SUSU’s AGM, held on Thursday, saw a number of important decisions made about the University of Southampton’s Student Union, including a motion passed to reduce the number of sabbatical officers from seven to five.
At the AGM, VP Democracy and Creative Industries (DCI) Evie Reilly put forward two alternative options for the future structure of SUSU sabbatical officers. The proposal, based on a six-person sabbatical officer structure, was narrowly defeated by 56 votes to 49, but the five-person sabbatical officer structure proposal was narrowly passed by 59 votes to 47.
The new sabbatical officer structure, which will be implemented from the 2019/2020 academic year onward, and thus will be the sabbatical positions students can run for in SUSU’s Spring 2019 elections, will be formed of the following:
- SUSU President
- VP Education and Democracy
- VP Sports
- VP Activities
- VP Welfare and Community
The following graphic (and article featured image) illustrates how responsibilities (second row) will be divided up between the sabbatical officer postings and which sabbatical officer student leaders will be reporting to (first row):
Currently, there are seven sabbatical officer positions: SUSU President; VP DCI; VP Education; VP Engagement; VP Sports; VP Student Communities; VP Welfare. Although the number of student leader/officer positions will remain the same (33) the roles covered will change. There will now be specific LGBT+, Women’s and Disabilities Officers, while Union media heads, RAG President and Union Films President will no longer be student leader roles in their own right.
A number of other important decisions were made at the SUSU AGM. One of the most clear-cut votes concerned the topic of anonymous submissions to SUSU’s You Make Change platform. Previously, new guidance had appeared on the You Make Change web page before Saturday 18th November stating that anonymous submissions would no longer be published. Explaining why this change had been made, VP Sports and Deputy President Steve Gore said that some students had used the system to ‘harass and abuse’ SUSU employees. Following discussion at the Union Senate of the change, it was mandated that a motion concerning anonymous submissions would be put to the SUSU AGM.
The motion proposed was overwhelmingly backed by 80 votes in favour to 14 against and maintains the status quo that anonymous submissions can be published, although sabbatical officers have the right to decline publication on several grounds, including if submissions contain ‘abuse or encourage the harassment of Sabbatical Officers’ or ‘content which is deemed offensive’.
As well as the six-person sabbatical officer restructure proposal, one other AGM motion was rejected. The proposal to make the chair of the student union’s trustees an external trustee, was narrowly rejected by 44 votes against to 40 in favour. This means the current position of the SUSU President automatically being the chair of trustees remains in place.
To view the full SUSU AGM vote results, click here.