Christ Church JCR this week discussed a motion to amend a Standing Order in an attempt to require the Food Rep to support Fair Trade. To amend a Standing Order, there must be a two-thirds majority. The motion did not pass, with 11 votes for, 16 abstaining and 9 against.
The discussion ‘Make the JCR Fairtrade compliant’ was held on Sunday at Christ Church JCR’s first general meeting of Trinity term. In order for Christ Church to retain their Fair Trade status, the college had asked the JCR committee to encourage Fairtrade in the JCR.
According to the General Meeting Agenda issued before the meeting, this would involve putting on Fairtrade events such as Welfare Teas, the putting up of Fairtrade posters as well as coming up with some new ideas. The agenda also noted, ‘Previous Food Reps personally have not supported the idea of Fairtrade, and have therefore done little to help College in this aim.’
The JCR made their stance clear in wishing to show their support for College in its aim to retain Fairtrade Status. The JCR offered to resolve the Standing Order referring to the duties of the Food Rep, proposing the modification, “Support the Steward’s position on Fairtrade and promote such a position in the JCR.”
The motion, which failed to pass, comes after Michaelmas term’s JCR acceptance of Meat-Free Mondays.
Fifth-year Engineer graduate student Diego Granziol told Cherwell, “I’d say it’s pretty typical of those in a position of privilege not to consider the human and environmental cost inherent in the supply chain.”
It is thought that the reason the motion did not pass was because the JCR was unsure of the benefit that Fairtrade actually generates. Some students felt that they would prefer to give the money they would have spent on Fairtrade to a more efficient charity. Christ Church JCR and the Food Rep were approached by Cherwell but declined to comment.