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Education Quality and Policy Office


Statutory definition of Reserved Business

Special Ordinance A (vii) 5; 2019 pp.69-71

5. No registered student nor sabbatical officer of a student union recognized by the University shall be present, whether as a member or otherwise, at a meeting of any body constituted in the University by Statute, or of any other body appointed by such a statutory body, for the discussion of, or decision on, any matter which the Chair of the meeting declares to be reserved. The following matters shall be reserved:

      (i) the employment or promotion, or any matter relating to the employment or promotion, of individuals by the University;

      (ii) the admission and academic assessment of individuals;

      (iii) such other matters as may be specified by Statute or Ordinance in respect of any particular body or class of bodies; and

      (iv) any other matter at the discretion of the Chair;

provided that none of the provisions of this Section shall apply to meetings of the Regent House for discussion, to Congregations of the Regent House, or to meetings of any court constituted by or under Statute D.

Service as a member of a Board, Syndicate, or other body shall be deemed not to be employment for the purpose of (i) above; nevertheless, appointments, nominations for appointment, or co-optations of persons to serve as members of Boards, Syndicates, or other bodies may be reserved under (iii) or (iv) above.

In any case of doubt, the Chair shall decide whether an item of business is reserved and the Chair's decision shall be final. No registered student nor sabbatical officer of a student union recognized by the University shall receive papers relating to any item of reserved business, except that members of any body constituted by Statute, or of any body appointed by such a statutory body, who are a registered student or sabbatical officer of a student union recognized by the University may, if the statutory body so decides, receive minutes of the decisions taken on reserved business.

Various matters may also be Reserved by Ordinance.


Faculty Board use of the Reserved Agenda

The Chair also has discretion to declare business reserved. While it is essential that the formal requirements should be observed, it does not well serve the interests of Faculty Boards or their students if the Chair's discretion is used to define areas of reserved business well beyond those required by Ordinance.

For example, the General Board regard the reports of External Examiners for Tripos and MPhil examinations, either in full or abridged (if that is necessary to maintain confidentiality on sensitive issues or on matters which might identify individual candidates), as unreserved business. Indeed, it is important that information about matters raised by External Examiners is provided not only to student representatives on Faculty Boards, Student-Staff Committees etc. but is also made widely available to students, e.g. through Directors of Studies and/or in departmental libraries. Reports of General Board Review Committees should be treated similarly.

Central bodies (e.g. the General Board) restrict, in the main, items of Reserved Business to business in accordance with the Special Ordinance quoted above. The student members of those bodies receive all unreserved documents and participate fully in discussion of them. It is anomalous if a central body is considering, as Unreserved Business, items from Faculty Boards with which the student representatives on those Faculty Boards have not been involved.

Faculty Boards are asked to ensure that an explanation of the nature of items considered to be reserved is given to new Faculty Board student representatives as part of their induction

It is good practice for students to be informed, in general terms, what matters will be considered under the reserved agenda.