Students’ Union Assemblies replaced in favour of General Meetings

AT THE Students’ Union Assembly this evening, members voted to dissolve the Assembly structure. The motion to replace the Assembly and re-introduce Union General Meetings was proposed by Students’ Union President Ioan Rhys Evans and seconded by all of the full-time officers.

Aberystwyth University Students' Union Photo - Tomos Nolan

Aberystwyth University Students’ Union
Photo – Tomos Nolan

Ioan spoke of how the student body were having decisions made for them by a mere fraction of the student body, and that the model no longer worked, saying that they have “been a failure since its commencement in representing the whole student membership”. In the motion he cited election figures as the “lowest voter turnout that Aber SU (and as a Guild) has ever recorded”. In the 2013 autumn elections, only 0.97% of 715 eligible voters voted in the Sea Front Representative elections.

The Assembly model was first used following a referendum in 2012 where 66% of the voters were in favour of the new model. Ioan however accused previous organisers of the General Meetings of allowing them to fail so that the new Assembly model would be justified. He also made reference to a NUS democracy review which suggested 60% students want a much more open way of engaging with the decision-making process, and that 70% of students want campus wide ballots for every student to vote in.

However whilst the majority of those present at the Assembly were supportive of the move back to General Meetings, many also voiced concerns about how representative the model would be with one student asking how gender equality will be achieved. Ioan stated that there was not anything in place at the moment other than encouraging as many students as possible to turn up.

There were also concerns over achieving quoracy (currently at 100) for General Meetings, an issue that led to the failure of the Assembly model in the first place.

The motion resolved to replace all Assemblies for the remainder of the academic year, making tonight’s Assembly the last one. The motion also resolved for full-time officers to create a new democratic structure based on the NUS democracy review.