Jargon Buster

A new student and haven't interacted with Guild Council before? You're a current student leader and find the terms confusing? Check out the jargon buster!

A new student and haven't interacted with Guild Council before? You're a current student leader and find the terms confusing? Check out the jargon buster!


This specialist committee is chaired by the VP Education and is a way of maintaining strong communication and student-led planning at the heart of Academic Representation.


Action Logs for 2019-20 are held on SharePoint and will be maintained by permanent staff in order that students have a contextual overview of all decisions and important actions from Guild Council and the committees.


The administration of Guild Council is done entirely by full-time permanent staff who have support from casual student staff to take notes throughout meetings. The processes for this year have been simplified considerably over previous years and efficiency has been built in. Staff will not perform the same function twice or provide superfluous processes.


A formal record of the principal points/topics to be discussed at a meeting, and the order in which they are to be addressed. For the 2019-20 year all Agenda are held online, in the event on the Guild website for each meeting.

Agenda points which are intended to inform committee members of actions which have been taken, or information which is necessary for transparency. Sometimes items will be marked as “to ratify” which is a general indication that the committee needs to agree that what has been done is correct.

Agenda points which are intended to establish a course of action or a decision. These are items which need the committee to collectively agree on an action.

Agenda points which require an action. These are items where a course of action has been established, and the action is now required to be done.


The formal written byelaws which set out the governance of the Guild, and how student leaders engage with democratic governance. The Byelaws are jointly issued with Trustee Board which means that both Guild Council and Trustee Board can propose and ratify changes; and that both bodies must individually agree to a potential change before it can be made.


Chairs will take Chair’s Action between meetings as required when decisions must be made in order for action to be taken and then have that ratified by the respective committee as needed. Chair’s Action can be restricted in the first meeting of each committee by a vote which sets restricted business which cannot be devolved to the chair as an individual.

Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct sets out the standards required of elected student representatives, as well as the current complaints and disciplinary procedures. Elected student representatives should adhere to the code in all of their elected activities.

Convention Council

A handover meeting between an outgoing and incoming Council. This would normally happen before the new Guild Council takes office; but is a place for them to plan any actions they wish to collectively take for the year ahead.


The name for Guild Council’s web presence on the Guild website. The Council online pages include the Index of committees, the full list of elected Officers, links to action logs and the full schedule of meetings.

Also new this year are the “submit” functions which replace Student Ideas, where students can engage directly with Council by submitting questions and agenda items.

Democracy & Governance Council

This specialist Council is responsible for keeping student democracy fun and relevant. It is chaired by the DVP Democracy & Governance.

Deputy Vice-President (DVP)

These elected voluntary positions are normally held for one year. They include DVP Equality, Democracy & Governance, Wellbeing, International, Sustainability and Societies and are also responsible for chairing relevant student-led committees.


A large, open space located on the Streatham Campus inside Devonshire House. The Students’ Guild is based here and Full-time elected Officers, the Student Voice team and the Activities team, can all be found here.

Disciplinary Meetings

Extraordinary meetings, outside of the Guild Council meetings, in which specific disciplinary matters are discussed.


As well as directly scheduled support for Chairs of meetings to establish Agenda for meetings and conclude other support functions, there is a fully scheduled set of drop-in sessions where any student or elected or appointed member of Council can come for support and help in delivering their roles.

Elected Executive

An umbrella term for all elected students who fall under the scrutiny of Shadow Council, consisting of the Full-time elected Officers and Deputy Vice Presidents.

Equality Council

Equality Council is responsible for campaigning for the liberation of marginalised students at Exeter, listening to and amplifying the voices of those at the margins, particularly those with multiple exclusions or intersecting oppressions. It is chaired by the DVP Equality.

Full-time Elected Officers

Paid, full-time Elected officers who take responsibility for improving different areas of the University of Exeter student experience. Membership includes the Guild President, VP Education, VP Welfare & Diversity, VP Activities, VP Postgraduate and the Athletic Union President.

Guild Chair

A voluntary elected role who is the Chair and convenor for all of Guild Council’s meetings. They work with the Student Voice Manager to make the student democracy as efficient as possible.

