Since the beginning of the academic year, we, your President team, have been approached and asked multiple times why the Students’ Union has not taken a stance on or endorsed recent movements, including the UCU strikes and the EndFossil movement. Whether it be in support or against, we have realised that students want to see the SU stand for a particular position, but based on our current constitution and bye-laws, we are unable to do this on our own.
In order for the SU to hold a stance, a motion has to be submitted through the Make a Change tool and receive 25 upvotes from other students. All motions with 25 upvotes will be taken to our student council who will discuss, debate and vote – their vote will result in an official stance being taken by the SU. We can then use this stance to apply pressure to the universities to make further widespread change. The reason for this is because we are led by our members. The students. You. We cannot take a stance without your input or else it will not be representative.
However, we realise that this is not the best process. It can become lengthy and complicated when it does not need to be. Therefore, we are currently undertaking a democracy review, considering all levels of student representation, from the President roles to the way students share their opinions with the SU, we want to change the current processes to ensure they embolden students to get involved in all levels of student democracy.
We want students to feel empowered during their time at university and student democracy. You have the opportunity to be part of a bigger movement, create monumental change, and set the direction of the SU. We are your union, and we can take a stance that is representative of your thoughts and opinions, but we need you to share your thoughts to enable our current processes to work.
Currently, The Students’ Union works as a Representative Democracy, with your votes during elections giving all your reps the mandate to work for positive change on your behalf. Contacting your representatives with your feedback means that your views will be heard and that they can better empower the student voice.
Within our current structures, you have other ways to have your voice heard. The SU works with both Falmouth and Exeter Universities to support Academic Reps. These reps, such as Course Reps, Department Reps and Subject Chairs work alongside academic staff to act on student feedback and create positive change within your courses. Similarly, Part-Time Officers, who are voting members of Student Council, often work alongside the Universities following student feedback, as do your President team.
If you want the SU to take a stance on the upcoming UCU strikes, a specific campaign or movement, governmental policies, or anything else you are passionate about, submit a Make a Change motion or you can get in touch with your SU Presidents (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Student Voice (email@example.com) team for further support.