Hope you’re doing well and second semester is going well.
In late November and early December Hull University Union posed a question to all students (our members): Do you want to change the Student Officer structure of your Union or keep it the same? This is a key question in our Governance Review project. Through the research we’d conducted you told us that you identified by your course or faculty, and that was how you wanted to be represented. Therefore we suggested a new structure where our elected Officers were assigned to represent the students of each faculty. This didn’t mean you would only be represented on academic issues but that all students would have someone to go to, regardless of what you choose to do at university. We opened a Referendum (an all student vote) and the majority of students voted against the new structure, meaning we’ve kept the current Student Officer structure the same.
Yet this made up only half of what is our "Governance Review". The second referendum, and other half of the Governance Review, was to address problems within our inner structures, mainly around our Union Council. Union Council (UC) is an all student forum where any student can bring suggestions and motions for change. So, why would we want to change this? Whilst this sounds good in theory, in practice, the way this currently runs doesn't work. Union Council is not representative of the entire student body and not accessible, it mainly discusses motions relating to processes rather than issues student care about.
In light of the result of the first referendum we went back to the drawing board and asked ourselves, what do you really want? How can we provide a solution that's simple and addresses the above concerns? We want to make sure that you are part of the process to this solution, meaning that we have a system in place that benefits most, rather than few.
It was by answering these questions that we, as an Officer Team, made the decision not to proceed with the second referendum at this time. Instead, we want to continue to review and work to create a more relevant system and keep you at the heart of what we do. From this, we want to focus our time on what you say is more important so we created a plan of action: one that addressed our original outcomes of the referendum, whilst taking your feedback on-board:
1. We’ll be creating a weekly event where any student could bring an issue, suggestion, or idea for change. This would operate in an informal context, which could be run as “tea and talk” style drop in sessions. We’ll be out and about on campus - bringing HUU to you, making it as easy as possible for you to tell us what you care about and how we can help.
2. To change our Union Council, where possible, to empower students to make bigger decisions in their activities without having to go through the ‘red tape’.
3. To review how we are currently communicating with you – focusing more on our membership and what impact we have.
4. We’ll be promoting and encouraging the use of our new ‘Your Idea’ system on our website. Here you can easily submit an idea of something you want to change or discuss by simply going to: https://hullstudent.com/your-idea
We hope by doing this, we’ll become a more accessible, approachable, friendly, and representative Union. One that reflects our most important aspect, you. We’ll continue to reflect on how we can improve and how we can respond to the feedback you give us.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if there’s anything you want to talk to us about.
We hope to speak to you around campus soon!
Your Student Officer Team.