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Open Meetings

Open Meetings at Selwyn serve two main purposes:


  1. They ensure that students can hold the JCR to account.

  2. They offer an opportunity for JCR officers to take substantial policy proposals to a forum where all Selwyn students can raise concerns and vote.


Lots of detail on the JCR Open Meetings can be found in the ‘Standing Order I: Open Meetings’. An overview of the process is laid out here.


Open Meetings are chaired by the President and are usually held in the JCR. Where this is not possible, they are held on an online platform, either Zoom or Google Meet. They usually take place on a Saturday and there will be a minimum of two a term in Michaelmas and Lent and one in Easter. Students will be notified of all Open Meetings a minimum of one week in advance. Minutes of all Open Meetings are produced by a member of the JCR Committee and these minutes are uploaded to the JCR website.

Structure of the Open Meetings


A typical Open Meetings will go as follows:



















Election hustings and by-election hustings can also take place in an Open Meeting. This would come before any ‘ordinary motions’ and after any emergency motions.



Any member of the Selwyn undergraduate body can propose or second a motion. Motions are submitted by students to the JCR President a minimum of four days before an Ordinary Open Meeting and summary papers (giving some detail about the motion and why it is necessary) are shared with the President a minimum of three days before an Ordinary Open Meeting. The agenda and papers of the meeting are then circulated by the President to all undergraduate students two days before the Open Meeting.


In the meeting, discussions of the motion will begin with the proposer explaining why they have submitted the motion and what the motion entails. The chair will then open the item to the ‘floor’. Here, any questions or comments can be made. Questions are addressed to the proposer of the motion if about the motion or to the chair if about the JCR. Any undergraduate Selwyn student present can also present an amendment to the motion (i.e. a change to part of the motion) at this point.


After all questions have been asked, comments heard and any amendments voted on, the Chair will progress onto a final vote. A simple majority vote is required to pass a motion. If the motion passes, then it is binding; the JCR must enact it to the best of their ability. If the motion fails, then it is discarded.


Writing a Motion


Any member of the Selwyn undergraduate body can propose and/or second a motion. To do this, you must submit your motion to the President and cc in whoever is seconding it. Every motion must have a proposer and a seconder.


All Motions are presented in the format of ‘Selwyn JCR Notes’, ‘Selwyn JCR Believes’ and ‘Selwyn JCR resolves’ sections. All Motions papers should be sent to the President in either Word or PDF format to ensure that they are accessible.


A template and more information of what your motion should look like can be found here


Please feel free to contact any JCR Executive Officer (President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Communications Officer) to aide you in drafting the motion or to ask any queries. We also encourage you to get in contact with any JCR officers relevant to the motion you are bringing (e.g., if you are bringing an environmental motion, contact our Green Officer).

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Open Meeting Standing Order

  1. Powers and purpose 

    1. Open Meetings have the power to:

      1. Create and amend JCR Standing Orders 

      2. Create and amend JCR Policy 

      3. Amend the JCR Constitution 

    2. Open Meetings hold two primary purposes: to ensure transparency, representation and engagement within the Selwyn undergraduate community, and to ensure Selwyn JCR are held to account. 

    3. All new or substantial JCR policy proposals should be brought to an Open Meeting. 


  1. Scheduling for ‘Ordinary Open Meetings’

    1. The President, with the help of the JCR Committee, will call a minimum of 2 Open Meetings in Michaelmas and Lent terms and one in the Easter Term. 

    2. The President will give at least one week’s notice of the date and time of any Open Meeting to all members of the undergraduate body.

    3. Agenda items must be sent to the President four days before the Open Meeting, and relevant papers sent three days before.

    4. The President will give at least three days’ notice of the venue and will send the agenda and any necessary papers around at least two days before the Open Meeting.


  1. Extraordinary Open Meetings 

    1. Any member of the Selwyn Undergraduate body can request an Extraordinary Open Meeting:

      1. If they email the President specifying the business to be addressed and have a minimum of 15 other students in support (these students are to be ‘ccd into the email). 

      2. If they email the President detailing why there is an urgent matter which could not reasonably wait until the next Ordinary Open Meeting. 

    2. An Extraordinary Open Meeting shall be held at the earliest possible opportunity, preferably (but not necessarily) on a weekend so as to make accessible to the highest number of students. 