GUILD Council

Guild Council is the collective term for all Specialist Councils and Executive Committees, and acts as the highest members’ representative body of the Guild separate from the Board of Trustees. 


The Executive members of Guild Council meet informally several times a term so that they can catch-up with one another as a group and discuss planning and how everyone’s role is going.


A concise record of a meetings proceedings. Minutes take longer to prepare and are hard for ordinary students to read. For that reason, minutes must be requested by a meeting Chair and will not be prepared as default by staff support.

Notice of Improvement

The Notice of Improvement is a positive framework aimed at discussing and proposing solutions to a member of the Elected Executive who has failed to progress sufficiently on one or more of their manifesto point(s). It is first and foremost a discussion between the Shadow Councillors and the relevant Elected Officer aimed at improving performance in the best interests of all student members.


The National Union of Students is a national body which campaigns for and on behalf of students and its’ members. Students’ Unions pay affiliation fees to be members of the National Union and have access to services including election support and campaigning materials.


NUS Delegates are elected by cross-campus ballot to represent the Guild at the national conferences including the main UK Conference and the Liberation Conference. NUS Delegates are encouraged to engage with Guild Council in order to develop policy for national conference but are not voting members of Council.

Chairs are advised to give NUS Delegates speaking rights at meetings to enhance their support and engagement.

PGT Executive

PGT Executive is the meeting for PGT Reps and Officers to have their views on academic representation and education matters discussed in a separate forum, to be able to feed those views into Academic Executive.

PGR Executive

PGR Executive is the meeting for PGR Reps and Officers to have their views on academic representation and research matters discussed in a separate forum, to be able to feed those views directly to the Doctoral College.


The minimum number of people entitled to attend and vote who must be present at a meeting to make valid decisions at that meeting. For Shadow Council meetings the quorum is 50%, i.e. 6.


The collective term for the representative body charged with the main duties of holding the Executive to account for and on behalf of the entire student body. Shadow Councillors and other representatives should work positively with Executive Officers to improve their aims, goals and objectives in the collective best interests of the entire student body.

Shadow Councillor

A voluntary elected role responsible for supporting the elected Executive as a representative of all students. They are required to attend Shadow Council, Scrutiny Panels and Shadowing sessions.

Shadow Councillor-elect

A Shadow Councillor elect is a student who has been elected to Shadow Council but has yet to take up office. They are usually elected (in March) before the term of the current Shadow has elapsed (in July).


Sessions during which Shadow Councillors follow a Full-time elected Officer or DVP to ascertain whether they are carrying out their duties effectively. Shadow Councillors are required to submit a report which may be used during Shadow Council meetings.

Societies Council

Societies Council is a specialist Council, which exists to represent the interests of Guild Societies and student groups and lead on projects to improve the experience of groups and their members. In addition, the Societies Council makes decisions on affiliating new societies to the Guild and distributing Guild grant funding. It is chaired by the DVP Societies.


Societies Forums exist for all groups of Societies and are chaired and convened by the Societies Officers. These are less formal meetings where the interests of individual Societies are directly considered and the development of services is discussed first.

Terms of Reference (ToR)

A detailed outline of the purpose, structure, objectives, and background of a committee, project, or meeting.

Trustee Board

This is the ultimate governing body for the Guild’s work as a charitable organisation and is legally charged with ensuring that the Guild is operating in accordance with its stated aims, objectives and powers as defined in the Articles of Association.

Vote of No Confidence

A motion which happens in the event that a Notice of Improvement fails and leads the relevant Elected Officer to be suspended temporarily from their function, pending the approval of Trustee Board.

The relevant member of the elected Executive can appeal with a democratic election against RON to determine that their removal from office is the will of the student membership, and in their best interests.


Voting in Guild Council is “on the record.” Permanent staff are responsible for administering this record, and will record the issue being voted on, the number voting yes, the number voting no and the number voting to abstain. Where a secret ballot is called, this will be done on paper in the meeting.

There is no direct way to enable secret ballots on the Guild website, and so that function is restricted to meetings only.

University of Exeter Students' Guild is a Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered Charity Number: 1136468 Company Number: 07217324; registered in England and Wales Registered office: Devonshire House, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4PZ