Union General Meetings are a well structured form of student democratic participation, and policy motions need to be submitted in a certain format.
Things to Think About
A UGM motion is structured in the following simple format:
- Title: The title of your motion
- Proposed by: The student number of the motion proposer
- Seconded by: The student number of the motion seconder
- This Union notes: These are facts which provide context to the motion.
- This Union believes: These are opinions which the proposer and seconder believe are good for students to know, to aid their motion in passing
- This Union resolves*: These are the actions that the proposer and seconder want to happen if the motion passes
* in terms of Union resolutions, SOAS Students Union is a registered charity and there are certain actions we are unable to do by law. If you're uncertain about the achievability of your resolutions, please speak to our Democracy & Education Co-President or our Governance, Communication & Sustainability Coordinator who can provide you with more details.
When a motion passes and becomes SU policy it affects all students in SOAS SU. You should be thinking about all the ways your motion impacts upon different areas of the student body and the SU as a general, such as:
- Equality implications
- Democractic implications
- Welfare implications
- Financial implications
- Responsibilities for implimenting the motion resolutions
- Are you prepared to work with the Students' Union to achieve this motion
This is an example of a motion which might be submitted to a UGM. This motion could use more clarity - however lacking clarity allows us to also example the kinds of questions you might be asked in a UGM (and hence the details you should ideally put into a motion).
Title: SOAS SU To Get A Cat
Proposed by: A Student (email@example.com)
Seconded by: B Student (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This Union notes:
1.1 Cats eat mice and small rodents
1.2 Cats are low maintenance pets
1.3 Animals are good for emotional wellbeing
1.4 Some people are allergic to cats
This Union believes:
2.1 That a cat would add to the atmosphere of the SOAS SU
2.2 That a cat in the JCR would scare off rats and small rodents from the SU spaces
2.3 That SOAS SU needs a mascot, and a cat would fill this role
This Union resolves:
3.1 To buy a cat from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home (under £200, ideally ginger)
3.2 To train the cat to sit by the SU door so students can see it
3.3 To hold a student vote to name the cat
Examples of questions students might ask this motion:
- Who will feed the cat?
- What budget will the cat and cat food come from?
- How can we ensure the welfare of the cat in such a busy, public setting?
It's a good idea to speak with our Democracy & Education Co-President or our Governance, Communication & Sustainability Coordinator before submitting your motion to check its format and so they can help you anticipate any issues or points you might need to expand upon or clarify.