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KSU AGM 2014: Live Blog

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11.45 A strong insiteronline team is present at Sir Temi Zammit Hall to bring you live updates of this year’s AGM.  The hall is still completely empty.  Some of the KSU executive have started  making their way to the hall.

11:59 The lights are on, the KSU members are suited up, the AGM is about to begin and the hall is still all but empty…
12:03  Gabaretta postpones the meeting by half an hour
12:06 People are flocking in though and there is a queue outside.
The Quorum has not yet been reached, and thus the KSU Annual General meeting, according to article 11 of the KSU Statute, had to be postponed by half an hour.
12:15 We have just had a first glance at the administration report. Thomas Bugeja has placed emphasis on KSU’s efforts in “involving the students as much as possibe”. Will he expand on this statement today though?

12:21 One of the hot topics KSU is expected to bring up is their ambitious plan to refurbish Quad that is “scheduled for works in summer 2014″.

12:23 The hall is filling up and fast. Where is the student apathy that KSU has complained so vociferously about?

12.30 Page 69 of  the Annual Report Publication deals with Kokka night. Not enough detail is given on how one can be nominated. Th main reasons given for nomination are “for enthusiasm, dedication and hard work”. Which organizations are considered for nominations? The report does not contain any indication  of those who won. Perhaps we should be able to determine whether the awards are a wasteful expense, and what sort of activism they are truly promoting

12:31  In the report KSU has also raised concern about graduate employability, an issue they have raised with ‘government entities’. Who are these entities? Will these entities please stand up?

12:33 Over 10,000 University students and 3,000 JC students and Sir Temi Zammit Hall is still not full 33 minutes later…

12:36 This is a quote from KSU’s report: “The Culture and Entertainment Office set up the Organisations’ Forum bringing together different event organizers from different organizations; as well as the Culture Committee, where a public call was made to include students in the arts and culture scene working on initiatives related to culture and V.18″. A free salty pizza to anyone who can decode that statement.

12.37 Finally getting closer to starting the AGM. The doors are closed for the first time today.

12.39 Tellers are being appointed to facilitate the process of vote-counting. The student body is reluctant to comply to this.
12:40 Who, pray tell, will the tellers be? See what I did there?
12:42 Thomas Bugeja is displaying his expertise in mathematics in counting the tellers.
IMG_9453 IMG_9454
12:46 A roar of applause fills the hall as Warren Sammut is chosen unanimously as the chair.
Apparently the time is not merely a KSU factor since people are still coming in even though the doors have been closed twice and it’s nearly an hour after the start of the AGM.
12:54 Democracy at its finest. The students vote overwhelmingly to allow the doors to re-open.
12: 55 Page 68 of Annual Report 13/14 publication deals with Student’s Fest. Indeed this was an excellent production and performance, with a hip social media PR campaign full of selfies/stessi accompanying it. If only the messages about the recruitment of students and on how to be part of this n team was as loud as the marketing campaign’s instructions on how to attend the event and to buy tickets.
12:56 Minutes approved overwhelmingly.  We are now moving onto the annual reports. John Gabaretta is up first as Sec Gen.
Elected chair Warren Sammut takes his place at the podium.

Elected chair Warren Sammut takes his place at the podium.

 

 

12:57 As secretary general, John Gabarretta explains how the attendance was taken during meetings. His role includes organizing annual meetings as well as ensuring that the KSU meets with various entities such as Simon Busuttil and Evarist Bartolo. He Complains that the Prime Minister’s Office has as yet to answer their requests to meet.  KSU has promoted events through their events calendar as well as recently started up a Transport Fund to promote the usage of public transport.

Various reports have been published regarding youth unemployment, feedback on study-units and using technology to facilitate education. On an international note KSU has attended two board meetings of ESU in Bucharest and Zagreb in April and November.

13:01 It is all surface and not much depth as Gabaretta explains KSU’s role in their feedback reports regarding immigration and cyber-harassment.

13:04 Thomas Bugeja sends a questioner back to his seat, stating that his inquiry will be dealt with later.

 

Thomas Bugeja dismissing a question

Thomas Bugeja dismissing a question

 

13:06 Next up is the Financial Report brought to you by Andrea Attard.

