Chair's Blog: My First Executive

Items for information.

Hopefully all those returning to Lancaster are aware of the big democratic changes that the Students’ Union went through at the back end of last year, but just in case you missed it or are starting new this year, I’ll give you a quick run through!

The democratic structures have changed so that all students can have more input on the Students’ Unions’ policies and activities. That means if you have an idea, you can submit it here: [http://lusu.co.uk/thestudentvoice] and all the ideas will be looked at by the Union Executive.

I'm sure (!) that you've read through LUSU’s Constitution to find out what the Executive do…

 

...but just in case you haven't, I'll explain. The Executive’s primary duties include representation and campaigning work, approving changes to bye-laws, act as a consultation body, coordinating Union objectives and the FTOs, and ‘reviewing student policy ideas and either acting upon them, or referring them  to other decision-making mechanisms.’

Items to report.

So, if you have any ideas the Executive will look through them and make some decisions based on the information you have submitted. The Student Voice hub is happy to receive any ideas, and if they are easy and quick fixes then they will be categorised as ‘Union Feedback’ and we make sure they get sent to the correct department. Sometimes the ideas that come through might be more relevant to the University, so they come under ‘University Feedback.’ Again, we make sure this information is going to the correct department within the University and one of the Full Time Officer team will speak on behalf of the students if we feel like the University need a nudge of encouragement to crack on with it! The rest of the ideas will then be discussed at Executive to decide whether they are contentious or not.

But what really is contention? How is this something we can decide on?

Thankfully 🙏 the Constitution gives us a handy definition:

If the Executive don’t believe that the policy idea that was been submitted is contentious, and the student population would we be pleased to see this change, we can approve the policy and start to consider how to implement it. If, however, the Executive believe that students might be torn about a policy idea then the idea is moved onto a student jury (a blog post for another day) a group of randomly selected students to make a decision on!  The membership of Executive is made up of a diverse range of students to ensure that the decisions we make have been carefully considered, but the minutes from each Executive will be main available online soon after the meeting for you to have a look through.

Items to approve.

So, back to last Wednesday.

It was the first time we went through Executive in its new format, so I won't say there weren't any hiccups… but I do think that it worked well! During the meeting we discussed all of the ideas that have made it onto the website so far and the outcome of the policy ideas can be found here.

Already, there are ideas going to our first Jury, which is set to happen in the middle of Michaelmas term. The following items will be sent:

  • Do more to protect the environment - including stopping the use of disposable cups in its shop and increasing its charge for plastic carrier bags
  • Become more politically neutral - staying out of debates on international politics and focussing on higher education and cost of living  issues that directly affect students

In order for the Jury to make a decision on these items, we really need some student feedback on them! So if you have any thoughts or supporting documents in favour or against these ideas, log onto the website and comment them under each idea. More details about how to submit evidence for the Jury to consider will be coming out soon, but for now you are able to vote on how you feel about them!

And that's it. Union Executive in under 700 words.
…If you are still confused about the process for ideas and Executive, please get in touch: lusu.vp.development@lancaster.ac.uk . But hopefully a few more of you are now happy to submit some policy ideas and at the next meeting (Wednesday Week 1) we will have a lot to discuss!

That’s all the governance stuff for now, have an excellent Welcome Week!