2014 General Meeting

Date of Meeting

2014 General Meeting

Date: Sunday 1st week, Michaelmas 2014 (2014-10-12)


  1. Denise and Maureen’s present (Max Dalton)
  2. 'Italian Town with Lake' by Paul Feiler (Will Aitchison)
  3. Table Tennis Bats (Xav Cohen)
  4. NUS Demo (Xav Cohen)
  5. Trans Awareness Talk (Rose Hadshar)

Denise and Maureen’s present (Max Dalton)

This JCR notes:

  1. That Denise has worked for the JCR for 20 years, and Maureen  has worked for the JCR for 30 years.
  2. That the JCR traditionally buys presents for its staff on special occasions.

This JCR believes:

  1. That Denise and Maureen are the backbone of the JCR, doing essential work throughout the year that keeps our services running.
  2. That such long and excellent service deserves reward.
  3. That yet-to-be-given presents should remain secret and unspecified in written records of a meeting.

This JCR resolves:

  1. To pass £70 to buy Denise and Maureen a present.
  2. To say a collective thank you for all of their work.

'Italian Town with Lake' by Paul Feiler (Will Aitchison)

This JCR notes:

  1. We currently own 'Italian Town with Lake' by Paul Feiler.
  2. It’s a valuable painting, valued at over 100 thousand pounds, and is thus too expensive to be kept in student rooms.
  3. There are currently vacant spaces in college where it could be displayed – either in the classroom in the renovated Buttery or in the Master’s Lodgings.

This JCR believes:

  1. Keeping the painting in the picture fund is neither safe nor offers students the opportunity to appreciate the work.
  2. While the Master’s lodgings are suitable, students would be far less likely to see the painting. The classroom in the Buttery will experience far more student traffic.

This JCR resolves:

  1. That the Buttery would be a more suitable location and the Messrs Picture Fund should work with college in order to see this carried out.

Amendment I [Richard Ware] (Passed):

Strike Resolves 1

Add Resolves 1: That the Messrs Picture Fund should gather information and College’s opinion on displaying the picture in the Ashmolean.

Table Tennis Bats (Xav Cohen)

This JCR Notes:

  1. Balliol JCR was given a table tennis table
  2. Will McCarthy laboured tirelessly at 6.30am to bring the table tennis table into the TV room
  3. The table is now assembled in the TV room and it came with 2 bats and 4 balls
  4. You can easily have 10 people playing on the table at once by playing certain games
  5. Buying at least 8 more bats would cost under £50

This JCR Believes:

  1. Although such sums of money can be passed by the committee at committee lunch, it's good for freshers to see how this process works.
  2. Table tennis will be a fun and active addition to the JCR, making for unparalleled library breaks for many JCR members

This JCR Resolves:

  1. To pass up to £50 for Xav to buy at least 8 table tennis bats - and maybe some balls too

NUS Demo (Xav Cohen)

This JCR Notes:

  1. Tuition fees and associated marketisation have decisively failed to create a sustainable funding system for universities.
  2. In order to fund tuition fees, the Government can now expect to loan in excess of £10 billion per year, much of which it will never recover.
  3. Fees act as a deterrent to access, making education seem unaffordable to some.
  4. Germany has recently abolished tuition fees.
  5. Recently, the National Union of Students voted to campaign for a new deal for education, that is free, publicly-funded, accessible, and funded by greater progressive taxation and clamping down on tax avoidance.
  6. Free education is also the policy of the University and College Lecturers’ Union (UCU), and the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
  7. Large public investment in access schemes, funded by this system, is a sustainable way to fund for the extremely vital access initiatives our university needs.
  8. Contrasting the model of free education adopted by Germany, UK Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians have made several statements calling for uncapped tuition fees, while our own Vice-Chancellor asked that fees be raised to £16,000 in a speech last year (condemned by OUSU at the time).
  9. The NUS is supporting a national demonstration for free education on November 19th.
  10. The success of previous campaigns NUS has run that OUSU has supported, such as the postponing of cuts to Disabled Students Allowance and the cancelling of the student loan book sell-off.

