What are motions for?
Any member of the JCR can write a motion about anything the JCR does. This can be anything from funding new projects (charities, equipment, societies, sports) to editing the Standing Orders (recent amendments range from making language more inclusive to mandating each Sports Officer learn to do a backflip.)
What does a motion look like?
A motion starts with a title that describes the action to be taken.
It requires a proposer (you, the writer), and a seconder – someone else who agrees and can answer questions or give a speech in defence if you can’t make it to the meeting.
A motion has three sections: “This JCR notes:”; “This JCR believes:”; and “This JCR resolves:”.
“This JCR notes:” contains items of fact.
- that Exeter College has threatened the peace through hostile action against a diplomatic representative of the college.
- that Walter is an inferior cat.
“This JCR believes:” contains items of opinion that should lead the JCR to do something about this issue.
- diplomatic engagement has failed.
- that we must take action to defend our rights and privileges against these aggressive measures.
- that defensive structures must be put in place in case of further action from the opposition.
- that aggressive policy is the only way to prevent the breakdown of college’s long-standing way of life.
Finally, “This JCR resolves:” is the most important part of your motion. It is the changes the JCR will bring into place. They should follow on from the notes and believes sections.
- to mandate the President to ride into battle.
- to use £1000 to arm Simpkin.
How should you prepare a motion?
Writing a motion is not scary! Just check:
- Does your motion need to be a motion?
It may be something relevant officers/committees are already organising, or it may be something that is impossible for other reasons. Get in contact with people whose work might relate to what you’re asking, and see if they’re able to sort it without a motion. People are not likely to be very happy if you introduce a motion without asking them.
- Does your motion require money?
This will likely take more research than other motions. Find out how much money is required and why. Introduce specific numbers to your motions.
- Does your motion standing orders or constitutional change?
This also requires some work. Read the constitution carefully and write your amendment precisely.
Standing Orders amendments must pass in one meeting, with a 2/3 majority of all those present. Your motion must specify the section of the Standing Orders to be amended, and include the new phrasing. The Secretary can help with this.
Constitutional amendments must go not only through the Constitutional Oversight Committee but also through the governing body – Tom Fletcher and other staff.
- Is your motion fairly simple?
Some motions are pretty easy. A recent motion to stop ordering meat pizza at JCR meetings, for example, only required a general awareness that we as a college are trying to promote vegetarian food consumption. Other motions, like those to provide committees with a celebratory meal when their term ends, are mandated by the Standing Orders. These can be typed up and sent over fairly fast and therefore don’t need much work.
How do I submit a motion?
Once you’ve written your motion, fill out a motion template and email or message it to the secretary (email@example.com) by Thursday 8pm before the meeting.
This is so all motions can be approved by the oversight committee before they are voted on.
The proposer (you) or seconder must attend the meeting. You may be asked questions or to give a speech in proposition of your motion.