Latest democratic reforms approved
Council has passed the latest motion on SU Democratic Reform, which will alter the current organisation of The Exec — subject to student approval in a referendum due to be held between the 23rd of November and the 7th of December. The reforms were proposed in response to the 2010 ‘SU Big Review’ and after direct consultation with students carried out by the Exec.
The proposal will see the SU Exec reduced to five officers, from its current total of nine, with the roles being redefined and several key areas eliminated. The surviving Exec positions will be President, Education, Welfare & Community, Activities and Athletic Union officers. The roles of Accommodation, Democracy & Communications, Environment & Social Justice and Finance & Services officers will be entirely eliminated. In addition to this, Equal Opportunities will be removed from the Welfare remit and will cease to be an Exec position. However, the Exec stressed that they would remain in close contact with the student representatives that this role directly liaises with and represents.
Another controversial element of the motion were changes to the SU constitution that will allow Exec officers to run for second terms. Concerns were raised about the potential for a reduction in Exec personnel turnaround; at present, a minimum of eighteen different individuals serve on the SU Exec over a two year period, whilst under the proposed system as few as five could do so in the same time period. Members of Exec assured the SU Council that they had no intention of using the new rules to attempt to stay in office, but they also sought to emphasise the benefit of allowing an experienced and effective team to stay in office.
The proposals also state that a mixture of elected and appointed students will be added to the Board of Trustees. However, there are at this time, no planned procedures for the selection of appointed members. Democracy & Communications Officer Danny Barry told Impact that answers to these issues will be available by the time the motion comes to referendum.
Barry was keen to emphasise that he saw the proposed reforms as a step forward, stating that they are “something I feel would hugely benefit students”. He added that the intentions behind the reforms are to make the purpose of the SU exec more representational, leaving the everyday running of the SU to paid professionals. The numbers of necessary staff that will need to be hired, and the cost to the SU, is currently unknown. However, Barry stated that he hoped the move would be revenue-neutral, facilitated by the reduction in the number of paid sabbatical SU Officers.
If the reforms gain the support of students in the upcoming referendum, the Exec hopes to implement the changes for the 2012/2013 academic year. Yet, they also stressed that further consultation with students will occur over the next few months to fine-tune details.
Week One tickets forged
Ticket forgery was in operation at many of this year’s Week One events, according to reports from SU Council. There were no reports of over-crowding at any club venues, indicating that the numbers were on a relatively small scale. However, there are concerns that forgery is on the rise and Week One co-ordinator Chris Hodgkinson confirmed that it is an annual occurrence.
Tickets ranged from £4 to £7 pounds each, with the exception of the finale event which cost £28, but ticket prices are not thought to be the reason for the problem. One of the suggested causes of forgery was the extent to which tickets for each event were limited.
Aaron Calvert, Week One Rep for Lincoln Hall, said that a lot of people felt “cheated or left out” by the UV Rave event due to a shortage of places. However, Ancaster Hall Rep Jessica Croucher commented that this kind of behaviour did not happen everywhere, and stated that although some paper tickets are easily replicated, the use of coloured paper this year avoided some cases of forgery.