    3. A minimum of 24 hours-notice will be given for the date, time, venue and agenda items to all students.

    4. All motions considered at an Extraordinary Open Meeting must be ‘Emergency Motions’. 

      1. This means that other students should not suggest items to be added to an Extraordinary Open Meeting’s agenda that are not urgent.  


  1. Accessibility 

    1. All Open Meetings will take place in accessible spaces (i.e., spaces meeting the Disabled Students’ Campaign accessibility pledge:

    2. Live minuting will be provided for all Open Meetings so that students who cannot/would prefer not to attend physically can still contribute. 

      1. Students unable to attend the Open Meeting will be given the opportunity to ask questions on the Live Minutes. The Committee Member minuting is responsible for voicing any written questions in the Open meeting and immediately making a note of the answer in the minutes. 

      2. The minutes of the Open Meeting will be uploaded to the website within the week after the Meeting for all Selwyn undergraduates to see.   

      3. Where requested, Open Meetings can be recorded to be shared by the Committee with students if all students at the Open Meeting consent.

    3. All documents circulated in advance of the Open Meeting (including agendas and papers) are to be written in an accessible format. This means they will all be sent as Word or PDF files. Any diagrams or images will be accompanied by ‘plain text’. 

      1. If the writers of a paper are unsure on how to ensure that their paper is accessible, they can and should contact the JCR Disabled Students’ Officer.

    4. Any meetings that last for over an hour will have an access break for a minimum of 10 minutes at the hour mark. 

      1. All students are able to take breaks at any time and can contact the Treasurer during the meeting to request a group break if they would like. 


  1. Format and Operations 

    1. Open Meetings are open to all students.  

    2. The President will chair the Open Meetings. 

      1. In the case that the President is proposing or seconding a motion, the Vice-President will chair the Open Meeting. In the case that the President and Vice-President are proposing and seconding a motion together, the Treasurer will chair. 

    3. Either the Treasurer, Vice-President or Communications Officer will take minutes of all Open Meetings (including noting the results of each vote) and circulate them to all members within a week of the Open Meeting taking place. 

    4. The order of business at an Open Meeting shall loosely go as follows: 

      1. Reports and Announcements from the JCR Committee

      2. Questions to the JCR Committee

      3. (Election hustings where relevant) 

      4. Emergency Motions 

      5. Ordinary Motions 

      6. Any Other Business 

    5. The proposer and seconder of the motion will provide a brief overview of the motion and what it is seeking to achieve. 

    6. The motion will then be opened to the floor for any questions or comments either in favour or against. These questions are to be addressed either to the proposer of the motion (where on issues relating to the policy) or the JCR President (where on issues relating to the JCR, including the JCR Constitution). 

    7. Provided that the motion is not met with an amendment asking for it to be postponed to a subsequent meeting, the motion will then be voted on.

  2. Motions 

    1. All members of the Selwyn undergraduate body can bring any motion to the Open Meeting. 

    2. All motions being brought to the Meeting must be proposed and seconded. 

      1. Any member can propose or second a motion. However, they must not chair the debate on a motion they have proposed or seconded. 

    3. There are three types of motions: ordinary motions, emergency motions and procedural motions. 

      1. Ordinary motions are what are typically brought to the JCR.

        1. They must be submitted in advance, as detailed below. 

        2. Ordinary motions are binding to the JCR; whatever is decided on at the Meeting must be followed and enacted. 

      2. Emergency motions are urgent motions that either 15+ students want to be brought immediately or are on issues that could not be expected to wait until the next Ordinary Open Meeting. 

        1. These Emergency Motions are to be brought when requesting an Extraordinary Open Meeting (see 3). 

      3. Procedural motions are can be proposed by any member at any point during an Open Meeting. They constitute of the following motions:

        1. That an indicative (non-binding) vote be taken to gauge opinion on an issue. 

          1. This procedural motion can be proposed during the Open Meeting if it is deemed to be relevant to the motion by the President. If it is not relevant to a motion, it should be submitted in advance as an agenda item. 

        2. That the motion being considered be adjourned to the next meeting. 

        3. That the motion being considered be voted on in parts.

    4. All motions being submitted must be fully prepared. They must be in their final stages so that members can vote on a full proposal. 

