The Students’ Association councils have voted to delay the motion regarding reform of its own body. Former Association chair Maxwell Baldi, who proposed the reform, said he felt they had “failed the students” who presented the petition to the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) and the Student Services Council (SSC) on 8 April.
The motion suggested that the current organisation of the SRC needed to change to broaden the responsibilities of each member. Mr Baldi believes that giving elected officers a very restricted job, for example the member for private accommodation who exclusively handles private accommodation, causes problems for the efficiency of the SRC.
Mr Baldi proposed that students would elect nine undergraduate officers and three postgraduate officers instead of the current system. These officers would then be required to serve on at least two of nine committees. The committees would include accommodation, education, and widening access and participation.
However, the motion was put on hold indefinitely. Initially, it was suggested that it would be postponed until Tuesday 22 April, but this was changed to an indefinite postponement so that members could gather more information about the issues it raised and the proposed solution. The new SRC and SSC officers have only held their positions for a few weeks and it was felt that they will know more about their roles and how to improve them as they are allowed to gain experience. Because the motion has been proposed but remains unresolved, it can be called up at any time during a meeting of the SRC or the SSC.
Mr Baldi said he was disappointed by the news. After the meeting, he commented: “I’m incredibly disappointed that the council has refused to tackle the issue of SRC reform head-on. I remain hopeful that this reform proposal can cling to life over the summer, but I’m not optimistic.
“I think the councils tonight failed the students who petitioned it and all students who deserve a more effective representative structure.”
Other issues addressed at the meeting were the elections of several positions from the SRC and SSC.
The SRC successfully elected both an SRC senior and deputy senior officer, and nominees to the SSC societies committee.
There were three nominations for the position of SRC senior officer, a role which involves attending meetings with the Board of Trustees and the Students’ Association Board. The member for international students, Omar Ali; the member for external campaigns Walter Andrews; and the Association community relations officer, Zara Evans, all ran. After one round of voting, Zara Evans won with 12 votes. Pledging to “perform this role in an effectively diligent manner”, she noted that her familiarity with the Charities and Trustee Investment Act of 2005 informed her understanding of the role of trustee.
The role of SRC deputy senior officer also had three nominations: Sium Ghebru, the member for ethnic minorities; Annie Newman, the member for gender equality; and David Norris, the wellbeing officer. After the first round of voting, David Norris was elected with 15 votes.
Nominees to the SSC societies committee were Jo Boon, the member for first years; Alexandre Ciric, the member for university accommodation; Alasdair MacLennan, the member for students with disabilities; and Omar Ali, who previously ran for SRC senior officer. After two rounds of voting, the elected representatives were Alasdair MacLennan and Jo Boon.
The SSC likewise elected both senior and deputy senior officers, and a nominee to the societies committee.
Nominations for the SSC senior officer included the member without portfolio, Anna Kennedy-O’Brien, and the societies officer, Courtney Lewis. After the first round of voting, the member without portfolio was elected. Talking about her impartiality, she said: “I have no obligation to any sub-committees”.
Only Michael Thadani, the external funding officer, was nominated for the role of SSC deputy senior officer. Similarly, just one person ran to be a nominee for the SSC societies committee – Kyle Blain, the SSC charities officer. Both candidates were successfully elected to their respective positions.