JCR Newsletter - Week 3

Dear Downing,

Apologies this is coming out so late into week 2, but I have been busy attending a conference over the last few days so I have not had as much time as I would have liked to sit down and do this. Last week I attended a number of meetings and there a few follow up points I wanted to let you know about.

1. CUSU Council 

Last week at CUSU Council, I voted for all of the motions that were under discussion, except the budget for CUSU which was pushed to the next meeting. As a result there will be a referendum on our membership of the NUS this term, and procedures are already under way to form the official YES and NO campaigns. When the minutes are out for the meeting I will put them in an email with some other things. 

2. CUSU Free Budget

 One thing that did come up in discussions at Council that is definitely worth letting you know about is that CUSU has a portion of its budget, around £7000, which any student can apply to get money from. If you have a project in mind, let me know and I can help you put an application (to be discussed at CUSU council) for funding. At the last meeting, Cambridge I-Soc were able to secure some funding for the use of a room for Friday prayers, in the event that the university could not provide them with a room for free. 

3. Buildings and Environment

 This was a long meeting, with lots of details that I don't think are entirely relevant for you all. Nonetheless I think I can make some general comments about the kind of stuff that's going on in college infrastructure-wise : 

a) A number of accommodations seem to be on the cards for some renovations and repair, in particular J staircase and the communal areas of M. I'm unsure of the exact timetable but it will likely be next year, during times which don't affect students.

b) The college has essentially finished the storage facility beneath the Singer Building, which can be used by international and home students for storage over the holidays. The exact details have yet to be finalised in terms of how much space there will be per student, but either me or the International Officers will let you know nearer the time.

c) College is planning to move over a lot of key access things to card access. From what I have seen, I believe that gym is high up on the list of priorities in this area. I would expect that after the Long Vac, it will be card accessible.

4. Tutor Meeting

 On Thursday I had a meeting with all of the college Tutors, where I let them know about what seems to be going on college and in the wider university. I would be very happy to forward along any feedback you have for the tutors, particularly if you have had any trouble during this term or things that you feel they need to improve on.

What I will remind you about, which is of relevance to your Tutor and DoS, is that if you have been ill during the exam period (and have affected your ability to prepare for your exams/perform well in them) you are entitled to apply for Exam Warning. This is a procedure that allows examiners to take into account external factors of a given student, when marking their scripts. You can apply for exam warning up to 2 weeks after the exams. See the link below for more information:


5. JCR Manifestos

We've had a request to put up manifestos of the JCR committee up on the website in the interests of accountability. We feel this is quite suitable and will be getting on that shortly.

6. DCAC Societies and Funding

 It has come to my attention that there is some confusion as to how societies are funding and how they become part of the Downing College Amalgamation Club. Once myself and the Treasurer are a bit freer, we will aim to produce an explanation of how societies are formed, affiliated and funded at Downing. Given the hard work of our Internet Officer, I think it would be best to put this information on the JCR website. I'll let you know when that information is readily accessible; in the mean time you are welcome to get in contact with the Treasurer or myself with any queries you have about societies.


That's all for this week. As ever, please don't hesitate me with your comments, concerns and questions. I hope that this good weather lasts!


Posted in JCR Newsletters on May 08, 2016