    5. Motions can only be presented and seconded by individuals. They cannot be brought by Committees.

      1. However, clubs, societies and committees can endorse motions by speaking for them when it is opened to the floor for any questions or comments. 

    6. Motions must be brought in the format of ‘Selwyn JCR Notes’, ‘Selwyn JCR Believes’ and ‘Selwyn JCR resolves’ sections, followed by the names of the proposer and seconder. 

      1. For more information/a template of this, please see document titled ‘Selwyn JCR: Template Motion’. 


  1. Bringing an Ordinary Motion to the Open Meeting

    1. The topic of a proposed Ordinary Motion should be emailed to the President a minimum of 4 days before the Open Meeting, with any necessary papers to be sent 3 days before. 

      1. Motions submitted after this time may be included but are not guaranteed to be. 

      2. All motions that are included in the Agenda are ‘Ordinary Motions’. 

    2. The same motion cannot be brought to an Open Meeting more than once within the Committee’s year. 

      1. However, if a motion is revised following being brought to an Open Meeting, it may be brought to a subsequent Open Meeting. 

    3. If a motion is submitted which the President views to be contrary to the Objects of Selwyn JCR, or in violation of the JCR Constitution (and the motion is not an amendment), or the President believes that the motion would result in the JCR taking illegal action the President can pause the submitting of the motion to bring it to the JCR Committee Members in an Emergency Committee Meeting, which must take place before the Open Meeting. 

      1. If the Committee disagree that the motion is in violation, then the Motion will process to the Open Meeting as usual.

      2. If the Committee agree that the motion is in violation of the Constitution, would result in the JCR taking illegal action or is contrary to the JCR’s objectives, the Motion will be rejected.

        1. The President must then explain this decision publicly in the Open Meeting. 

          1. The proposer and seconder of the motion are able to respond by bringing a revised version of the motion to the next Open Meeting. 


  1. Bringing an Extraordinary Motion to an Open Meeting

    1. The President may choose to accept Motions not on the Agenda to be discussed as ‘Emergency Motions’ at the Open Meeting. 

      1. These Motions do not need to be submitted to the President before the Meeting but must be considered urgent. 

      2. The President can refuse to accept an Emergency Motion if the matter could reasonably wait until the next meeting or if they believe that students need more time to scrutinise the motion. 


  1. Amendments to motions 

    1. Amendments to motions may be proposed at any time while the motion is being considered, and by anyone permitted to vote.

    2. Amendments can also be submitted in advance following the release of the papers or in the meeting. 

    3. If the proposer and seconder of the Motion consider the amendment to be ‘friendly’, no vote is required and the amendment can be adopted into the motion automatically. 

    4. If an amendment is not accepted by the proposer and seconder of the Motion, it will require a simple majority to be adopted. 

      1. If the amendment is adopted through a simple majority vote, the proposer of the amendment will then become the proposer of the amended motion.


  1. Election Hustings

    1. Election Hustings can take place within Open Meetings.

    2. Where this is the case, the Election Husting will take place at the start of the Open Meeting, after the Officer reports.


  1. Participation & Quorums 

    1. All Selwyn undergraduate students are automatically members of the JCR and therefore can bring or second motions or amendments. They can also speak and vote at meetings. 

      1. This includes all JCR Committee members with exception to whoever is chairing the motion. 

    2. MCR members may attend and speak at Selwyn JCR Open Meetings but cannot bring motions, second motions, bring amendments or vote. 

    3. The Quorum for the voting on motions is 20 Members. 

    4. A simple majority vote (50+%) is required to pass most motions or amendments. The only exception to this is that amendments to the JCR Constitution require a two-thirds majority vote.   

      1. The proposer and seconder of a motion can vote for their own motion. 

      2. In the event of a tie, the Chair shall have the casting vote. 


  1. Conduct 

    1. Conduct at the Open Meetings is to be in line with that of Selwyn’s ‘Dignity and Respect at Study’ policy (see: 

      1. Members found to be repeatedly violating this policy will be spoken to by the Chair. 

    2. Students are not to interrupt each other and opposition/criticism must be restricted to that of the motion/amendment. 


[Standing Order produced by Issy Roberts (imr30), February 2021. To be automatically reviewed every 2 years]. 

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