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Irinus
enthusiast
Location: London
Member Since: 19th Apr 2006
Total posts: 222
Posted:As you may, or may not know, I'm the former president of Balls! which is the University College London (UCL) juggling society that TinyPixie currently runs.

For the last two years (since the society grew greatly) we have been practicing in a room in UCL. It's a great venue with high ceilings, lots of space and good lighting which, as it turns out, is the ONLY suitable venue in the whole of UCL that we can meet in.

Over the summer, a big UCL cheese (who shall remain nameless for all our safety) decided that we, exclusively and solely amonst all UCL union societies, would no longer be allowed to use the room.

This person has since backed down a little and said that we can book the room, but only after 8pm (which is a c**p time for all involved).

This is a clearly discriminatory policy as no other group (let alone society) is being treated this way.


I'm guessing you all want to know his reasons which are (to the best of my knowledge):

1) That someone walking through the room (it doubles as a corridor) was hit by some poi (amazingly this person cannot be found, ditto the incident form which should report this) and the poier didn't apologise ubbcrying (we have never heard of this incident)

2) That it would bother people that were passing through UCL to go to other events (not true)

3) That it would be embarassing for He Who Shall Remain Nameless (HWSRN) to have us juggling when he is showing important people round the University (at 5.30pm to 7.30pm when we used to practice)

Unfortunately, our Union don't have much clout and don't seem to have any power to change this clearly discrimninatory policy.

I was looking for help on how we (especially TinyPixie) could go about changing things so that, at least, everyone has equal opportunities in booking these UCL rooms.

Particularly:

1) What's a good petition website in your experiences?
2) Who to target for their support i.e. I was thinking of trying to get as many professors as possible on our side, though I'd quite like to get people from other universities to give their opinion (though I don't want to scare HWSRN so much that he really puts his foot down)
3) How else would you recommend that we campaign without getting into too much trouble?


I'm open to all suggestions and happy to clarify any of the above.

Thanks


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Yakumo
Yakumo

veteran
Location: Oxfordshire
Member Since: 31st May 2006
Total posts: 1237
Posted:sounds like some bizarre personal vendetta, maybe he got jilted by a cute poi girl in his youth?

though it's one of the least academic societies I could possibly think of (appart from for those who chose to apply maths to juggling, arg ubblol),so he may have some twisted views on it making the university look bad somehow, universities have had juggling clubs for donkeys years, the harder you work the more important it is you PLAY!

there must be sooo many scarily talented physicists, mathematicians and all sorts who juggle, or unicycle, or more in their spare time.


Blinded by Hyperlights, please donate generously grin

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Irinus
enthusiast
Location: London
Member Since: 19th Apr 2006
Total posts: 222
Posted:Definitely, though it would be great to compile a list of great academics who juggle(d) (again, what would be the best way for this? HoP thread? Wiki?) I don't think that alone would convince HWSRN.

I think I need to get as many important people as possible to embarrass him into relenting!?


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Neon_Shaolin
Neon_Shaolin

hehe, 'Member' huhuh
Location: Behind you. With Jam
Member Since: 13th Jul 2005
Total posts: 6120
Posted:I remember this little debate when I came to visit. Dishearting to see it hasn't actually been resolved and has actually escalated... frown

Arrange a charity event performance (arrange one yourself to or volunteer for other peoples'), invite HWSRN and other more important figures.

BINGO!
- You raise money for charity
- AND you highlight the potential for encouraging a group such as yours to exist in the face of face of people far more important than HWSRN who may pressure him to reconsider...

Easiler said than done as I'm sure the powerful people in question MAY have other things to do with their time... But just a suggestion...

Hope you get everything sorted out soon... hug

On a totally unrelated note I moonlight as a contract killer... rolleyes


"I used to want to change the world, now I just wanna leave the room with a little dignity..." - Lotus Weinstock

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Irinus
enthusiast
Location: London
Member Since: 19th Apr 2006
Total posts: 222
Posted:Well, we put on a charity show last November, raised over 600 and won an award for it, but that didn't seem to stop him frown

It doesn't seem to be a problem of whether or not we are a nice and furry society frown ubbcrying just if we seem good for the image of UCL or not.


