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UCLU should be run democratically by the students. This can only be achieved by effective and fair decision-making structures.

In the referendum, we are asking you to consider some potential, fundamental changes. Here is a summary, but there is more detail on the specific changes below and, of course, the unabridged document comparison attached to this page.

  • Holding more decision-making meetings that are open to all students, and fewer meetings of Union Council

  • Structures making it easier to censure and recall your Officers.

  • Splitting the Forum structure into Networks (for interest groups like Ethics and Environment and Activities), Autonomous Sections (for groups of specific people like RUMS and LGBT+) and Assemblies (for faculties and halls).

  • Replacing two of our current Full-Time Officer positions with four new ones.

    • Medical and Postgraduate Students Officer becomes:

      • Medical, Pharmacy and Health Students' Officer and

      • Postgraduate Students' Officer

    • Education and Campaigns Officer becomes:

      • Education and Campaigns Officer (but with a focus on internal campaigns) and

      • External Affairs and Campaigns Officer

and in a separate Referendum question:

  • Electing a Full-Time Womens' Officer

  • Electing a Full-Time Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Officer


Below is a Section by Section description of the changes that are proposed.

Bye-Law 1 - General

  • Added clause about equal opportunities and non-discrimination.

Bye-Law 2 – Membership

  • Removed Council's requirement to decide on associate member fees each year.

Bye-Law 3 – Faculty & Halls Assemblies, Networks and Autonomous Sections

This is where the entirely new organisational structures live. This section was formerly Forums. The best way to understand these is to read the document, but here is a summary

  • Faculty and Halls Assemblies are open meetings for the people in the faculty or hall for them to raise issues, discuss and organise campaigns and instruct their representatives.
  • Networks are meeting structures for students based around a shared activity or interest.
  • The Networks are:
    • Accommodation Network
    • Education and Welfare Network
    • Activities Network
    • Ethics and Environment Network
  • Autonomous Sections are organisations that exist to represent and serve particular groups of members. They are for campaigning, representing their constituency and organising activities targeted specifically at their members.
  • They have a huge deal of control over how they govern themselves.
  • The Autonomous Sections are:
    • Liberation Sections
      • Women's Network (name “Network” kept from previous system – I know it's confusing)
      • Black and Ethnic Minority Students' Section
      • Disabled Students' Section
      • LGBT+ Students' Section
    • Academic Sections
      • Postgraduate Association
      • RUMS Section
      • International Students' Section
      • Mature and Part-Time Students' Section
      • SSEES Section
      • Slade Students' Section
      • School of Pharmacy Students' Section

Bye-Law 4 – Union Council

The Union Council make-up has been changed so that it is primarily a legislative body, with a new body (the Executive) created to enact the changes requested. Most of the changes here are in line with that.

  • Composition now only includes officers who have direct constituencies.
  • Autonomous Sections can appoint proxies for the meeting.
  • Council meets less frequently.
  • Members given the ability to challenge the chair before they are expelled from the meeting for being naughty.
  • Chair must offer assistance to the proposer when they want to suspend the Bye-Laws.

Bye-Law 5 – Union Executive Committee

As I said in the previous section, the Executive is a new committee to ensure and monitor the implementation of Policy. Please do read the whole section.

Bye-Law 6 – Referenda

Was formerly Section 5. No significant changes other than those detailed in the last section of this summary.

Bye-Law 7 – General Assemblies

  • Members Meetings have been renamed General Assemblies (and this section has therefore been renamed).
  • The meetings are far more frequent.
  • Added the Tranter Manoeuvre for getting around Mem & Arts quorum restriction (see Council in 2012).

Bye-Law 8 – Union Policy

Was formerly Section 7

  • No huge changes aside from defining internal policy for Autonomous Sections.

Bye-Law 9 – Union Officers

  • Offices encouraged to set up working groups and advertise to all members.
  • Sabbatical Officers are on Executive Committee and not Council, unless they are also section conveners.
  • Responsibilities of the Student Media Officer absorbed into the Democracy and Communications Officer.
  • Education and Campaigns Officer external roles and responsibilities moved to new External Affairs and Campaigns Officer.
  • Postgraduate Students Officer created with extended remit of current PGA president and Medical and Postgraduate Students' Officer.
  • Medical, Pharmacy and Health Students' Officer created with much of the remit of the Medical and Postgraduate Students' Officer.
  • Student Activities Officer renamed to Activities and Events Officer.
  • Community Officer replaced with Community Relations Officer and Halls Accommodation Officer.
  • Equalities, Student Media and Education Officer removed.
  • Slade Students' and Mature and Part-Time Students' Officer created.
  • Motions of censure introduced.
  • Properly defined the Administration meetings that the Full-Time Officers have.
  • Defined “major union offices”

Bye-Law 10 – Motions to Recall Officers

This entirely new section simplifies the process to recall elected Officers from their office. Please do read it.

Bye-Law 11 – Elections

  • Updated to correct officer list.
  • Introduces hustings for Full-Time Officer candidates.

Bye-Law 12 – Subcommittees of Union Council, the Union Executive Committee and the Trustee Board

  • Fixes historically incorrect committee names.
  • Creates Elections Committee and takes elections away from the remit of Steering Committee.
  • Creates Student Media Committee primarily to meet in case of libel accusations.

Bye-Law 13 – NUS Delegation

  • Updated to new officer portfolios.
  • Creates pre-conference meetings for delegates.
  • Discusses sending delegates to Zone, Liberation and Section conferences.

Bye-Law 14 – Staffing

Updated to new terminology but otherwise unchanged.

Bye-Law 15 – Complaints Procedures for Members

Unchanged.

Bye-Law 15 – Disciplinary Procedures for Members

No major changes.

Across the Document

  • Updated Officer names, committee names, etc.
  • Cleared up ambiguities
  • General typo fixes
  • Fixed numbering
  • Improved consistency of capitalisation, hyphenation, use of ampersands, etc.
  • From legal advice:
    • Referenda may not overrule Board of Trustees or CGM (legally)
    • Changed "Section" to "Bye-Law"
    • Corrected interrelation between Mem & Arts and Bye-Laws based on legal advice and incorporated many technical changes – capitalising “Member” and “Officer”, changing “Trustee Board” to “the Board of Trustees” etc.