Several changes are being proposed to elements of the new UCD Students’ Union constitution which was voted in by students in March of last year. The suggested alterations include a restructuring of the current class representative system and the introduction of a timeframe for the release of executive meeting minutes and attendances.
A constitutional review group was set up by UCDSU to discuss and propose these changes before they are approved by SU council and later voted on in an upcoming referendum. The group have held meetings before and after Christmas, for sale with the final meeting being held this week. The group meetings were chaired by SU President Rachel Breslin.
The most notable change being considered is the complete overhaul of the current Union Council Representative (UCR) position. Under the proposed changes UCRs will be replaced by a Class Representative position, cure which is similar to what students have had elected in their classes in previous years.
The Class Reps will attend and vote at SU council as well as organise various social events for their classes. A new position of “Base Representative” is also being considered. Base Reps will be elected to represent classes not adequately represented by a Class Reps, health and will be determined by the College Conveners based on guidelines agreed at the beginning of the year by members of the executive.
Changes to Article 15 of the constitution have also been suggested. This relates to the Students’ Union funded newspaper The University Observer. The alterations will mean that the newspaper editor will have to present a detailed & fully costed budget to the Union executive before August 1st each year. The editor may also have to meet with the SU President at the end of semester 1 to review the newspapers budget. Any negative variances in excess of 5% in the papers budget must be referred to the Independent Appeals & Disciplinary Board (IADB). Discussions also took place regarding the pay of the University Observers editors and designers.
It has also been noted that under the new constitution one of the roles of the Union Secretary was to record the minutes and attendance list of each meeting of the union executive. These minutes were meant to be published once they had been approved, but have only recently been put up on the UCDSU website. The proposed changes mean the minutes and attendance lists from each meeting of the executive will have to be released not later than one month after the relevant meeting.
Financial aspects were not discussed during the constitutional review meetings as they were an important part of the loan deal which the Union received from the university. The new sabbatical positions were also not up for discussion as they had not yet come into effect, however, several members of the review group wanted to discuss a return of the Ents Officer in the constitution. As a result a future referendum may be called in relation to the Ents Officer position. If such a referendum passes, it may mean another election will take place further on in the semester for the Ents position.
Other notable changes that are being considered include executive members producing reports at every second meeting of council, the president and returning officer to annually review the Class Rep constituencies, and for the Welfare and Equality Officers to ensure strict confidentiality when dealing with cases unless it risks the health of the student involved.
It is believed that the referendum on the changes to the constitution will be held in tandem with the upcoming USI referendum.