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Minutes of the NPC Ordinary General Meeting held in the Psychology Building, University of Essex on
Saturday 13 November 2005

Prior to the main meeting, Harpreet Singh provided a training session and Francis Vella (President of EuroDoc) presented a presentation on what NPC would need to do to put in a bid to host EuroDoc conference 2007.

The OGM started at 4:12pm with Marilyn Shanks in the Chair.

1)Sederunt

Delegate Members:

Stephen Abbots - Aston University (voting from end of item 3)

David Bean - St Andrews University (temporary variation)

Margaret Davine - Mature Students Union (from item 5.6)

Brian Duggan - Warwick University
Alex Higgins - Sussex University (voting from end of item 3)

Iain Long - University of London Union

Chris Norris - University of Nottingham

Alastair Osborne - UWE

Phillip Pearson - University of Essex

Anish Sahu - Lancaster University


Associate Members:

Simon Felton - NPC General Secretary

Andre Oboler - NPC Minutes Secretary

Lade Robinson - NPC Project Officer

Tim Roll-Pickering - NPC Treasurer

Marilyn Shanks - NPC Chair

Harpreet Singh - NPC Ordinary Executive Officer

Honorary Life Members:

Peter Campbell - NPC Constitutional Subcommittee

In attendance:

Erich Kofmel - University of Sussex

Simon Matthews - University of Surrey

Anna Morgan - London School of Economics

Mustafa Organ - University of Leeds

Benson Osawe - NUS International Students Officer

Jessica Spain - University of Essex

David Thurkettle - Keele University

Francis Vella - EuroDoc

Xin Rong Wang (Sherry) - University of Essex

Simon Matthews - Pyschology Postgraduate Public Affairs Group

Apologies:

Duncan-Philip Connors - University of Glasgow

Jim Ewing - NPC Past General Secretary

James Groves - NPC Constitutional Subcommittee

Katie Harper - University of Southampton

Dries Neirynck - University of Bristol


Apologies were also received from delegates for York, Cranfield, and Staffordshire.

The Chair issued voting cards to members.

The following new delegate members were present:

David Bean - St Andrews University (temporary variation)

Brian Duggan - Warwick University

Iain Long - University of London Union

Chris Norris - University of Nottingham

Alastair Osborne - UWE

Phillip Pearson - University of Essex

Anish Sahu - Lancaster University

It was later observed, with regret, that the meeting had not been given the opportunity to formally ratify these new members.

The chair mentioned the equal opportunities policy. The equal ops officer Lade was introduced and it was suggest questions on equal ops be directed to him.

The chair welcomed members.

2)Minutes of previous meetings

2.1) NPC Annual General Meeting, 13/8/05, Strathclyde

It was suggested one of our officers names had been consistently mis-spelt. Ishmael should be changed to Ismail through out the minutes and on website.

On page 7, item 5.4 the meeting was informed that we had now switched to the Scottish YHA.

The minutes were ratified with 5 for, 0 against and 1 abstention.

The Minutes Secretary queried whether correct procedure was being followed for accepting new members or temporary delegates. The chair informed the meeting that we would not go through those procedures at this point. It was questioned whether all apologies had been received, and the chair agreed to collate any additional apologies after the meeting.

2.2) NPC Management Subcommittee meeting, 3/9/05, Aston

Page 16: Stephen Abbots and Harpreet Singh asked that the distance between the conference centre and the accommodation be changed. After some debate between them they requested the minutes be changed to read between 2 and 3 minutes rather than 10 minutes.

The minutes were ratified with 3 for, none against and 3 abstaining.

3)Matters arising from the minutes

The affiliation of Sussex was raised. Sussex said there had been a mix up and Sussex had paid for 1 year but it was counted as outstanding for the previous year. Last year there was no Postgraduate Association. The PGA has been non-existent for the past 5 years, while the SU kept paying NPC affiliation.

Treasurers ruling: fee paid be considered a deposit for this year and recommended that Sussex be considered an affiliate for this year.

Aston affiliation was queried as NPC owed them for accommodation, and theyd like this counted as a deposit, similar to Sussexs case.

Chairs ruling: affiliation referred to a vote of the committee.

Vote on Sussex & Astons affiliation: for 6, against 0, abstain 0 Motion carried.

Erich Kofmel nominated Alex Higgins as the delegate for Sussex. Stephen Abbots and Alex Higgins were issued with voting cards by the Chair.