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Yakumo
Yakumo

veteran
Location: Oxfordshire
Member Since: 31st May 2006
Total posts: 1237
Posted:This is one of those situations where old member records would prove invaluable, contacting hoards of members from ages past who would surely be happy to write in and make their thoughts on what could be taken as the attempt to slowly push a society out known...

charity show sounds great, maybe he needs reminding? or perhaps simply 600 is too petty change for a big UCL cheese to care for :-/


Blinded by Hyperlights, please donate generously grin

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Irinus
enthusiast
Location: London
Member Since: 19th Apr 2006
Total posts: 222
Posted:I think I'll get started on the 'old members' route. It's a nice little avenue that I hadn't thought of smile

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faith enfire
faith enfire

wandering thru the woods of WI
Location: Wisconsin
Member Since: 27th Jan 2006
Total posts: 3556
Posted:get the other students involved too, if they don't mind walking past you then there goes part of arguement

Faith
Nay, whatever comes one hour was sunlit and the most high gods may not make boast of any better thing than to have watched that hour as it passed

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:If you believe this person is discriminating against your society, put in writing your justification for the belief, then ask the uni/union for their official complaints policies/procedures and follow them through.

Concerning the poi incident- addressing health and safety issues like that will reflect well on you- what do you have in place to minimise/eliminate the risk of passers-by being hit.

I've got to say on this one- if you're like the majority of union juggling/spinning societies, you've probably not got anything in place, cos most societies just don't take it seriously.

If you have done things in terms of health and safety- and, given that your room is also a used corridoor, you really should do; then again, put it into a document as evidence.

If you haven't addressed that issue, then do so- it's important.

Professional institutions run on documentation/paperwork etc- if this person has no written record or witness to the alleged 'poi incident', then their complaint is officially worthless.

Make your compliant official, backed up with documentation and reason and you're in with a chance of winning this one.

As already mentioned, making your society useful to the union/university, by, for example, offering performances/workshops at their events, will probably improve your standing in their eyes.

IMO, juggling/spinning societies are a valuable benefit to the student community, the union and possibly the surrounding non-student community (does the union have has a stated aim, being of benefit to the local non-student community? If so, that's a way you could help them out, by offering workshops to community/youth organisations via the union) by providing a friendly, healthy, social alternative for those not into trad sports.

Make sure the union knows your value.

Lastly, don't mess it up by having a lax attitude where valid health and safety issues are concerned (such as passers by in your hall/corridoor).


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Also, have you spoken to the UCL person face-to-face about this?

Often, when someone is being hostile, a polite chat can resolve things.

Maybe he/she has some valid concerns that you're not yet aware of; maybe they are misunderstanding some of your activities.

For example, they're concerned about visitors 'being embarrassed' when showing important persons around- in my experience, many of those people would actually enjoy the sight of a thriving, well-organsised circus skills group.

If you can get them to see things from that perspective, then it will surely help.

For such a meeting to be productive would require you (or your societies representative) to be objective and diplomatic- if you feel that's not your strong point or that you feel you have too much of a negative view of the UCL person, it would be best to send someone who can come across as totally impartial and be diplomatic.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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TinyPixie
TinyPixie

enthusiast
Location: in the clouds...
Member Since: 19th Apr 2006
Total posts: 394
Posted:Oooh! Hi guys! Thanks for all your help and wonderful suggestions - You are all wonderful hug ubblove

Irinus actually put this thread up without me knowing to make me happy smile (he knows how stressed out and upset I am about the whole thing) so thank you darling! kiss

Thank you all so much for your support, it means so much to me that you guys helped smile And the suggestions really are very very good. In fact, Dave, I'm definately up for actually inviting HWSRN to one of our events... I would LOVE to see him totally embarrassed by the fact that we are actually rather damn good! I have actually asked him (via the union) to meet me... he politely declined the offer (I'm offended).

