Michaelmas Term 2001
Correction to Minutes
sabbatical Women’s Officer confessed that she had lost one page of
minutes from June 12th but promised to type up the ‘De-briefing’ section
for discussion and review.
News and Matters Arising
Formal Hall against Domestic Violence (at Newnham) was promoted.
Ellen (Corpus) mentioned the ‘Pink Formal Hall’ she was organising
Breast Cancer Awareness.
Rachel (Access Officer) mentioned the work on Childcare that the
sabbaticals had been doing since the summer.
Women’s Exec Elections
following candidates stood:
– Katy Allsop
– Suzanne Doyle
– Suzanne Tyrrell
– Amelia Bercussen
– Katherine Thompson
– Becky Mulcahy
4. Ordinary Motions:
Demo: Alison explained that it was an important NUS demonstration
and she would like to be mandated to work on it. There were no questions.
Colleges: Rachel explained that she had withdrawn the motion while
waiting to talk to the JCRs and MCRs in the Women’s Colleges. We had
general discussion about the issues surrounding women’s academic
underachievement following the Varsity editorial, and the focus on
campaign on it for Lent when the University report is released. It
specifically mentioned that such a campaign should take into account
only women’s academic underachievement in the narrow sense of the
Tompkin’s tables etc, but the value of non-academic achievement in
Cambridge and the importance of other factors eg support systems in
There were no emergency motions.
CUSU Council motions
was decided to try an approach in which discussion of the CUSU Council
motions was kept brief and only those which the Council wished to
would be brought up in full. As a result, as five of the six motions
judged to be relatively straight forward, most discussion on this
focussed on the war motion. While some people felt that it was relevant
Cambridge students to discuss the international situation in response
often being asked for a stance on it by the media etc, others felt
an inappropriate motion to put to Council as any stance on the war
inevitably alienate many students.
Mary plugged the brilliant new website and took photos of the new
Alison urged everyone to take biscuits!
Corrections to minutes
was decided that due to delayed distribution of the previous meeting’s
minutes corrections would be deferred to the beginning of the next
News and matters arising
Sarah (Trinity) appealed for a venue for self-defence and aerobics
classes. Trinity have a person willing to run classes free of charge,
which would also be open to members of other colleges. Becky (Sidney)
suggested a possible venue at her college.
Action: Becky to investigate availability.
Christine promoted the forthcoming web publication of Gender Agenda
and asked women’s officers to publicise it within their colleges by
putting up posters and distributing flyers. Response to request for
articles has been good but there is still time for additional material
provided it is submitted in well before the publication date of 21st
November. At the next meeting of Women’s Council there will be further
discussion on how best to promote the publication and use links.
Action: Women’s Officers to promote Gender Agenda in colleges
Apologies were made for Rachel (Access Officer) and it was noted that
the motion on women’s colleges is currently being prepared. Also the
external report of academic under achievement is due for release in
February. This should be a great opportunity to make a big splash,
triggering debates, raising awareness and hopefully encouraging colleges
to admit problems and seek solutions
Alison reported that the University had not been particularly helpful
with regard to childcare proposals and that the Childcare Conference
had been postponed until Lent term. Hopefully a meeting will be organised
towards the end of this term. It was reported that an event for mature
students held on Sunday 3rd November, had been successful and well
Preparations for the NUS Women’s march were reported to be well underway
with a banner having been produced and a good number of tickets (to
date approx 30) sold. The demonstration will be a great chance to
meet other women’s officers, be seen and listen to interesting speakers.
Action: Final push for ticket sales and all those attending to do
so, an enjoyable event in prospect!
Report from CUSU Council and other Committees
informed the Council that all the motions had been passed except the
Anti-war motion where a decision was not reached due to the large
number of abstentions. This matter is to be discussed again – it was
suggested that Alison’s vote should reflect the response to the Women’s
Council motion on Afghanistan (see below)
Women’s Exec Elections
following candidates stood, by a declaration read in their absence:-
Campaigns Officer: Sexual Health Jo Read (Newnham)
Black and Asian Women’s Rep Susi Henry (Emmanuel ?)
To push posts of International Women’s Rep and Website Officer in
Ordinary Motion – Afghanistan
explained the reasoning behind the motion – since the issue will arise
again at CUSU we should take our own stance now. It was made clear
that rejecting the motion expressed a lack of policy on this issue
rather than a pro-war stance. Concern over the nature of RAWA’s popular
rebellion was expressed and Anna informed the Council that the organisation
was well established, not naïve and forced to work under extreme
pressures. The ‘popular rebellion’ was a means of seeking an interim
solution in the current absence of free elections and democratic government.
were no emergency motions
CUSU Council Motions
As proposed in the previous meeting, the motions were dealt with briefly
unless they were considered controversial.
Alison agreed to raise, by proxy, whether requests for photographs
taken at CUSU meetings needed to be made on paper or could be done
The student surveillance motion provoked a rather alarmed response
to the issue of the University reading private e-mails but it was
decided that this was at least partly justified as a measure of protection.
In any event, the general consensus was that it was desirable for
the University to be open about such policies.
There was general discussion about the motion for the abolition of
the charitable status of private schools. While there was general
agreement that everyone should have the right to the best quality
education available, some people were concerned that the notion misunderstood
the notion of charitable status or that it would not necessarily make
a big difference to the funding of state schools. There was also some
feeling that it may be inappropriate for CUSU to be issuing motions
of a political nature in a stand-alone fashion rather than in response
to current media or government discussion of such policies.
Motions for Target on Tour and Creation Events were dealt with swiftly.
There was discussion over the best way to create college e-mail lists
for women and graduate women. Alison offered her support in other
ways of communication such as pigeon-holing and IMAS.
"I’m not a feminist but… " on Tuesday 13th November was
promoted, noting that it was an event for both male and female students.
cancelled due to the ill health of the Women’s Sabbatical Officer.