USSU plans third referendum on renaming President role
Sussex’s Students’ Union will hold another referendum on renaming the role of President for the third year running.
Students will be asked in the penultimate week of term whether the title of President should be changed to ‘Union Affairs Officer’. The remit of the job would remain the same.
The same motion was put to Sussex students in a vote in December 2014, in which 51% voted against changing the title.
Following this, the SU then asked students last year whether they wanted to see the role replaced with an ‘Equality and Diversity’ officer, but the proposal was again rejected by 60%.
Annie Pickering, President of the Students’ Union, said: “Bringing this question to referendum again for Council shows that Sussex’s Students’ Union is a living and ever-changing democratic body”.
The decision was made at Union Council last week, which is made up of roughly 40 representatives from the student body, including full-time and part-time Students’ Union officers.
However, one second-year PPE student said: “I think it’s clear that the Students’ Union does not in fact respect democracy.
“They just want us to keep coming back until we give them the answer they are looking for.”
Referenda on boycotting the National Student Survey next year will also be put forward, after a NUS vote on the issue in their national conference earlier this year.
Two questions will be posed regarding this; the first being ‘Should the Students’ Union campaign for students to boycott the National Student Survey in 2017?’ and the second, resulting from a NUS national ballot of student unions, ‘Should NUS conduct and publish a risk assessment before finalising the NSS boycott/sabotage action?’.
The NUS national ballot question is the first of its kind since it was introduced in the 1970s and, as it was designed when student unions were signficantly smaller, questions were raised over whether such a ballot should be put to the student body.
Concerns also arose over the issue that a yes vote on this question may cause delays and effectively stop the boycott from happening.
In a consultation by the NUS, two-thirds of unions were interested in action involving the NSS. Only seven percent did not want to be involved.
A fourth Students’ Union referendum will also be held over the Union’s boycott of Nestlé and Coca-Cola, a policy which is lapsing and is required to go to a vote of students.
Nestlé has been boycotted by Sussex since 1992, with Coca-Cola joining them in 2005.
The two policies were last voted on in spring 2013, with 69% supporting a continued boycott of Nestlé and 62% in favour of the Coca-Cola boycott.
The boycotts only affect Union outlets, including Falmer Bar, East Slope Bar and the Union Shop.
Picture Credit: University of Sussex