This JCR Believes:

  1. We face a clear choice in education funding: either our system is going to continue down the road towards an American-style model of private universities with uncapped fees, or we can take it closer to a German model of free, public and accessible education.
  2. The German model of free education is preferable to the current UK system of high fees, debt, cuts to staff wages, and privatisation of the education system.
  3. That we should join the campaign to fight for a better education system.
  4. Access is a public benefit, and as such requires a public-owned and funded education system rather than the current model of privatisation, fees and debt, which does nothing to incentivise good access schemes.
  5. That national co-ordinated action, through bodies like the NUS, is the best way to achieve national policy changes from political parties, as evidenced by recent campaign successes.
  6. With a year until the general election, there are clear opportunities to make substantial gains for students, if we put out a clear message and mobilise the movement.
  7. That the threat of uncapped tuition fees requires a strong response from the student movement.



This JCR Resolves:

  1. To support free education as a policy and the NUS campaign against fees and debt.
  2. To support the national demonstration for free education, and pass £50 from the JCR's political campaigning fund to help subsidise coaches to London for the national demonstration.

Amendment I [Caitlin Tickell] (Passed):

Adds Resolves 3: To mandate the Affiliations Officers and the JCR President to vote in favour of the similar motion being brought to OUSU Council on Wednesday of 1st Week.

Amendment II [Richard Ware] (Passed):

Amends Resolves II: Pass £100 instead.

Trans Awareness Talk (Rose Hadshar)

This JCR Notes:

1.     There have been no JCR organised talks specifically on trans awareness.

2.      Tanner Gibbins-Klein has agreed to give a talk on trans awareness in Balliol on November the 3rd.

3.      Tanner is a student at Bradford University.

4.      The trainline quotes £62.96 for the relevant return journey.

This JCR Believes:

1.      The trans community is important.

2.      The JCR should understand more about trans issues.

3.      Students are often strapped for cash.

This JCR Resolves:

 1.      To pass £62.96 to cover Tanner’s  train costs.

Amendment I [Rose Hadshar] (Passed):

Adds Resolves 2: To mandate the LGBTQ Officers to approach the Oxford Trans reps to speak at this event or a similar event.

Whole or partial self-identification [Rose Hadshar and Chessy Whalen]

This JCR Notes

1. Constitution 4.21: “In documents of Balliol JCR, including this constitution, "women'' shall refer to all those who self-define as women.”

2. That in 5th week of Hilary 2014, OUSU replaced “self-identifies as a woman” with “self-identifies, wholly or partially, as a woman or as transfeminine” in the redraft of their Bye-Laws

3. That the NUS uses “All who self-define as women, including (if they wish) those with complex gender identities which include ‘woman’.”

This JCR Believes

1. That gender is a spectrum

This JCR Resolves

1. Insert Constitution I 2.6: “Women shall be interpreted as including individuals wholly or partially self-identifying as women”.

2. Amend Constitution V 3.3g, VII 5.7, Standing Orders III 20.1a: replace “members who self-identify as women” with “members who are women”.


GM wk1MT14

We began the GM by Dan Turner [DT] explaining briefly the role of a GM, and the layout of a motion. He explained that procedure is sometimes legalistic, and indeed “annoying”, but that this is necessary for the fairness of the procedure.

  1. Denise and Maureen’s present (Max Dalton)

MD explained that Denise and Maureen are invaluable members of the JCR. They are coming up to twenty and thirty years of working for Balliol respectively, and committee members past and present have thought that this deserves a thank you. Following Duncan Shepherd’s “research”, MD thinks that we should buy each of them a present. RM confirmed that the £70 was a total, not each. The motion passed without oppostion.

