Motions Guide

How to write a JCR motion – A rough guide

To put in a JCR motion you must send it to the Secretary or if it is a charities motion, the Charities Officer.

They have a standard format of two or optionally three parts:

This JCR notes that

This JCR believes that (optional)

This JCR therefore resolves to

This JCR notes that:

This is where you include all the information that is background to your motion and would convince someone that it is a good idea. This section is intended for purely factual statements e.g.

This JCR notes that:

  1. Marmite is a pungent yeast extract created as a by-product of yeast fermentation
  2. Marmite is a controversial substance that is loved by some people and hated by others
  3. The smell and taste of Marmite is extremely offensive to those that dislike it
  4. The smell and taste of Marmite is extremely pleasurable to those who love it

This JCR believes that:

This section is optional and was only introduced a few years ago by the erstwhile pedant-in-chief John “Dantinator” Dant. This is a section where you can introduce beliefs that you think support your argument and that the JCR should believe in. When the JCR motion is passed the JCR now officially believes that, isn’t it magic? e.g.

This JCR believes that:

  1. People’s human rights in relation to Marmite, whether it be protecting their right to enjoy or be protected from the substance, should not be infringed.

This JCR therefore resolves to:

This is the most important section, it is has all been leading up to this moment. Stay with me. This is where you put what the JCR should DO as a result of your motion. There are generally four things that motions do:

  • Donate money to a cause or keble club
    • See notes on charities motions below
  • Mandate an officer to do something
    • You can mandate officers to do anything on the JCR’s behalf so long as it isn’t illegal or inethical.
  • Register a motion of censure/no-confidence in an officer of the JCR.
    • If you feel let down by one of your officers and feel they have either not fulfilled what is expected of them in the standing orders (i.e. not coming to meetings, not doing their job) or have acted improperly then you can act in the JCR. A motion of censure is like a constitutional slap on the wrist to say “naughty, naughty”. A motion of no-confidence will, if passed, remove them from their post and bring about a by-election. Don’t get the two confused. Usually a motion of censure will be passed before a no-confidence.
  • Change the constitution or standing orders
    • If you wish to change a procedure in the JCR or what you wish to do contravenes something then you can change it. But these motions are special and it requires advance notice and a unanimous approval in one meeting or two consecutive 2/3 majority. If you are planning on this speak to the Secretary well in advance. It is a good idea to consult the JCR committee before doing this.

Make this resolving section as detailed as necessary to say exactly what is to be done. Include details like amounts of cash, times, dead lines so that what the JCR is voting for is spelled out e.g:

This JCR therefore resolves to:

  1. Appoint a Marmite Rights Representative annually to look after the rights of both pro and anti-Marmite communities and advise people on Marmite related queries.
  2. Mandate the Vice-President to perform an annual survey on Marmite attitudes.
  3. Mandate this officer to attend any relevant OUSU committees related to condiment human rights (Mondays, Wednesdays, 5pm Old Refectory, Wadham)
  4. Donate £500 to the charity “Snaction” who aims to promote human rights work in this area.
  5. To censure the JCR Secretary for nicking Marmite from the hall to annoy people who like it and feeding it to the Warden’s cat.

**Normally one motion would probably only be doing one of these, but I have included examples of the main types of action a motion can take (mandate, donation, censure/no-con). Notice they are concise, but detailed. However if you spot the deliberate mistake, perhaps the bracketed comment about the timing of the meetings was unnecessary detail in point 3. Just try and use your judgement. Motions have to be detailed enough to say what will happen and how it will happen. But they need to be brief or I will get bored.

Notes on Charities Motions:

Motions that ask for a donation from the charities and emergency sports fund are slightly different from ordinary motions.

  • They should be submitted in the first instance to the Charities and Donations Officer for ratification. This is simple as them saying that the motion is fair and the amount is reasonable. They then become the seconder of the motion.
  • However if they do not ratify it, perhaps they disagree that it is an appropriate cause or the amount is grossly disproportionate to our funds then they can ask you to amend it so that it can be ratified.
  • Alternatively you can put the motion ungratified in as an ordinary motion but the Charities officer is entitled to explain why he did not ratify it. When you enter charities motions it is useful to send the Charities and Donations officer the details of to whom the cheque will be paid.

From the Charities officers:

Hello Keblites. If you would like College to make a large donation to charity on your behalf, Asa, Ellen, and Jon can help! Just message us if there’s a charity you’re interested in, and either we can do a little research on them together or you can just tell us why you think they’re worth donating to. Then, we’ll donate the cash with money from the Charity Budget (which is funded through battels payments). We usually recommend about £100-£350. There’s a template below you can fill in, send to us, which we will then ‘second’ and send to the JCR Secretary, but if you’re unsure about anything, get in touch and we’re more than happy to help! Charity Motions don’t have to be too long or detailed before, so please don’t stress about them! Check out previous JCR Meetings emails to see some examples.

Keble love xoxo

Charity Motion Template:

This JCR notes that:

  • [Issue] is particularly important right now because [reason].
  • [Charity] is well suited to address this problem because [something about charity (optional)]
  • [Anything else that might be relevant (optional)]

This JCR believes that :

  • Keble college JCR should support the efforts of [charity] in addressing [issue]

This JCR therefore resolves to:

  • Donate [x amount of money] to [charity]

Proposed by: [You]

Seconded by: [Your mate]