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Thursday, 18 March 2010

Residents' Club Annual General Meeting

Thank you to those residents who were interested enough to attend the Residents' Club AGM tonight. I hope you found it a useful forum to express your views and put questions to Committee members.

At tonight's meeting, on the Motion "The Club accepts the five reports of the elected Officers", voting was as follows:

FOR - 14
AGAINST - 14
ABSTENSIONS - 5


As Clerk to the Club I therefore held the casting vote. My opinion is that if an Officer were removed from his/her post at this stage in the academic year, any replacement would not have an opportunity properly to tackle the role, and on balance the disruption caused would have a negative impact on the work of the Committee and the social life of the Hall. With this in mind I followed the convention of using the casting vote in favour of "no change" - that is to say, FOR the Motion. The Officers' reports were therefore accepted with a majority of one vote.

Any situation in which a group is divided almost exactly 50:50 has the potential for controversy. But I hope that on balance the decision we reached tonight will serve the best interests of the Hall community as a whole.

This was the first Annual General Meeting ever held in this format at Connaught Hall and the first time there has ever been an open meeting where all residents have the opportunity to ask Committee members questions and to vote on their record so far. I wrote the "Accountability" appendix to the Club Constitution in October 2009; it is this appendix that lays the foundations for the AGM in the form we used tonight. It is a practice that I and future Committees will need to adapt over the next few years to ensure it best serves the purposes for which it is intended:

(1) to remind Committee members right from the outset that they are accountable to the residents of Connaught Hall, and

(2) to provide a structured, scheduled event for residents to wield their right of holding the Committee to account.

If you were present at tonight's meeting and have any comments or suggestions about how next year's AGM might better fulfil these objectives, I would be happy to hear from you. [EDIT: residents have been using the "comment" feature on this blog post (below) to submit feedback, so please continue doing this - you can submit comments anonymously if you want; I will reply in the same comment thread.]

The reports submitted to the AGM by the elected Committee members remain available to read online here. I will publish some brief minutes from the meeting later in the week.