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Policy Idea

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  • -7 score
    7 voters

    Debate Procedure to improve democracy and efficiency

      Council calls for the Union to amend Bye-law 2: Student Council, with the following amendment: Removal of 6.f.i. Addition to 6.f. Debate Procedure: f. Debate Procedure i. Any policy should be discussed in the following way: 1. The proposer of the motion will be invited to give an opening speech in favour of the motion, with a recommended time of under 2 minutes. If the proposer of the motion is not in attendance or the policy was proposed anonymously, then the Chair should call for a speech in favour from any student in attendance. If no-one present wishes to give an opening speech, the Chair should briefly summarise the motion. 2. The council will then be invited to ask questions. Questions should seek further information or clarification, they should not be speeches for or against. 3. There will then be a call for a speech against, also with a recommended time of less than 2 minutes. If there is no-one who wishes to speak against, the Chair should call for a vote. 4. There will then follow subsequent, alternating speeches for and against the motion until a vote has been called for. The Chair should call only for speeches in favour of a motion to directly follow a speech against it, and vice-versa, i.e. the order of speeches should always be “for, against, for, against, etc.”. Speakers should aim to speak for less than a minute and should take care to ensure that the content of their speeches does not repeat points which have already been made. 5. If no-one wishes to speak for/against the motion subsequent to a speech against/for it then the Chair should call for a vote, and should make note to Council if there were requests for additional speeches which could not be heard due to this rule. 6. The Chair may also call for a vote at any time after the first speeches for and against have been made. This decision is at the discretion of the Chair and should take into consideration time pressures and if the same point is being made in multiple speeches. 7. Attendees may request to make a point of order or technical point at any time during the debate. ii. Care should be taken to ensure that all members are not prevented from contributing due to inaccessibility. 1. Members may submit a written speech in advance of the meeting. This may be read out by their nominee or by the Chair, subject to the rules stipulated in 6.f.i.. 2. The Chair should take gender-balancing into account when accepting requests to speak. Council accepts any and all minor changes to this amendment by the Board of Trustees, provided the general meaning and procedure is not lost.

      Why you think it is important

      Many motions submitted to Student Council are not able to be heard due to time constraints. Oftentimes, the debate on a motion involves people repeating points which have already been made, and is open to filibustering. This procedure allows debates to take place more efficiently, with time recommendations on speeches and procedure to allow the debate to move more swiftly to a vote, while also ensuring the debate is fair and balanced. The amendment also adds additional procedure to ensure that the debate is accessible. Time recommendations should not be enforced to make sure people with disabilities are not disadvantaged in the debate.

      Is there anything else you think we should know?

    Sarah Anderson
    11:32am on 5 Jan 21 Some points of consideration here. 1. Time constraints concern me as there are genuine reasons why someone cannot keep to 2 or 1 minutes (hidden disabilities being just one) 2. There may be very valid reasons why 2 people may wish to speak against or for policy proposals which are equally relevant but very different. This relies on people knowing what the first individual would be stating and is concerning from an accessible standpoint 3. I completely agree with gender balance however this policy almost removes the importance 4. This policy relies on the chair understanding bias, hidden disabilities and various other concerns. I'd like that to be the case but we cannot guarantee that all chairs will 5. I think this curtails student speech and would suggest another policy or way of passing policy is considered I completely understand where the policy is coming from however genuinely see structural and personal barriers and would not be able to vote for this policy until reassurances on chair training and futher issues were removed.