On the MSC minutes, item 12.25 it was asked if the costing for producing CDs had been done. Tim responded that discs are cheap, jewel cases and labels are quite simple. It was stated that this would be a do it yourself job. A full costing will come to the MSC meeting.

Simon announced that he has designed some posters, which will be presented later.

The EuroDoc budget action item was queried. The Chair said this would not be discussed at this point in the meeting.

4)Motion: International Student Festival

David Bean took the chair for this item. Duncan Connors had proposed the motion but it lacked a seconder and Duncan was not present. As Duncan was not present, Alex Higgins proposed the motion (as written in the meeting papers) from the floor.

Benson offered to speak in favour of the motion. He stated he was the delegate from NUS. The Treasurer queried this, and Benson was asked to present his authorisation. Benson stated he was not aware it was needed. The Treasurer reminded Benson that hed been informed of this requirement on many occasions. Benson did not pursue the matter further. The Chair ruled that he could speak on the item.

Benson stated that the motion is to integrate postgraduates with the local society. Benson said that NPC has stated that it has not engaged local students in the last few years and needs to do something to become visible to them. Benson stated that passing this would promote NPC.

CISs status as an organisation was queried. It was asked if CIS was a charity. Benson clarified that it is in a non-profit organisation but not a charity.

The Treasurer said he cannot sign off a cheque until consulting the auditor. He also stated hed get legal advice.

Benson stated that the Gen Sec and MSC should be actively involved not simply signing off on it. Ben stated that the national event was projected to have around 2000 students plus regional events.

An amendment to remove the final clause referring to money was proposed.
Benson stated that without giving the 500 pounds, NPC could not participate in much of the activities. DfES has given 5000, other organisations have given money.

The amendment was put to a vote: 3 for, 4 against, 1 abstaining. The amendment fell.

It was suggested that a cultural rather than national event might get more involvement. A delegate suggested that Postgraduate Associations should do this locally.

A delegate requested further information on CIS; the meeting was informed that they are an affiliate body to NPC and have the same status to NPC as NUS. It was also clarified that they have been around since 1998 and are not a new organisation.

A delegate suggested that given discussion on postgraduate needs being different, NPC should be present on the organising committee and planning stages. It was suggested that this be added as an amendment.

New Resolves: subject to the agreement of the CIS to allow the NPCs involvement in the planning stages of the festival. This was accepted as a friendly amendment by Benson; the proposer of the motion did not comment, but there was general consensus on this point.

A procedural motion to move to a vote was called; the chair announced he was moving to a vote anyway.

The motion was voted upon: for 4, against 4, abstain 0.

The deciding vote went to the chair, who deliberated and then decided to carry the motion. The motion passed with the addition of the friendly amendment.

Marilyn resumed the chair.

The Chair set a guillotine of 6:30pm.

5)Reports

5.1)Treasurer Tim Roll-Pickering

It was queried why some institutions had not paid, particularly from some institutions that have officers on NPC. Tim replied that the payment was not due for a long time, so some affiliates put it off.

Tim updated us that Coventry and Leicester have paid up for Conference 2004 and Lancaster has now paid its 2005/6 affiliation fee..

On publication costs, it was queried if wed investigated other sources to compare prices with Andrew Green. The Treasurer said yes, but they were all more expensive.

It was questioned if progress had been made in investigating diversifying NPCs income. The Treasurer replied that he was pursuing contacts.

Outstanding payments from students who attended conference were a concern. The Chair reported that a form had been created and things would be followed up much earlier next time.

Conference 2005 accounts are still in progress.

Total income is calculated as a fraction of affiliation for the year. It was felt by some that this is not clear or useful. It was suggested that a comparison of this time last year would be more useful than a fraction. It was requested if a graph of financial health over the past few years could be created; the Treasurer replied he would do this.

The purchase of services was clarified as being payment to Andrew who we contract.

The financial report was put to a vote: for 8, against 0, abstain 0. The report was accepted unanimously.

5.2) General Secretary Simon Felton

The General Secretary welcomed new members.

He reported that we had lost Kent and Oxford. UEL are in talks about affiliating. Paisley have committed to affiliate.

It was queried who had joined and left over the past years and the General Secretary agreed to produce a report on this. Kent was discussed as an example and the situation there explained.

The weekly reports from the Gen Sec were mentioned, these will go on line.

It was reiterated that a graphical list of who joins and leaves would be useful.

