A message from Student Union President, Osaro Otobo.
Last academic year we asked you, ‘Do you believe you can influence decisions at your students’ union?’. Only 30% of you said yes. Let’s talk about changing that.
To find out what students think I conducted a governance review in trimester one with the support of staff this 18/19 academic year. The consultation happened across all zones and feedback was gained through various methods to ensure lots of different types of students could all contribute. Following on from the consultation period, a democracy workshop open to all students took place on Wednesday 5th December. There, we looked at what decision-making structures looked like currently at Hull University Union and what they could look like in the future. There is a focus on improving our core decision-making structure, Union Council.
Currently, students say this about our core decision-making structure:
- People are unaware of how it works
- Rules are confusing and ambiguous
- Intimidating for new students
- Not student-focused
They want our core decision-making structure to be:
- More clear, obvious and accessible to students outside the system.
- Give control to students instead of just looking like it
- Simple – a student should be able to put forward an idea without it requiring too much work from them
My findings from the review can be seen in more detail in this report. Currently, the ideal qualities that students have said that they want in their decision-making system are not truly reflectively in our current system. Whilst over students’ unions have grown and developed their core decision-making system over the years to meet student needs, our Union Council at Hull University Union has not changed and has stayed the same since the beginning. If Hull University Union wants to be a relevant students’ union its core decision-making structure must work effectively for all students. Here are my recommendations:
- Hull University Union should hold a referendum in order to change Union Council, our core decision-making system, into an improved system that works better for students. Take a look at the petition for this here.
- Create a working group for students interested in improving our system for better student decision-making. Any potential new structure must be worked on in partnership with students – it has to be student-led.