Originally posted on The Epinal on May 31, 2013
Ali Cole, VP Democracy and Communications, has proposed to change Union Council to the ‘Student Leaders Congress’.
The proposal comes in response to growing criticism of the structure of Council and includes changing the name and altering where representatives are elected from. A debate and vote on the proposal will take place at the Council meeting on June 6.
Cole says changing the name to Student Leaders Congress is designed to dump “the negative stigma” which is currently associated with Council.
Instead of electing a councillor per every 300 students in a department, the Congress would consist of 25 Hall Students (one representative per hall and nine Hall Students Federation members), 25 Academic Departments (one per department and five chosen from Programme President team), and 25 Union Section representatives (with each team contributing between two and five members).
The new Congress will also include four representatives from Loughborough College and one from the RNIB Loughborough.
The proposal states that “at present Council meetings are too frequent meaning they have lost value” so suggests changing to a minimum of three meetings per year rather than the current 12 minimum meetings.
Reducing the number of meetings, Cole says, will increase the likelihood of meeting quorum and could eventually lead onto gatherings in Room 1 with “the big screen, chairs in a nice arch, possibly a live broadcast, creating high production values, encouraging the tweeting in of questions, food and drinks after”.
Despite the reduction of meetings Cole maintains that “it is still incredibly important that representatives sitting on high ranking committees are held accountable”, but this would mainly occur through forums.
These changes are likely to cause a lot of debate at the Council on Thursday with current PHIR Councillor, Chris Carter, already expressing reservations.
“Ali Cole has been a very able and well respected member of the Executive team over the last year. However, his Union Council reforms strip away legitimate democracy at the Students Union by taking away students rights to vote on who represents them at LSU’s highest representative body.
“Replacing elections with appointments by star chambers of Exec committees, Hall committees and department committees. He has undermined Loughborough’s democracy further and disempowered students right to a real, fair democratic say.”
Other items on the agenda include renaming Societies Federation President to Societies President and streamlining the constitution by removing unnecessary schedules.