Support Zone Minutes 04.12.15 - University of Surrey`s Student Union

Support Zone Committee Meeting
(Held on Friday 4th December 2015 at 4.00pm)
Jack Paulley (JP)
Alex Ogedengbe (AO)
Kash Lotfi (KL)
Koyin Akinsiku (KA)
Lucy Curd (LC)
Jenny Hall (JH)
Robert Walsha (RW)
VP Support & Committee Chair
Zone Member
Zone Member
Zone Member
Zone Member
Zone Manager
SPLASH Manager
Gueth Aluoch (GA)
Zone Member
1. Conflict of Interests
No conflict of interest was declared.
2. Minutes of the Last Meeting
The minutes of the last meeting dated 27.11.2015 were signed as an accurate
record of the meeting.
3. Matters Arising
All previous action points (see minutes dated 27/11/2015) are ongoing – there
are no current updates.
4. Discussion
4.1 SPLASH Special
SPLASH Manager RW began by giving a brief overview of SPLASH and the
support available to students; RW continued by emphasising the need for
SPLASH to overcome it’s ‘proof-reading’ service reputation.
RW then informed the committee of the current projects SPLASH are
working on:
 Resource Development Project
 STARS Project
 SPRINT Project
RW continued by explaining that SPLASH also work with the University on
various schemes; particularly on tightening academic integrity.
VP Support then addressed the committee and asked if any members had
used SPLASH; LC responded that she did in her first year. LC continued by
questioning if SPLASH offer a mentoring scheme; RW confirmed that the
SPLASH team are hoping to set up a student mentoring scheme, rather
than using the current SPLASH staff as mentors – the committee
commented that it would be good for students to benefit from being a
part of the scheme.
RW redirected the discussion and continued by highlighting that the
difference between collusion and plagiarism needs to be explained to
students, as well as what is or isn’t good collaborative practice. JH
confirmed that the Union are also experiencing the same problems in
terms of students misunderstanding the difference. In attempt to combat
this, RW suggested that there could be short sections or tasks in lectures
to enable students to identify the levels of plagiarism and allow the
lectures to explain why. The committee responded by raising the concern
that addressing plagiarism in a lecture format could disengage rather than
teach students; RW agreed and acknowledged this would require further
discussion and planning.
KA continued by questioning RW of the ways in which SPLASH find out
what students want from them; RW responded by saying that they simply
ask them, and used the STARS project as an example where the students
define the content of each of the sessions. KA also asked how SPLASH
decide when to run each session; RW explained that they rely on previous
RW followed this discussion by informing the committee of the key
aspects of SPLASH that are currently under review:
 The SPLASH ethos
 How SPLASH is framed by academic staff
 The ‘Back on Track’ scheme
RW then continued by informing the committee that a number of
students have encountered issues when signing the ‘Declaration of Trust’
on assignment submission forms; RW explained that there have been
inconsistencies in the wording when asking students to declare if they
have received any help - particularly by asking students to disclose if they
have been to either ALS or SPLASH for advice. After discussing this issue in
detail, the committee then questioned self-plagiarism and whether it is a
recognised form of plagiarism; RW confirmed that it is.
Additionally, VP Support questioned RW into SPLASH’s input in ‘Welcome
Week’; RW responded that to be involved, SPLASH have to be invited in to
facilitate lectures. VP Support continued by suggesting that SPLASH create
workshops directed at whole cohorts during the first month of the
semester – the committee agreed this would be beneficial, but RW
emphasised that SPLASH have their limits, and that this style of event
would require the active participation of academic staff.
AO then questioned RW into the possibility of running a SPLASH course
(similar to GGA) for students to participate in alongside their studies;
whilst RW was concerned that it could become a study-skills module, the
committee agreed that the idea could be an incentive for students. RW
responded that AO’s idea could be something for the future, but would
again require the active participation of academic staff in order to link the
module to a student’s degree.
RW concluded the discussion by inviting all committee members to attend
a meeting with the SPLASH team in February 2016 for further discussions;
RW to confirm the date and send an invite to VP Support. VP Support
thanked RW for attending; RW left the meeting at 5.40 pm.
4.2 Information Leaflet for Personal Tutors
The committee were presented with a draft leaflet detailing the support
offered by the Union for students’ whose course had been terminated. JH
confirmed that there are some amendments that need to be made. VP
Support continued by clarifying that the leaflet will be distributed to
Personal Tutors for their own information. The committee responded by
emphasising the importance of highlighting what the Union is unable to
advise students on, as well as what they can.
4.3 Syria Bombings – Statement Requests
VP Support informed the committee that journalists have contacted the
Union to obtain statements from students who may be affected by the
vote to bomb Syria. VP Support requested that if the committee or
anyone they know is approached for information, that they do not answer
anything and inform VP Support as soon as possible. VP Support
confirmed that an official response is currently being generated.
4.4 Wardens
VP Support informed the committee that there have been a series of
complaints received from students regarding inconsistencies in the
Warden’s policing of activities. VP Support requested that the committee
inform him of any issues they are made aware of.
4.5 Accommodation Payment Structure
VP Support informed the committee that he is currently looking into the
accommodation payment structure and requested that the committee
encourage any students who have been affected by the current payment
structure to contact the zone.
4.6 Extenuating Circumstances (EC) Regulations
Together with JH, VP Support confirmed that a project is currently being
undertaken into the review of EC regulations. VP Support and JH to
update the committee with any progress.
5. Any Other Business
5.1 Committee Member LC Manifesto Update
LC provided the committee with a brief manifesto update and confirmed
that a full update will be given at the next zone meeting.
6. Date of Next Meeting
The next Support Zone committee meeting will be held on Friday 11th
December at 04.00 pm, in the Committee Room, Students’ Union.
As there were no further points for discussion, VP Support closed the meeting
at 6.00 pm.