can support the cost of living.
 
The proposal is for college to change the rules, so that non-fee paying students are eligible to apply and receive college funding. We acknowledge that there is an element of only being allowed to receive funds if you are contributing, therefore we would stipulate that fourth year students are only eligible if they have not received any funding from college before (in terms of the small grants and bursaries on offer). We would also stipulate that only those who have not yet submitted their doctoral thesis are eligible.
There does not seem to be a solid reason why a student who pays three years’ worth of fees cannot still be eligible to apply for bursaries/grants in fourth year, even if it is a different financial year. College acknowledges that there is not enough funding on offer for its students and is trying to improve this, but they should also acknowledge that students in fourth year are still part of the college and in as much need of support (if not more) as those in their earlier years of their PhD.
 
Proposer: Elaine Gray (eg453), DCSA President
Seconder: Thea Precht (tlp27), DCSA Secretary
 
 
 
2C. MOTION 3: TO MANDATE THE DCSA TO ENSURE COLLEGE DOES NOT MAKE THE DCSA PAY THE INVOICE FOR THE DISPOSAL OF PHOTOSOC'S CHEMICALS
 
Until January 2017 Darwin College used to have a darkroom in the Old Granary. The darkroom has been removed as part of the refurbishment, with no chance of it being replaced where it was. Therefore, the new plan had been to build a darkroom at 10 Barton Road, but due to how much it will cost to build the darkroom (~£16k), the plan now is to share a darkroom with King's College.
 
In January when the darkroom had to be cleared out, various photographic chemicals had to be moved. Due to inadequate labelling and expiration, storage of those chemicals would break health and safety legislation, hence College insisted the DCSA dispose of them. At the time, with the plan being for a new darkroom to be built at Barton Road, we thought some of PhotoSoc's budget could be used to help dispose of the chemicals, while PhotoSoc waited on the new darkroom being built (i.e. they wouldn't need budget for chemicals and papers until the next financial year). However, since the plan to build a darkroom at 10 Barton Road has changed, and it doesn't look like it's going to change back, PhotoSoc now need their budget for activities for the rest of the year and for materials (and chemicals), should they use the darkroom at King's.
 
While agreeing on the importance of health and safety, we however think college should pay the invoice for the disposal, as it was college who took away the darkroom and insisted on disposal. Especially, as it seems college did not care that the darkroom broke health and safety legislation and did not care about chemical storage, until the time came to get rid of them and someone had to pay the cost.
 
The DCSA disposed of half of the chemicals themselves, saving half the cost. We consider it only as fair that College contribute by paying for the other half of the chemicals, by paying the £387 invoice. Especially, as College is already saving ~£16k by not building a new darkroom, we feel £387 is a reasonable request.
 
Proposer: Stefan Winzeck (sw742), DCSA Treasurer
Seconder: Karoliina Pulkkinen (kjp41), PhotoSoc President
 

 

3. BUDGET AND EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING

An update on the 2016-2017 DCSA budget was be given - see here. If you have questions please email the DCSA Treasurer, Stefan (dcsa_treasurer @ darwin.cam.ac.uk). 

An extraordinary GM was called by Stefan Winzeck, DCSA Treasurer, in order to present motions to modify the budget.

The proposal for the EGM reads:
 
"In order to give societies the chance to get allocated further budget from the DCSA budget (if really needed), I would like to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting. During this meeting, I could bring along societies' application, seeking to extend their budget, so that Darwin College's student body will be able to vote for or against the budget allocations. Newly allocated money will exclusively be drawn from the buffer (money that has not been allocated at the beginning of the financial year, Nov. 2016). Common re-allocations within societies' own budgets will preferably not be voted on (to keep the meeting short), but be considered in the next DCSA committee meeting." 
 
The proposal has been signed by 10 fee-paying members. 
 

All clubs and societies have been given the chance to apply for additional budget (due to constitutional details this cannot happen during the OGM). Each club/society who has applied for extra budget should attend in order to explain what the money is for and to answer any questions anyone might have.

 

 

********************************************************************************

 

Approved minutes from past GMs and draft minutes from the Lent Term GM 2017 can be found here.

 

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