The main reason we are not allowed access to our room before 8pm appears to be due to the fact that we are (and I quote) "not an essential activity and [we] do not reflect positively on UCL". angry angry mad This offends me. The fact that we actually DO have safety measures in place (mainly because I've filled in millions of forms) doesn't appear to help us.

But anyway, HWSRN doesn't want to talk about this. He doesn't think it's all that important that we've lost a third of our regular members due to the time change... No, it's fine, because it doesn't concern him. unfortunately for him, I really have taken this on as a kind of personal vendetta... and I'm not one to forgive and forget when in comes to my dear juggling club. Sooo, we are currently setting up an online petitions board, which I can link to HoP if anyone fancies signing up, and which I will send to HWSRN along with yet another invitation to meet me for a quick coffee, I'll even pay for it smile

Again, thank you all so much!

Yakumo: we are definately up for getting some past member support, thanks for the suggestion! smile

Faithinfire: You are so right! In fact, students and staff alike comment on how entertaining (!) we are to watch when they are walking past!

onewheeldave: I'll definately be very polite and diplomatic, I just hope he comes around to the idea of explaining himself to me... It's the students' university and he has to realise that he cannot ignore us!

Neon: As always, your words are invaluable. Love you! kiss

I'll keep you posted!


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MikefromGlos
MikefromGlos

Hitman
Location: Gloucester England
Member Since: 10th Jul 2006
Total posts: 985
Posted:why not get like a load of groups down to show how poi and stuff can benifit the community its what we do at glos juggling club

If that dosnt work you could always do a old fashion sit in


he he i am mike the amazing gloscircus person who is mike.

Officaly an exception to the Poi Boys are Girls Thing

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Irinus
enthusiast
Location: London
Member Since: 19th Apr 2006
Total posts: 222
Posted:That is a good one. We're forever trekking around London to show scouts etc. our stuff, but we've only had them come to UCL once before.

It'd be great if we could get a bunch of people/kids INTO UCL from the local community and I think that the Widening Participation department at the university would probably be willing to help smile

In fact, I think that it'd be a great thing to do regardless of the current problem smile What do you think TinyPixie?


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Birgit
Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh
Member Since: 27th Jan 2005
Total posts: 4145
Posted:One of our founding members now works for this really good school in Edinburgh... and they let him teach maths and juggling: http://www.edinburghacademy.org.uk/information/activities/juggling.htm
br>
(Just in case you need examples of how people who juggle at uni can help the community later.)

Like: "Juggling and Circus skills aim to develop concentration, eye to hand co-ordination, dexterity and posture." Which is good for all the fat children.

Anyway, let me know if you get that petition thing up and running and I'll send it round to people in our juggling soc.


"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

Owner of Dragosani's left half

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coleman
coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay
Member Since: 29th Aug 2002
Total posts: 7330
Posted: Written by: TinyPixie


The main reason we are not allowed access to our room before 8pm appears to be due to the fact that we are (and I quote) "not an essential activity and [we] do not reflect positively on UCL". angry angry mad



you actually have that quote in writing...?

i hope so...

ucl students, taking part in an extracurricular activity that's been steadily builing in popularity and scope since its inception reflects negatively on the university...?

how exactly?

and the resolving course of action is to move the society meeting time to one that has reduced the attendence by two thirds?!

that sounds like a pretty clear case of victimisation/discrimination to me.


cole. x

p.s. get irinius to show you his pm's (if he hasn't already) hug


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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Irinus
enthusiast
Location: London
Member Since: 19th Apr 2006
Total posts: 222
Posted:Will do Coleman.

