All seven proposed amendments of the Junior Common Room (JCR) Constitution were passed tonight at the first JCR Open Forum of the academic year. The amendments most significantly affect the suspension and impeachment of officers and JCR election campaigns.
The residents of Trinity Hall voted unanimously in favour of introducing suspensions as a form of discipline for JCR officers at either the authority of the JCR president, with the support of the committee, or the warden of Trinity Hall.
The JCR president can now suspend a member of the JCR committee for up to three days with the backing of at least one other committee member. The president must then call a meeting during the three day suspension to explain the reasons for the suspension. The suspension can be extended to a maximum of two weeks, if the committee votes by a two-thirds majority, which is seven members.This is not inclusive of the three days granted by the president. A maximum of two suspension periods per officer are allowed per annum.
Another amendment passed by a majority of 53-5, which removed a provision which allowed impeachment motions to be raised at General Meetings. They can now only be raised at Extraordinary General Meetings (EGM) and a require a newly introduced 10% quorum.
The clause inserted by a 46-12 majority to allow the warden to suspend or put forward a motion for impeachment of a JCR Officer serves to codify an already existent power of the warden. The warden of Trinity Hall, currently Dr. Roja Fazaeli, is generally responsible for discipline and the allocation of rooms within Trinity Hall.
Speaking to Trinity News before the vote, JCR president David Ola said: “Allowing the committee to suspend an officer that is not fulfilling their role on the committee will ensure that the committee always works as best as it can for the residents of Trinity Hall. We hope that this will ensure that we’re always working at the best of our collective capability for all the residents in Trinity Hall.”
“We believe that a motion for impeachment should only occur at an EGM as an EGM can occur at any point as long as the signatures are collected. We think that it should be a well thought out proposition that is called for by the quorum we set of 10% and not a potentially spur of the moment motion,” said Ola commenting on the amendment.
Trinity Hall residents also voted with a 54-4 majority to limit social media campaigning for the JCR elections to a specially designated, closed Facebook election group run by the communication and marketing officer.
The president believes that this will improve the efficacy of elections. “All of us on the committee felt that a special elections group would help prevent the massive clog up on the page during the month of March. This might cause people to miss important things like counselling hours and office hours on the page. We would propose to give people the opportunity to look into candidates on a separate page that they don’t have to join but can choose to. This was heavily based on our collective experience in last year’s election,” he commented.
Following the conclusion of voting, Ola asserted that he and treasurer Con Bartels will oversee the JCR elections, which begin in March. He also warned that any campaigning before the start of the official campaign will result in the offenders being immediately stricken from the ballot.
Other amendments include Article 9.1.3. The amendment aims to make it explicitly clear that the incoming communications and marketing officer, publications officer and technical officer are solely chosen by the respective JCR officers and the JCR president.This was passed by a majority of 57-1.
Students also voted to introduce a short Wi-Fi based test for incoming tech officers and to require tech officers to sit on the annual IT Services user groups meetings and liaise with IT Services throughout the year.
The JCR is a group of second year students elected onto the committee at the end of their first year.The quorum of 50 people was met, with 58 people in voting to pass to amendments.