The 47th Ordinary Student Council (SC) Meeting held its meeting from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM Malaysian time on Microsoft Teams. The meeting reached quorum as 49 attendees included the Student Executives, the SC Councillors, Random Voting Members and Journalists from IGNITE Magazine.
There were three agendas in this meeting which includes the election committee nomination, the Q&A session which discusses the newly amended Social Media Marketing Guideline in the Student Association (SA) Handbook and other SC affairs. The Q&A session highlighted issues in regards to tuition fees, food and also gave a space for students to give their concerns and opinions.
The Student Council extended its cordial invitation to IGNITE Magazine. The assembly explored different aspects of student life, predicaments and fond anticipations to a new normal. Students and staff at UNM have spent strenuous hours attempting to adapt and cope with the unforeseeable pandemic. In today’s tech-savvy era, the transition from physical to online classes had raised concerns regarding efficiency and especially financial matters. The 47th Student Council proceeded with a meeting to host a nomination, though primarily to answer questions.
During the nomination period, Uzma Islam shared details about herself and expertise, promising herself as a suited member in the election committee. Her versatility and dedication as a multifaceted student pledges accreditation. Her remarkable skills in Canva and Adobe Illustrator have proven applicable. Successfully, Uzma now sits with the election committee.
Then the meeting proceeded towards the Ask the Councillor section, where it began with issues about amenities on campus. Students have witnessed and expressed concerns with dietary options. Vegetarian students shared their apprehension with the reduced vegetarian options on campus. Subway’s closure sparked students to question prospective franchises and restaurants opening.
Cynicisms instilled by poor efforts to maintain health and sanitary protocols will undergo inspection next Friday. Students can expect grading and perusals conducted to ensure hygienic food preparation. The Student Association is actively affirming quality meal options and variation to cater to all dietary needs.
Students and staff shared disquieted concerns about financial issues including rent, tuition fees and the like. The University of Nottingham Malaysia will not be discounting tuition fees for the majority of students. Further detail of this issue will be covered in the Ask The Councillors section below.
Someone proposed a brand new electronic entrance system on campus. Undoubtedly, the applicability of this system would reduce the time taken to enter and exit campus. Feedback will be collected to determine the efficiency however this system is dependent on Professor Graham’s verdict.
Miscellaneous topics of discussion have risen; a high number of cats on campus, marketing regulations and et cetera. All of which will be mentioned under the Miscellaneous Issues section below.
Uzma Islam, a final year student studying in BSc Finance, Accounting and Management nominated herself to be apart of the Election Committee. She had 2 minutes to deliver a speech. In this election, Student Council members did not present any questions towards the person running for the position. In the speech, she spoke about her credentials to show that she fulfilled the requirements of the Election Committee. Her experience includes her past position of a Social Media Manager of the University of Nottingham’s ACCA Ambassadorship Program. As well as possessing high digital literacy in regards to graphics design.
She emphasized her visions of creating new ideas in this new norm for the next General Election. She commended the previous election committee on their past performance in regards to last year’s voter turnout. After the speech, the Secretary of the SC sent out an email to the voting members. Uzma Islam won a seat in the Election Committee by a landslide victory of 34 votes against 5 votes to reopen the nomination.
Ask the Councillors
Tuition Fees Reduction
Several questions were raised during the meeting in regards to the proposal to reduce the University’s tuition fees. It was argued that the students are unable to enjoy the full capacity of the University given the COVID-19 situation. Utkarsh Gupta simply answered that there will be no reduction of tuition fees.
The management raised several arguments siding the university; such as the decision to maintain the fees is in line with other private universities’ decision on the same matter. The University also did not possess large savings since there are fixed costs such as wages, electricity and other maintenance costs. The lack of government support was also a factor in this decision. He also mentions that the University has invested heavily in Digital Education to increase the quality of virtual classes.
Students financially impacted by COVID-19 can apply for student aid. This is because the Finance Office has set up a COVID-19 Fund to help the students with financial issues. The Finance Office has more information on this issue.
Accommodation Fees Reduction
The SA President also mentioned that the issue of reducing the accommodation fees. This issue was raised to the University’s Board of Management since it is unreasonable to maintain rent as most students are off-campus. The management will be providing new feedback by next week if there are any new accommodation rules and regulations.
Changing the Guard House Queuing System Electronically
The Management feels that the system that they have now is sufficient thus it is unnecessary to change the system. The Management of the University argued that the longest queue was only 10 people and there were only 100 – 200 people at the University at this time which means fewer people are going in and out of the campus. Also, currently, the IT Services personnel are occupied with the ransomware issues of the University. Professor Graham Kendall has declared that he will look into the queuing electronic system proposed.
Since Subway closed down, there were discussions regarding the availability of future vegetarian options. The President assured that the food stalls in the cafeteria provided quality vegetarian options sufficiently. He added that management is active in finding new vendors to fill the vacancies left by Subway and others. The SA President also recognized the issue of food vendors breaking the health regulations. He notes that a health and safety inspection will be done next week.
Student’s Association Amended Marketing Rules
The SA President and the Vice President tackled issues of the recently amended marketing rules. The rules are merely an extension towards the SA Handbook where the rules might be vague in regards to social media.
Therefore, they amended the rules to fit in the COVID – 19 situation where almost all events are currently virtual. And especially since reports were stating that some Clubs and Societies were not following the marketing social media guidelines.
The SA is only managing the guidelines while the SA’s Staff Office are the ones who implement the rules and regulations. Other than that, for clubs to garner publicity via FASS or FOSE, club representatives only need to email them for assistance. Only the Vice President and Mr Shazreen will be policing the social media posters. The Marketing Guidelines has been sent to every club and societies’ president and further suggestions are to upload the guidelines on UNM SharePoint for public viewing.
Academic Disadvantage Policies
The SA President mentioned that there will be no “safety net” as it is only applicable to last semester due to the abruption from physical to online classes.
Postgraduate COVID-19 Extension and Exceptional Fees
The Postgraduate Officer stated that these issues are still in discussion with the management team.
The Student Council’s ongoing project dubbed Inclusivity Week – conducted by the Faculty of Art and Social Science (FASS) – is pleased to introduce Feminism as its topic of interest. The online webinar features panellists Dr Melissa Yong and Nabila Shariff Abdulla. Despite the webinar commencing for an hour, the specialists will enrich students with their expertise, revoke stigmas and address common misconceptions evolving around feminism. The online webinar’s details are available via email and Instagram; the Microsoft Teams code will be included too.
- Academic disadvantage policy was initially applicable last year (due to the abrupt transition from physical to online learning platforms); however, it is not applicable this year.
- Mass cat population issue on campus has not been tackled or managed by the university.
- COVID-19 extensions and PGR exception fees are to be confirmed.
- SA Handbooks and their amendments must be reviewed and approved by the SA office staff members; SA students do not have the autonomy to make amendments liberally.
- All marketing guidelines will remain applicable to every community and individual under SA who wish to publicise events or activities; main amendments made on the SA handbook regard marketing on social media platforms.
Written by Thea Babani and Lutfil Hadi Rusli