Updates on Student Council

At the Student Council meeting of 27 February 2024 a procedural motion was brought to hold two emergency meetings of Student Council in week 8 to hear motions of no confidence against the President of Oxford SU. The procedural motion was passed, following an online vote, on Thursday 28 February 2024, with a view that the emergency meeting of Student Council would happen by Thursday 8 March 2024. The Oxford SU trustee board received the wording of the motion of no confidence at around 2pm on Friday the 1st of March 2024. 

The Board met at 8a.m. on Monday 4 of March to determine whether the motion could be heard by Student Council. In the Board's judgement, allowing this motion to be heard in this format, in the forum of Student Council, is incompatible with the Union’s legal duties (see Article 23.3 below*) as it relates, in part, to confidential legal and employment issues.  

On this occasion, there is contextual confidential information pertaining to individuals which members of Student Council and students are not and cannot be aware of, that has contributed to the Board's decision to seek further advice.  

The Board has instructed the staff team to seek legal advice in order to obtain appropriate guidance for submitting bodies on how an amended motion of no confidence can be heard. The advice that the Board has asked the staff team to seek is to be able to separate out which of the concerns listed in the motion of no confidence are legitimate employment, legal or HR issues which need to be removed and which are legitimate political concerns that can be heard. The Board has asked for this advice to be written and ideally sharable to the Student Council, with a view to ensuring that an appropriate motion of no confidence can be heard as soon as practicable. 

We have not been able to receive and consider this advice in time for Student Council to meet on Thursday as planned. As this Student Council meeting has only been called to hear the motion of no confidence, this means that the meeting cannot go ahead as planned at this time. We will continue working towards resolving this issue as soon as is practically possible. The proposer of the motion and the Chair of Student Council have been informed. 

Students can find out more about the Trustee Board, and its members here. The Board is made up of a mixture of external trustees with specific relevant skillsets, the sabbatical officers and student trustees. Members of staff (other than the sabbatical officers) are not trustees of the organisation. Trustees are required to declare conflicts of interest; trustees who declare or are known to have a conflict of interest in a particular agenda item are not involved in the decisions or discussions related to that agenda item. Decisions are made by majority vote and trustees bear a collective responsibility for any decisions made by the Board.   

*For clarity, Article 23.3 states that "the Trustees have legal duties as company directors and Charity Trustees, which include ensuring that Oxford SU’s funds are used prudently for purposes within the Objects. If a decision is made, or advice given by Student Members or by Student Council, which the Board reasonably considers incompatible with these duties (having sought advice where appropriate), it may be unable to implement or endorse the decision or advice, and at its discretion the Board may decline to do so. In this Article, “decision” includes, but is not limited to, a decision of Student Council, a decision by Referendum, or by resolution (whether ordinary or special) of Student Members at a Student Members' Meeting, or Oxford SU’s Policy."