2.'Italian Town with Lake' by Paul Feiler (Will Aitchison)

WA explained that this fairly valuable painting should be taken out of the Picture Fund and displayed either in the Masters Lodgings or the Buttery. Caitlin Tickell [CT] said that if we were essentially giving it to College we could ask for money. WA said that rather than giving it to College, he had thought of it more as the JCR wanting to put it somewhere safe. Rose Hadshar [RH] made the point of information that the Choir would benefit from the picture being in the Buttery as the Choir get a free drink in the buttery after Friday’s rehearsal. Richard Ware [RW] confirmed that the all JCR paintings are owned by the JCR not College. DT said that the College would not let the JCR sell it because they don’t like us to sit on lots of money (the painting is worth nearly £100,000. MD said that the JCR’s current savings were getting 0.07%, so the JCR selling it at the moment was probably not a good investment. Joe Mansour [JM] asked if College would actually let us put the painting in the Buttery. DT said that College had expressed a preference for the Masters Lodges or the Buttery. RH asked if the Buttery was good for preservation. WA said that as the Buttery was a bar then it could be and would be fairly easily regulated in terms of temperature. Tom Posa (TP) checked that the painting is insured, and would still be insured in a bar. DT said that where the painting is currently stored, it leaks.

There was opposition to the motion. RW is not “opposed opposed” to it being in the Buttery, but that if it was in the Ashmolean it would be better preserved, seen by more people, and possibly more lucrative.

RW brought the amendment to mandate the Picture Fund officers to “gather information on the possibility and logistics of having the painting moved to the Ashmolean or another Oxford museum”. WA accepted the amendment as friendly. There was a call to move to a vote. WA made a summary speech, in which he stated that having the picture in the Ashmolean had benefits which outweigh having the painting in College.

The motion passed without opposition.


3.Table Tennis Bats (Xav Cohen)

XC said that the table tennis is new, has two bats, one ball and is not being looked after well. XC has aspirations to play “Round The World”, which requires more bats. He has actually already bought more bats and balls so would really like the motion passed. RM asked how the bats and balls were being stored “wrong”. XC said that they are currently not stored. CT said that someone should find a cardboard box for the bats and balls. Matthew Lynch said that we should invest in “a couple of decent ones for people who want to take this to the next level”. XC said that this was “within his discretion”. Daisy Pearson [DP] pointed out that if someone wanted to take this to the next level, they could always buy their own bats. The motion passed without opposition.


4.NUS Demo (Xav Cohen)

XC said that this motion calls for the JCR to support free education, and to subsidise transport to the demonstration in London against education fees. He pointed out that this call for funding also applies to post-graduate education. XC also pointed out that the government are currently only getting 45% of their fee loans back. RH asked if the buses being funded would be for Balliol or Oxford. XC said Oxford, but that this could be discussed. MD said that the political fund currently had lots of money in and was not near its limit. RM questioned the relevance of the free education in Germany in this motion, and XC said that education in Germany was made free a few years ago following a demonstration.

CT brought an amendment to mandate the Affiliations Officer and the JCR Pres to vote in favour of the similar motion being brought to OUSU council on Wednesday of 1st week.

XC took the amendment as friendly. Alex asked how many people £50 would take to London. XC worked out that a coach that takes 60 people would cost between £6-£7 each, so not many people. RW asked MD how much the political fund would expect to have as an income. MD said that the fund was currently at about £800 so it would be good to run it down.

RW brought an amendment to raise the amount to £100. XC accepted this as friendly. Alex asked if we could retrospectively fund all Balliol students who go. DT said this would be feasible, but nothing more was done about this. There was no opposition to this motion. The motion passed.


5.Trans Awareness Talk (Rose Hadshar)

RH said that in the last GM of last term, we passed some motions about trans-awareness in the JCR. She thinks that the next good step would be to have a trans-awareness talk. Tanner Gibbons-Klein is a knowledgeable and highly appropriate person who is coming to Balliol to give a talk. We brought the amendment to “mandate the LGTBQ Officers to approach the Oxford Trans reps to speak at this event or a similar event”. RH said that Tanner will come anyway, but that he would appreciate the motion being passed. ML said that there is probably someone else in Oxford who could give this talk who would not have to buy an expensive train ticket. RH said that there was a value in having someone from outside Oxford to speak about this. The motion passed without opposition.


6.Second Reading of Constitutional Amendment [Rose Hadshar]

RH explained that in the constitution as it stands, we use the word “woman” to define people who “self-identify as a woman”. The motion passed last term was to change the wording to be “people who wholly or partially self-identify as women”. The motion was passed unanimously last term, so this second reading is just formal procedure. RM confirmed that the term “men” doesn’t come up in the Constitution. The motion was passed without opposition.