Democracy Review 2019

We are making big changes to our democracy at Queen Mary Students' Union and we want YOU to have a say and tell us what you think! 

Over the past few years, we as a Students' Union have been looking at the different ways in which our democratic structures could be organised. We acknowledge that, for most of you, this can seem like a very mundane part of the Students' Union. 

However, it is these structures that enable our officers to run campaigns, support student groups and ensure that we are providing adequate welfare and academic support to all of our students. We want to empower students across all of our campuses to easily get involved with the Students' Union. In just the last year alone, your elected representatives have managed to secure around £4,000 for each of the yearly liberation campaigns that are run, managed to improve the lighting on our Whitechapel campuses for extra security and have begun lobbying the University to delcare a Climate Emergency at Queen Mary, University of London. 

Much of the work we do impacts many different students, in various ways, and we want to have your input into what changes we should be making to our democratic processes. If you fill in the survey, you could be in with a chance to win £150 cash, Queen Mary Hoodies or vouchers for Students' Union Outets

Some of the changes we are proposing are: 

Introduction of School Reps and Faculty Forums

We want to make sure your voice is being heard through our Course Representative system, so by introducing School Reps and Faculty Forums, Course Reps will have a place to give feedback and empower individuals as a collective. Faculty forums will be co-chaired by your Faculty Reps and will feed directly into the faculty and schools. 

Increasing full-time representation with new Executive Officer roles

We have an opportunity to increase our Executive Officer team by two positions as the University is open to providing more funding for additional Executive Officers. We currently use the portfolio model of Education and Welfare. What would you like to see as our additional roles? Should the positions be portfolio (Postgraduate, International, BAME) or should they be faculty-based first, then portfolio based on their manifestos.

Empowering our Zones

At the moment only Student Council can make policy but elected officers from previous years have expressed that they wish they could have made policy in their areas, rather than waiting for Student Council. As an example, this change would mean BLSA board can create BLSA-specific policy, as well as Welfare or Education Zone taking the leads on policy that affects their areas.

Creation of more non-Representative roles to remove bureaucracy from roles. 

We want to change RAG Officer and Volunteering Officer to non-representative, operational roles, so that they can lead our Raise and GIve and Volunteering committees, but without having to represent students. This change should allow them to be able to do more within their roles.  

Student Trustees to be selected rather than elected

Our Board of Trustees is the highest level of governance in the Students' Union and we want to empower the Board by having Student Trustees who are passionate about holding the Students' Union to account. We propose that the selection process will be by interview so the most suitable students are selected by Student Council to ensure the Board of Trustees is as effective as possible.

Scrutiny committee made up of Student Council 

We want to introduce and elect a Scrutiny Committee made up of Student Council representatives who will hold the Executive Officers to account. We recognise that Student Council representatives may not want to use the current system of accountability which requires them to stand up in front of Student Council. Introducing Scrutiny Committees will allow for more opportunity for students to hold their officers to account. These Scrutiny Committee's will be made up of representatives from Student Council.  

Don't forget to fill out the survey to ensure that your voices is being heard, and also enter into the chance to win some of our great prizes!