Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)UB/GUILD/A/3
TitleGuild of Undergraduates committee, later Guild Council
Extent56 volumes
DescriptionThis series consists of minute books and attendance books for meetings of the Guild of Undergraduates committee, later Guild Council. Although the first surviving minute book dates from 1902, it is not clear whether the first meeting recorded was in fact the first meeting of this body. Overlaps in the dates of meetings are due to the practice of holding concurrent meetings of the outgoing and incoming executive committees in May and June of each academic session. The names of committee members are usually recorded, and there is information about the appointment and resignation of permanent staff at the Guild. Several volumes include internal name and subject indexes.

Minutes for the 1902-1903 academic session are very brief but state that the Guild of Undergraduates was to be the channel through which the wishes of the student body were to be made known to the university authorities, and discuss the formation of sub-committees and the allotment of the students fund to various societies. The committee also managed the use of rooms available to students until 1930 when the Union Committee was established, though there is most information about this aspect of the Guild of Undergraduates committee work before the First World War. Other responsibilities included the administration of Mermaid following the resignation of the Students' Representative Council in May 1903 which had previously managed the magazine, and the formulation and revision of the Guild constitution, law and bye laws. Representatives from each Faculty, as well as members of the Men's and Women's Day Training College were included on the committee. Minutes include information about the Warden's Address, the reports of the General Purpose committee, discussion of course teaching and the syllabus including student complaints about overcrowding, and reports of standing committees which include lists of committee members.
There is some information about Guild election business and inter-university debates in the minutes for the period before the First World War, and references to applications from student societies for affiliation with the Guild. Further discussion of some of the matters referred to in minutes from this period can be found in correspondence described at UB/GUILD/D.

Minutes of the committee dating from the 1920s contain discussion of Guild finances and those of Mermaid magazine and include copies of treasurers reports from the late 1920s, the management of Guild plays, the management of and appointment to standing committees including copies of the reports of these committees, details of the constitutions of affiliated student societies, the administration of Carnival, and information about the Guild's relationship with the National Union of Students and international student organisations. Issues raised at NUS Council meetings are reported after 1945. Other topics discussed include visits by student delegates from other countries, various issues referred for discussion from the Union Committee after 1930, and from other standing committees, the representation of university departments and faculties on Guild Council after 1930, and matters relating to categories of Guild membership, particularly to external and honorary membership, but also to cases of suspended membership following disciplinary action. Minutes of extraordinary meetings of Guild Council and emergency extraordinary meetings are included. There are also references from Guild Council minutes to entries in the Guild Report books for the 1930s and 1940s, described at UB/GUILD/C. Minutes of Guild Council from this period give some indication of the political stance of some students who were involved in peace demonstrations, the position of the Socialist club towards the civil war in Spain, and demands for a boycott of Japanese goods in protest against Japan's aggression in China. They also reveal the Guild Council's desire to remain politically neutral in its response to these issues. Discussion of controversial articles in Mermaid, Guild News and Redbrick also suggests that the Guild often preferred not to support contentious points of view. From the 1960s onwards minutes include interim and final reports from student societies about their activities, copies of income and expenditure accounts, and the names of members of standing committees. In addition, there are agendas and supporting papers, annual reports of the standing committees, and reports on specific events such as Freshers Conference. From the 1970s the minutes include reports from Guild representatives on University committees and submission documents prepared by Guild Council for University committees. These largely relate to funding but also more generally to student welfare. Other information consists of copies of NUS conference and policy documents. From the 1980s onwards recommendations of the Guild Executive committee are included
ArrangementMinute books are listed in chronological order, with a separate minute book covering the years 1902 to 1946 at the end of the sequence of minute books. Attendance books are listed at the end of the entire sequence
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryThe Guild of Undergraduates committee was established to manage the affairs of the student body, though for the first few years of its existence it confined its remit to representing the interests of students studying for a degree, while the Students' Representative Council looked after the interests of all students studying at the university, whether taking a degree or not. During the first few years of the committee's existence it seems to have confined its attention to educational problems, while the Students' Representative Council controlled all other aspects of management of student interests and facilities. Even after 1903, when the Students' Representative Council was dissolved, the Guild of Undergraduates committee does not seem to have been particularly active, although it gradually took on more responsibilities and by the outbreak of the First World War was deciding policy and taking major decisions, while delegating other roles to sub-committees. The Guild of Undergraduates committee was renamed Guild Council in 1930, and responsibilities relating to the management and maintenance of the new Guild building at Edgbaston, and of student facilities at Edmund Street were now taken over by the newly established Union committee. Guild Council continued to meet under chairmanship of the President of the Guild, according to the constitution, and was empowered to make bye-laws. Reforms to Guild Council in the mid 1970s meant that the President was replaced as chairman by an independent member. For further information about the development of Guild Council and its relationship with other committees, see the collection level description


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