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Lack Of Communication Causes Union Problems

Students’ Union officers have been accused of “poor communication” with regard to the funding and organisation of Student Run Services. The recent SU Council meeting saw the TEC student group director Adam Robbins question Democracy and Communications Officer Luke Mitchell about the Union’s decision to reorganise SRSs.

There have been a series of conversations between the two groups after changes to categorisation of SRSs were put forward without the officers actually consulting the SRSs. TEC, despite being a large and influential group – particularly involved in the smooth running of Week One – have now been filed as a society under ‘hobbies and interests’, on the recently renovated SU website. They claim this has reduced their membership intake and affected the morale of many of their current crew members, but they are most upset with the lack of communication over the past few months.

Tension built at the meeting when Mitchell was questioned about the problem during the council meeting. His reasoning behind the changes included an apparent lack of understanding of the term ‘Student Run Services’ on the part of  the students. Whilst understanding this, TEC were keen to show that the issue was not so much with the changes themselves but with the lack of communication thereof. With TEC offices a mere “25 paces away” from those of the Students’ Union, they could not understand why they weren’t approached to discuss the changes.

Despite the allegations, Mitchell insisted that he knew that “communication is about putting yourself in the shoes of the people you’re talking to”. However he also mentioned that he felt there was no need for consultation with the various student run services, due to the fact that apparently few students were aware of what ‘SRS’ stood for. When posing the question “who here is not a member of an SRS, but know what SRS stands for?” to the meeting, many hands were raised.

Speaking with Adam Robbins, Director of TEC, after the meeting, Adam mentioned that it was very difficult to communicate with the Union – it had taken Mitchell three days to reply to emails during Freshers’ week.  However he remained positive, commenting that although the issues “are not ideal”, solutions are possible as long as communications can be improved.

Hannah Kirby

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3 Comments on this post.
  • Sammy B
    6 November 2012 at 14:43
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    Seems somewhat concerning given that if the SU is unable to communicate now, when they have an officer dedicated to Communication, what’s it going to be like next year when DemComms is removed?

    And also, the concept of SRS is not THAT complex…. Yes, people might not understand the acronym “SRS” but the full title “Student Run Service” is pretty self explanatory, and surely having that as the title on the website would suffice?

    I mean to say the students are at Nottingham Uni, so one would hope that they could grasp the simple idea conveyed in the few self explanatory words…

  • Joe C
    6 November 2012 at 15:15
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    We don’t know for certain if there will be a DemComms officer or not next year – that’s not been ratified by a quorate council or referendum yet.

    Also, it is Student-Run Service, not Student Run Service. 🙂

  • David
    8 November 2012 at 16:24
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    ‘Mitchell insisted that he knew that “communication is about putting yourself in the shoes of the people you’re talking to”.’

    Funny, I thought that it was about actually talking to them…

    What does it matter if most students don’t know what SRS stands for, or even what Student Run Services actually are, so long as they attract members, provide excellent services or content for the student body at large, and continue to give opportunities to those who want to take part? Such a nonsensical change, I’d be curious to hear more about the real thinking behind it.

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