Benson Osawe questioned the level of Manchesters fee, which had risen significantly in recent years. He asked if Simon had visited Manchester. Following much discussion of past relations with Manchester, Simon replied that he had plans to visit Manchester soon. The meeting was moved on.

NPCs position on visa extensions was queried. Simon responded that NPC was supporting the Aldwych group and NUS.

5.3) Conference Secretary Stephen Abbots

An MSC meeting was held at Aston earlier in the year. Discussions with senior people in Aston have also taken place. Most things including the meal can take place on campus, or could be held else where. It was suggested that the trip should happen on the Sunday rather than the Saturday.

Stephen gave apologies for the following day which hed be unable to make.

5.4) Communication Officer Duncan Connors

Duncan was not present (apologies sent), however the chair updated his report adding that Duncans plans are to start doing an e-version of PN rather than or instead of a paper one.

Harpreet added that when NPC does a response to a policy document no one sees it. Duncan has suggested putting together a one page summary for people to see to go on the website, and be mailed to media and student media as well as when feasible being published in PN.

5.5) Equal Opportunities Officer - Lade Robinson

Lade said hed been building new equal ops policies. While hes been busy over last few months with other things, he hoped to do more NPC work in the coming months.

5.6 Project officers

David Bean

David explained the project officers role before introducing his project (as submitted).

A delegate questioned if we didnt already know the answers to these questions. David said that a lot of studies skirted around the issue but nothing goes to the heart of it. Reports on this topic so far have been more academic in nature and this report would be more practical.

Margaret Davine (delegate member for MSU) enters at 5:55pm.

The method of a questionnaire was queried, phone interviews were suggested as another option. It was suggested that the methodology used should be easily replicated so it can be updated. The sample questioned was considered very important and David felt postgraduate non-sabbs the best sample.

Chair asked if there were any objections to the report. There were none.

Katie Harper

Not present. Simon reported that Katie was very busy in her own sabbatical post but doing some work on this project.

A delegate raised a question of why they hadnt heard if it was being set up as a network. It was explained that the project was starting in Southampton and expanding out.

Vote to accept report and project: for 8, against 0, abstain 1.

Dries Neirynck

Dries also sent apologies as he was required at an academic conference.

Simon reported that Dries ran a session in Bristol with him. If other unions are interested and hosting a session they should get in touch. It was noted that Dries project and Katies could be delivered together.

It was suggested that Dries and Katie need to let people know there is the opportunity there.

Vote to accept report and project: for 9, against 0, abstain 0.

Ismail Malik

No report submitted. Proposed project was in intellectual property rights. So far he has looked at Cambridge.

An MSC member noted that all project officers (except Katie) were mandated to produce a time schedule for their projects. The Chair noted that Ismail had not sent apologies. If he failed to submit them to the next Management Subcommittee meeting he would be deemed to have resigned.

5.7) JGE

Report submitted by Martin Gough. No one was aware of any additional information. A delegate requested back copies of JGE.

Vote to accept report: for 9, against 0, abstain 0.

6)Elections

Ordinary Executive Officer of NPC
Candidate: Erich Kofmel
Hust: Erich had been a national officer in Switzerland, was involved at post grad level in South Africa, would like to be involved in the UK.
Vote: for 9, against 0, abstain 0 (elected unanimously).

Mature Students Union Conference
Delegate Simon Felton
Observer Andre Oboler
Voted en bloc, elected unanimously.

UKCGE Conference
Simon Felton, elected unanimously.

Eurodoc Conference delegates
Male delegate:
Simon Felton 8
Lade Robinson 1
Simon elected.

Election of a female delegate deferred to the MSC the position would be advertised to the list.

The guillotine was extended to 6:45pm.

7)Any other business

Benson Osawe raised the right of appeal and how most international students are postgraduates. For PhDs they are often given visas for 3 years. Also students who are refused have to start a new application which must be done 3 years in advance this means starting the following academic year. In the past few years the right of international students has been eroded. Benson said he wanted to highlight the problems international students face. The festival is only one way to do this. In 2006, new policy for the next five years will be discussed by the government.

8)Closing remarks

The Chair thanked people for attending and closed the meeting.

Minutes were taken by Andre Oboler, NPC Minutes Secretary. Recommendations were received from the NPC Constitutional Subcommittee, in particular a redrafting of the Sederunt to add clarity. Apologies are as recorded by the Chair.