13:08 KSU has achieved a sponsorship of 23,000 per annum from HSBC and services in kind from GO and Bay. Attard explains that KSU’s greatest income comes from events such as Students’ Fest and Grad Ball.  KSU has continued to reduce expenses. Attard claims that his office has focused on budgeting and that there should always be ongoing planning, which bodes well for the future.

13:10 KSU’s report states that they spent 13,868 euro on ‘other expenses’ this years. What are these other expenses?
13:12 Over 73,000 euro was spent on the Grad Ball…
13:13 Shares with HSBC and GO have increased exponentially
Andrea Attard giving annual financial report.

Andrea Attard giving annual financial report.

13:15 The student body does not seem very interested in voting. Are they here for the wifi?

13:16 Financial report approved.

13:16 Thomas Bugeja takes the stand to give the Presidential Annual Report. Bugeja explains once more that KSU have had several meetings with official national entities this year. But what went on in those meetings and what was the outcome of them?

 

Thomas Bugeja giving Presidential Annual Report

Thomas Bugeja giving Presidential Annual Report

 

13:21 Bugeja proposes an increase in bike racks at University of Malta. Bugeja speaks about meetings with representations from JC and GCHSS without mentioning what went on in those meetings. Shocker.

Bugeja thanks his family for their ongoing support. One would think he won an oscar.

13:23 Bugeja speaks about the Quad Refurbishment Project and confirms that work on it will commence this coming summer.

13:24 Vice President Becky Camilleri takes to the stand…

13:24 Camilleri explains that her primary role involved dealing with sponsors, particularly with HSBC and 89.7 Bay.

13:25 Becky Camilleri is reading directly off the AGM report that was distributed to everyone…

13:26 In the space of a year, six plugs have been installed throughout the university, all of them in LT1 and LT2. Plans for the installation of more plugs are in the works.

Sponsors are being spoken about ad eternum. Are they sponsoring the AGM as well?

13:33 Some other Financial report 2013 observations:

- Overall KSU made a surplus of €2398

- While KSU financial officer Andrea Attard claimed that income generated from financial investment in bonds and shares tripled, they only increased by 14% (€10924)

- 44.5% (€106,107) of KSU’s expenditure was related to culture & entertainment. 

- Expenses in this area increased generously by a total of over €29000 while income generated from this area increased by just over €30000. 

-Student organization expenses decreased by 44% to €2483, this is less than the amount spent on advertising which tallied €4000.

- A further 19% (€45345) were spent on other campus events (Fresher’s week & Christmas on Campus) which presumably do not fall within the culture and entertainment office. Expenditure for these two events was more than double the expenditure of the international office, education office and social policy office combined. 

- Unlike previous years, this financial year no bad debts were written off. This contrasts highly with last year, where a total of €19614 owed to KSU were written off.

- Income generated from retail outlets in student’s house decreased by €7499 as one of the contracts expired (iCentre) and could not be renewed. 

- Income generated from the public relations department (mainly generated from advertising in the @KSU magazine) dropped by €5224. Expenses in this department increased by €9957

- KSU generated a total of €10666 from a court decision issued in their favour

-Income generated from sponsorships decreased by just under €4000

- Expenses relating to the KSU toga rental service increase by €4135 while income increased by €1317

13:34 It has just occurred to us that foreign or English speaking students cannot understand any of the meeting since its conducted fully in Maltese. Another observation on this line is the fact that no sign language is provided to those have hearing impairments cannot keep up either. We hope this live updates shall be of an aid.

13:31 Gabaretta takes to the stand again. He says that he was involved in an overhaul of the IT system. This means that KSU bought six new computers, a newer software and a network attached storage server.

Other IT improvements include the introduction of Google sharing and the KSU online calendar.

13:34 KSU and RIDT have collaborated in freshers’ week and Christmas on Campus and are working on a project aimed at generating student and alumni awareness. Awareness of what?

13:35 Increased promotion for campus fest, and activities throughout the week.

13:35 Gabaretta speaks about the 30 room allocations report gathered this year. A review is scheduled in the coming months so not much to comment on here.

Gabarretta explains how the Research and Opportunity Fund is split into travel grants, research projects, library books and journals and subscriptions.

13:36 20,000 euro of KSU’s income was spashed on the launch of a Research and Opportunity Fund that covers travel grants for conferences and training workshops, more library books and journals.

13:37 Gabaretta attended 25 Senate and PVC Meetings where refunds for the revision of paper and standardised assignment feedback were on the agenda.

