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The JCR is the students union for the undergraduates in the college. JCR stands for Junior Combination Room, and all Downing College undergraduates are members of the JCR unless they opt out. The JCR is elected to represent your views to college, organise activities for students and give you relevant information. We are here to help you get the most out of your time in Downing.
The JCR Committee consists of 22 people who meet together three times a term to discuss any issues of relevance to the students (see the minutes for examples). Committee members have their own areas of responsibility (see details), but the Committee structure means that all JCR officers have a say on a broad range of issues. Officers work closely with each other in relevant divisions (such as Welfare or Communications) and also liase with individual students, the college and CUSU .
These seven JCR Officers meet more regularly to see through the implementation of policy agreed by the JCR Committee or an Open Meeting, as well as deal with more urgent business arising from their areas. For more detail on how divisions work see the constitution or the summary.
The JCR is here to help you, but can do this best if we know about your problems and suggestions. Each JCR Officer has their own area of responsibility, but many overlap. You can contact any member of the JCR Committee you feel comfortable approaching, either by e-mail or in person. Have a look at the JCR Committee to see contact details and areas of responsibility. Additionally, this website has a wide range of information from welfare issues to services, as well as opportunities for your feedback. If a JCR Officer is not qualified in your area of concern or suggestion, they may forward your comment, complaint or suggestion to another JCR Officer, or suggest alternative sources for you to contact. However, in Welfare issues, your concerns will always be treated in the strictest confidence. If you are ever not satisfied with a response or have a matter of more serious concern, any undergraduate can always e-mail the President about anything.
Almost all posts on the Committee are elected in Lent Term (see JCR Committee). Any undergraduate student who is not in their final year can stand for election to any position (see the constitution for further details). The term of office is for one year, and all JCR Officers are volunteers who do the same academic work as everyone else. The process is slightly different for the Bar President and the Bar Committee (chosen by the previous committee), the Event Director (chosen by the previous committee) the Event Committee (appointed by the new Event Director) and the Freshers' Committee (appointed by the elected Freshers' Reps).
An Open Meeting is a chance for the JCR Committee to update you on what they have been doing, and answer your questions, as well as your chance to influence policy. The officers are elected, and they are accountable to you. It is also a forum for sampling student opinion, and student motions are proposed at each meeting on a variety of topics. These may be something an individual wants to change is college, or a JCR Officer has an idea they want to ascertain support for. It is your chance to have your say, by speaking or voting, on the issues that affect you. At least one Open Meeting is held every term.
Any undergraduate can propose a motion on any issue for a JCR Open Meeting. However, motions that affect the MCR, create a new club or society or change the constitution need to be proposed to a DCAC Open Meeting . Open Meetings are advertised at least seven days in advance, and motions should be submitted to the Vice-President four days before the date of an Open Meeting. Motions should try to be less than 100 words in length and need a proposer and seconder. If a motion is passed by a simple majority at a quorate Open Meeting, it becomes JCR policy and a mandate for the officers of the JCR. Quorum is the number of people required for a fair representation, and this is 40 at JCR Open Meeting and 60 for the DCAC. You can submit a motion online or see the Constitution for more precise details.
The MCR is the union for graduates within the college. The Downing College Amalgamation Club (DCAC) is the combination of the JCR and the MCR. The DCAC Open Meeting is for MCR and JCR members, and so deals with issues that affect both the graduate and undergraduate students in Downing, such as the budget, clubs and societies or the DCAC constitution. This is normally held once a term, and often precedes a JCR Open Meeting.
CUSU represents the college JCRs and MCRs at the university-wide scale. CUSU campaigns on issues that affect students in all colleges, help representation to the University Authorities, and offers help and support for JCR Officers as well as individual students. See their website for more information on the services they can provide. (Note: This is different from the Cambridge Union which is the student debating and speakers society).
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