By Jasleen Kaur – Features Editor
The SU’s Trustee Board has rejected a proposed reform of the Student Affairs Committee (SAC), despite a unanimous vote from the Students’ Council supporting it.
The proposal would have seen the removal of Media Officer both as an elected member of the SAC and Trustee of the SU, and instead replaced with a staff member that would allow for student media to be run more independently by its volunteers.
Changes would have also been made to the rest of the SAC roles, with name altercations for the Campaigns Officer and Activities and Participation Officer (APO). These would become Welfare Officer and Activities Officer respectively.
All such changes would have come into effect for the upcoming student elections in March.
The motion, put forward by the current SAC, also recommended a 5th elected position being reinstated as a Communities Officer, which would be in place for the following year (2016-17). The role would be responsible for community volunteering, Raising And Giving (RAG), and halls community development.
The Students’ Council passed the motion on February 9, however, the Trustee Board vetoed the democratic reform, after concerns were raised on both the financial and democratic implications of such changes.
Any future proposals taken to the board will not be implemented until 2016, due to this year’s election material having now been confirmed and released.
SU President Lee Mac was frustrated with the decision, expressing the time and effort that went into the plans that reflected the views of students and both past and present sabbatical officers.
“After months of deliberation around the reform of the SAC I’m sad to see it didn’t pass,” He said. “After the level of enthusiasm and engagement from not only SAC, but also Student Council and students who had expressed their opinion it comes as a real shame.”
“The SAC have understood the battle might have been lost, but we can still win the war! So from here we are currently looking at different ways to make the change happen before we finish our year in office.”
“It’s something that has been a talking point for years.” He said, “The two past Media Officers have suggested this change too, and I agree with it 100%. A Students’ Union, or at least ours, shouldn’t have an elected representative for media.
“Don’t get me wrong, student media is extremely important for every union, and in almost every case it is underestimated in both how much effort is put into it and how much positive change it can create by getting students enthused about what’s happening on campus.
“But even if there were 3,000 media volunteers compared to the current 300, there shouldn’t be someone elected to manage them, especially a trustee of the union. There should be a staff member there to support and advise students in running it themselves.”
“We’re [the SAC] going to make sure that even despite these changes not coming into effect until at least next year, that we can work towards cementing a policy that will leave a righteous legacy of our year in office.”
The upcoming student elections will see the officer positions remain the same, with President, Education, APO, Media and Campaigns all still in place. Nominations are now open until March 6.