13:39 Sean Mallia, PRO Officer takes to the stand. More struggles with voice projection and extremely poor presentation technique.  This is quickly becoming very monotonous. The Public Relations Officer needs to learn how to speak in public.

13:40 Mallia speaks about KSU branding and their new look and makes a reference to infographic campaigns to show how to use KSU services.

13:42 On the topic of KSU Press Releases, aimed at giving the students a voice, Mallia does not say more than the fact that they apparently exist, which is also debatable considering the very low amount of press releases Insite Malta received during the  year.

13:43 Mallia speaks about the KSU website. Will he or won’t he bring up the online calendar again?

13:44 The Annual Report 2013/2014 Publication is being distributed during this AGM. The publication is full-color and written in both the Maltese and English languages. The Publication is 164 pages long. The sponsors can be seen on the front-page are HSBC Malta and 89.7 Bay.

13:46 Mallia is planning a rebranding of the KSU banner in Quad. Where are the people accusing KSU of only focusing on pointless assignments now?

13:49 The student representative handbook aims to be useful to keep record of all student reps. – Mallia is proud to have finished it in his term.

13:49 Mallia is commanded to wrap up his poorly presented assessment on public relations.

Mallia – thanks his sponsors. feeling more and more that we are on Hadd Ghalik.

13:50 Bugeja slams into Insite for bringing up the financial losses of KSU after question time.

13:51 Thomas Naudi, the International Officer, speaks about various events such as the Kuwait Day and the Gourmet Trip to Italy.

13:54 Yanica Sant, also from the international office speaks about the student handbook which is pocket-sized to be more accessible and comfortable for students to keep in their bags

13:55 Sant mentions the ET Trainee Talks that focuses on the possibilities of UoM graduates regarding internships within the EU.

13:57 Sant thanks the audience for attending and is met with a round of applause. Thoughtful of her..

13:58 Education Commissioner Malcolm Zammit takes to the podium. Will he mention the recent article posted on insiterlonline that was addressed to KSU?

Malcolm Zammit  states that ‘”attendance has increased in regards to Education events”

13:59 Zammit calls Insite writers Timothy Diacono and Francesca Borg Taylor-Eat ‘unobjective’. The writers take issue with that and to KSU’s response to their article that did not make any mention to the key points they had brought up and that tried to twist their words into a baseless criticism of KSU.

14:03 Daniel Vella Fondacaro takes to the stand. He speaks about KSU’s initiative in changing the library opening time from 9am to 8:30am. Vella Fondacaro admits that they’re not so quick at reacting to issues which affect students such as the new medical school.

14:05 The hypocrisy is blatant as Fondacaro speaks about the right of students not to have their rights trampled on after the education commissioner made a mockery of the article on Insite that criticised their review on education. Do students’ rights extend to their rights to objective criticism of KSU itself?

14:08 Social Policy Commissioner Tamara Caligari takes to the stand and mentions the re-formation of the Debate Society with a focus on how students debate and not what they debate. Perhaps Malcolm Zammit should attend one of these debates.

14:10 Caligari speaks about KSU’s aim to assign ECTs for students’ involvement within student organisations.

14:12 Luana Vassallo speaks about KSU’s collaboration with the Malta Heart Organization, Green Initiatives and free first aid courses offered by UoM.

14:14 Luke Azzopardi, Culture and Entertainment Co-ordinator, takes to the podium and speaks about the improvement of the internal management of Students’ Fest when compared to last year.

14:18 Together with V18 there were also calls for internships. This is the first step for students to get involved in the cultural sphere. Azzopardi also speaks about the Art in Action Gallery Space that is soon (or so he says) to be implemented within UoM and that will allow students to display their artistic talents.

14:19 Azzopardi mentions the Culture Card which will be updated year by year

14:20 Luke Azzopardi is glad to have made new friends thanks to the KSU.  He also admits that without joining KSU he would not have been able to participate in so many events. What does this say about the relationship between KSU and the student body?

Luke claims he did not enjoy university life before being part of KSU. He also encourages those who like him do not attend events or show interest in KSU to have his same change of heart. He fails to give the reasons to why he did not show interest or attend.