Unfortunately, I believe she was quoting the main man from the union who met with HWSRN frown

What I'd quite like to have though are the minutes of the meetings where our room booking fate was sealed i.e. the decision to ban us from the room was taken by HWSRN but the official edict must have (I would think) been issued by UCL's Estates and Management Committee.

Unfortunately, I'm not clued up enough on the Freedom of Information Act to know how to ask for these minutes as these are the only written record that I know of which have HWSRN's opinion on the issue in writing.

I'll go off and do some reading (whilst setting up the petition).

Time to get all the support organised methinks.


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MikefromGlos
MikefromGlos

Hitman
Location: Gloucester England
Member Since: 10th Jul 2006
Total posts: 985
Posted:freedom of infomation act states that u can have any infomation for a charge of 5 administration cost. unless it puts in jepody national security i think it was

he he i am mike the amazing gloscircus person who is mike.

Officaly an exception to the Poi Boys are Girls Thing

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K__
K__

...join us...
Location: Oxford
Member Since: 9th Jun 2006
Total posts: 184
Posted:I'm really surprised the university is prepared to be so open about treating one particular society so unfairly. Equal Opportunities and anti-discrimination are such hot topics that usually they run a mile from doing anything that might single a group out.

I'd suggest continuing to try to get the Union on board, mainly because it's a Union society and the Union will know who are the sympathetic university people and how best to make your point. It's a pity the Union overall doesn't currently carry much clout, but that doesn't have to matter here if you talk to the right people.

Talk to your Union Clubs, Societies and Student Development Officer - I believe you have a full time one, so he's paid to help you out.

If he's not sure where to start, get him to contact NUS. They don't have a specific clubs & societies officer but somone on the NEC (National Executive Committee) will have responsibility for it and should be happy to get involved. They'd be able to help with what line to take when approaching the university and what to do next if they remain unresponsive.

If your Union guy doesn't want to know, contact someone on the NEC direct (start with Stephen Brown, the National Secretary). Usually NUS deals with Unions rather than individuals, but if you explained I'm sure it'd be ok.

Finally, get your plight into whatever student media you have - newspaper, magazine, radio station etc. Top university bods will almost certainly read the Union paper and might back down quicker when they realise you aren't going to take this lying down. Make sure you don't burn any bridges by slagging the university off too much though!

Good luck and let us know how things go smile


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Yakumo
Yakumo

veteran
Location: Oxfordshire
Member Since: 31st May 2006
Total posts: 1237
Posted:coleman and k__ scare me, I'm glad they're on our side biggrin

Blinded by Hyperlights, please donate generously grin

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linden rathen
linden rathen

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: London, UK
Member Since: 2nd Mar 2005
Total posts: 6942
Posted:hey mate! just to post up what we talked about earlier

i really think that if he keeps dodging a chance to talk to us we should try talking directly to his secratry etc and just go that way rather than via the union (point in case the union is partly subsidised by the uni and so doesnt have too much clout)

as for helping the union we do - a lot - we have a list of a good 10 or so other societies that we have proformed or taught for - the problem is that this isnt directly related to the uni and so gets missed

anyway other points we had we should try finding the minutes taker for the estates and management and contact them directly. via their secretary for minutes etc


back

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K__
K__

...join us...
Location: Oxford
Member Since: 9th Jun 2006
Total posts: 184
Posted: Written by: Yakumo


coleman and k__ scare me, I'm glad they're on our side biggrin



That's what working on a Union exec for 2 years'll do for you wink


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Irinus
enthusiast
Location: London
Member Since: 19th Apr 2006
Total posts: 222
Posted:Hi guys, I'm hoping to give a more detailed reply to all your questions soon, but I'm just dumping a few ideas here in the meantime.

The facts:

I have sent an email requesting the minutes and agendas of all UCL Estates and Management Committee meetings since January 2005. According to this government website:

http://www.foi.gov.uk/yourRights/index.htm
br>
the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act definitely applies to universities and I am able to ask for any information. It also mentions that some info may be witheld to protect the interests of the college, though I believe that UCL only holds back info which affects their commercial interests.

