Maxwell Baldi, until recently the Association chair for the Students’ Association, has proposed sweeping reforms for the Students’ Representative Council (SRC).
Mr Baldi’s proposal would eliminate most specified officer roles on the SRC. Those roles would be replaced by nine undergraduate representatives and three postgraduate representatives. The roles of sabbatical officers would remain the same.
After serving as Association chair himself, Mr Baldi says he has seen room for improvement in the organisation of the council: “The current structure of the SRC inhibits rather than enhances the SRC’s effectiveness. We have a council in which too many members have hyper-focused remits, in which too few policies go through full debate and mark-up in committee, and in which committees lack the resources to implement policies.”
Under the new proposals each SRC representative would serve on at least two committees. There would be nine committees, each with a specified number of members. In addition to SRC members, each committee would have at least one sabbatical officer, though some, such as the employability committee, would have more than one. The widening access and participation committee would also have a member from the Ambassadors team, and the education committee would contain the two faculty presidents.
The Association LGBT officer would remain a position, as would the community relations officer, widening access and participation officer, and the environment and ethics officer, though all but the LGBT officer will have the word ‘Association’ removed from their respective titles and replaced with ‘SRC’. The positions of SRC accommodation officer, SRC education officer, SRC employability officer, SRC equal opportunities officer, SRC external campaigns officer and SRC wellbeing officer will also remain. The position of Association chair would continue in its current form.
Another aspect of Mr Baldi’s motion would ask all motions to go through committees first. Under the current system, a single officer can propose a motion and have it seconded by another officer. Then there will be debate, and the motion will be voted on.
If the new system were to take effect, most motions would have to be reviewed by a committee before being presented to the whole SRC. Mr Baldi believes this will improve the quality of motions presented to the SRC. He said: “When I chaired the SRC, one thing above all else was evident: motions that had been thoroughly considered in committee were better developed and more effective than those that had simply been introduced by officers.”
He commented: “My goal is to start a debate. I’m hopeful that with some additional consultation and discussion, this proposal will pass; however, my core goal is to get the SRC to start critically considering how it is structured.”
The motion will be voted on tonight at the meeting of the SRC. If adopted, the March 2015 elections will be the first in which Association members vote for these new representatives, rather than the existing officers.