14:21 Culture and Entertainment Officer and newly President-Elect of SDM Gayle-Lynn Callus speaks about the Organisations’ BBQ that was well-attended by students. Finally, KSU officers are on more familiar territory…

14:24 Callus speaks about KSU’s collaboration with various student organisations and speaks proudly about the Christmas on Campus charity initiatives which raised a substantial amount of money.

14:33 CLARIFICATION: Insite retracts its criticism of Malcolm Zammit for his comments regarding the Insite article on KSU’s education recommendations. We misunderstood him and apparently he was referring to an article regarding Legal Studies, even though this was not mentioned explicitly.

It is interesting that Zammit did not speak about the article regarding their education recommendations afterwards…

14:36 Thomas Bugeja nervously slams Insite for our comment regarding him slamming us.

14:45 A vote was taken and the vast majority of the quorum has approved the KSU’s report.

14:48 Ryan Mercieca makes mention of a collaboration between the GUG and the IT services to improve the IT services in the Gozo Campus.

14:49 Every faculty will have the choice of taking their exams in Gozo or Malta.

14:55 The vast majority vote in favour of the GUGL report. No surprises there then.

15:05 Bugeja nominates Karl Grech who gives KSU legal advice Pro Bono.

15:06 The appointment of Dr. Grech is approved easily. Gabaretta now nominates Duncan Muscat as the KSU architect.

15:08 Duncan Muscat has officially been elected as the KSU architect. The doors have been re-opened and fresh air can now flow in.

15:12 Nominations for commissioners and assistant commissioners is taking place.

15:19 KSU present a proposition by Paul Caruana Turner to change Article 19.5 in the KSU statute.

15:22 Stefan Cutajar, Michelle Grech, Stefan Agius, Bjorn Pace, Rebecca Muscat, Jonah Vella, Isaac Aquilina, Deo Falzon, Michael Piccinino, Darren Carabott have been appointed into the Electorial Commission with Jurgen Cuschieri and Brenda Camilleri as reserves.

15:42 Gayle Lynn Callus proses a motion to increase a section 46 under the subtitle “Other Structures” and adding 4 articles under this section. The intention is to give a black on white prominence to the organisations forum which has worked this year and should therefore be included as a structure in the statute. These define the aim, structure and also the agenda committee which proved to be successful last year. The aim is that each organisation is heard and that there is a direct contact with all of them.

15:53 Gabaretta proposes an amendment to the KSU statute in Section 4, Article 19 whereby students will have a choice whether to receive notifications of KSU meetings by mail or by e-mail, the latter of which is less financially costly.

16:00 Finally, Gabaretta proposes a change in Section 4, Article 38.1 whereby, barring any unforeseen consequences, KSU elections will now be held 8 days after the KSU AGM.

16:07 A speaker from the floor criticizes the amendment for setting a fixed date for the KSU election, thereby rendering the bracket less flexible.

16:09 The chair claims there is disorder in the hall and expresses that the last point should not take more than 5-10 mins and that we are approaching the end.

16:20 The AGM comes to an end with Luke Azzopardi inviting the quorum to an event hosted by KSU tonight in Valetta.

9 thoughts on “KSU AGM 2014: Live Blog

  1. Wham says:

    Hey, the truth hurts.
    Do you hear the people sing? Brilliant post! Keep it up!

  2. C says:

    To all critics of this live blog: KSU is a useless mess, let Insite have some fun with it at least.

  3. D says:

    Finally, a student media organisation that is done with asslicking KSU 24/7. This is what students want – questions to be asked and comments to be made! Keep it up.

  4. M. says:

    As a former sub-editor and columnist for the Insiter, I am sorely disappointed to see that Insite has learnt very little from the lessons former members like myself desperately tried to impart several years ago with regard to objective reporting and the difference between news items and opinion columns.

    Whilst having an opinion, and indeed, an agenda, is entirely normal with most publications, the only news organisation on campus should first and foremost report facts, rather than unnecessary comments, and allow its readers to form their own opinions, particularly when dealing with matters concerning KSU and politics, in the wider sense of the word.

  5. Kyle Pace says:

    This live blog is shameful. Possibly the most biased pile of garbage I’ve read in my life. Instead of slandering, why not try writing something constructive.

  6. abw says:

    Is the point of wayne being appointed chair to allow each speaker to ramble on for over 10 or 12 minutes ?

  7. nic says:

    Cyber-harassment policy isn’t yet ready, so obviously they’re not going to go in much depth about it ;)

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