The petition:

I am currently thinking of adressing the petition to UCL's Estates Management Committee. This is because:

a) It slightly goes over the head of HWSRN and
b) It doesn't look like a personal attack on him

I am looking to set up a wiki so that people can make ammendments to the wording and content of the petition (before we start collecting signatures) but this'll take a bit of time as I haven't yet been able to figure out how to set up a wiki and I have to cover my ass legally.

I'd appreciate any help with the wiki-ness smile


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TinyPixie
TinyPixie

enthusiast
Location: in the clouds...
Member Since: 19th Apr 2006
Total posts: 394
Posted:Hi everyone! smile

I'm currently on the case to email HWSRN's secretary as suggested.. it's taking some careful thought... I'll let you all know what happens...


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newgabe
newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali
Member Since: 3rd Mar 2005
Total posts: 4030
Posted:Good Luck Ms? Mr Pixie.

.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....

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TinyPixie
TinyPixie

enthusiast
Location: in the clouds...
Member Since: 19th Apr 2006
Total posts: 394
Posted:Thank you newgabe! hug

(I'm a miss smile )


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Irinus
enthusiast
Location: London
Member Since: 19th Apr 2006
Total posts: 222
Posted: Written by: TinyPixie

(I'm a miss smile )



You're a hit with me darlin' kiss


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Neon_Shaolin
Neon_Shaolin

hehe, 'Member' huhuh
Location: Behind you. With Jam
Member Since: 13th Jul 2005
Total posts: 6120
Posted:Get a room!

Oh wait, that what this thread is about... redface


"I used to want to change the world, now I just wanna leave the room with a little dignity..." - Lotus Weinstock

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Irinus
enthusiast
Location: London
Member Since: 19th Apr 2006
Total posts: 222
Posted:LOL biggrin

Oh, I'm starting to put some info up on the balls website (btw, Tinypixie, see this page to see how I just did that)


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Brian:-)
Brian:-)

stranger
Location: London
Member Since: 21st Jun 2004
Total posts: 37
Posted:I must admit that I have only quickly scanned over the content of this thread.
If some of the problem is that this room also a corridor. Could you make some posts and tape or something to make a designated walkway? This would stop idiots that are passing through from walking into people that are concentrating on what they are doing.


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Irinus
enthusiast
Location: London
Member Since: 19th Apr 2006
Total posts: 222
Posted:Yes! I have been a bit lazy, but I'm hoping to get TinyPixie to ask our treasurer to buy some tensabarrier / other retractable belt style barrier that we could put up before each session. We have money for this, though it might be better, and easier, to get UCL security to provide these.

One of the reasons for doing this is that we will be taking a proactive step to improve the situation despite how unhelpful the college. If we can show that we have bent over backwards to accomodate them, I think it'll strengthen our case greatly.

I'll see if we can get those for Monday's session. That's the great thing about you guys, if Brian:-) hadn't brought it up, I probably wouldn't have gotten off my ass until some time next week.

Oh, does anyone (I'm looking at you Linden) know if Balls! has a thread hidden in the depths of the Events section. I've done a search, and it only yielded the abortive "Balls! on Ice" thread though I thought Lazy Angel had put a generic Balls! thread up!!!

If there isn't one, then can TinyPixie / Linden / someone on the committee sort eet ouuuuut tongue


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lilith_in_london
member
Location: floating about
Member Since: 29th Jun 2005
Total posts: 149
Posted:hey! we were discussing this over a cup of tea and my housemate had a great idea - have you let any of the ucl student papers know about this? like pi and the cheesegrater? maybe even the allmighty london student smile

i guess if you know somebody who you could trust to write an article that would explain what's going on without being confrontational, i think we'd have the students on our side and who knows, they may sign the petition...


c'est pas nous qui sommes la rue, c'est la rue ktanou!

1st official camden town (uk) meet 21st october! see the events bit

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