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Proposed Democratic Model Referendum – What Does Voting Yes or No Mean?

In anticipation of the Student Union’s proposed democratic model referendum, May outlines what voting ‘yes’ and ‘no’ really means for the future of the university. 

Between 9AM on Wednesday 12th to 3PM on Wednesday 19th February, UoNSU is holding a student-wide referendum on the structure of the Student’s Union. The question being asked is ‘Do you wish to adopt the proposed democratic model?’.

What does voting ‘yes’ or ‘no’ actually mean? 

Voting ‘No will mean you are supporting the status quo, with potential for other versions of the new model to be proposed at a later date.

Currently, the SU runs on a system of 7 Full-Time Officers (President, Activities, Community, Education, Equal Opportunities and Welfare, Postgraduate and Sport) and 7 part-time officers (BME, Disabled, Environment & Social Justice, International, LGBT+, Mature and Women’s).

Full-Time Officers work directly below the President”

This system is hierarchical. Full-Time Officers work directly below the President, and the Part-Time Officers function inside a separate Standing Committee; both are connected via the networks. Outside of this there are multiple other representational bodies including Student Run Services, Student Led Projects, Hall Committees and many others. Most of these groups feed through the President into the Union Council, the Democratic Procedures Committee and the Ideas Panel.

Voting ‘Yesin the referendum will cast your vote in favour of the adoption of the new ‘democratic model’.

The new model is more thematic, focusing on key aspects of student life (‘Community’, ‘Education’, ‘Liberation’, ‘Sustainability’, ‘Union Engagement’, and ‘Union Development’); there will be an officer for each theme. There will also be Non-Sabbatical Officers who are part-time or volunteers (BME, Disabled, LGBT+, Mature, and Women’s). All officers of the Union will be recognised as ‘politically equal’ and students’ issues will be represented both via the groups they are part of and individually via the different themes outlined above.

Each Zone has a committee of an Officer, sub-zone representatives and an elected Student Chair, each of which has one vote within the SU”

The biggest change appears to be the decision-making process. A ‘Zonal Decision-Making Structure’ will be implemented based around the first 5 themes highlighted above. Each Zone has a committee of an Officer, sub-zone representatives and an elected Student Chair, each of which has one vote within the SU.

There will be no President; the ‘Union Development Officer will sit on all ‘Zone Committees’ but has no vote on issues relating to UoNSU.

You are also able to abstain from voting via the form.

May Perrin

At Impact, we strongly encourage you to engage with the referendum, whichever way you vote. Head to <> to cast your vote.


Featured image courtesy of Arran Bee via Flickr. Image license found here

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