A report commissioned by the Students’ Association has supported reform of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC), suggesting that it be enlarged and restructured to give more power to its subcommittees.
Reform of the SRC, which acts like a student parliament to debate and pass Association policies, was first proposed in April. Maxwell Baldi, who served as Association chair for 2013-14, led a petition calling for sweeping changes to the Council’s current structure.
Although the two Association councils – the SRC and the Student Services Council (SSC) – voted not to pass Mr Baldi’s changes, they did agree to set up working groups to examine the idea of reform. Several workshops were run at the end of the last semester, and the sabbatical officers were mandated to produce a report before they left office on 1 July.
That report, written by former director of representation Teddy Woodhouse, looked at SRC equivalents from other Scottish and Commonwealth universities, and took into account the discussions from the workshops. It proposes that:
- Subcommittees should consider and amend policy proposals before they are presented to the full SRC for a vote.
- There should be six dedicated equality representatives, each with a different area of focus. The report suggests the SRC consider whether these students should have to self-identify to be eligible for the roles.
- Some of the current ‘constituency’ positions, such as the member for first year students, should be scrapped and replaced with general undergraduate or postgraduate representatives.
- An officers’ committee and an administrative team should be created to help the Association chair manage the business of the SRC.
- Overall, membership of the SRC would increase from 27 to 38 voting members.
In addition to suggesting changes to the SRC, the report also highlights areas of concern about the current system. In particular, it notes that the bureaucracy of the SRC, including the Association’s Standing Orders, may hinder rather than help it; and that the Council often struggles to advertise its work to the student body and get students engaged.
The suggestions detailed in the report will not be put forward to the Association councils directly. Instead the document was sent to members of the Association councils as part of a consultation, which finished at the beginning of August.
Ondrej Hajda, the current director of representation, will now consider the feedback and produce a final SRC reform motion, which will be presented to the SRC and SSC at the beginning of the next semester.