The Students’ Union has announced the results of its most recent policy voting round with only 1 policy out of 5 passing the 2% quorum threshold to be counted.
This is a bitter setback for the SU President Jordan Kenny who has student led policy as one of his personal goals this year.
Policy within the SU needs at least 2% of the student body – currently at 313 votes – to be counted, as outlined in the SU’s regulations. The only policy proposal to pass this threshold was the “Equal Access to the Edge” policy, which is about allowing Diversity and Support Groups the same privilege that societies get when booking rooms in the Edge building.
The other 4 policies all failed to receive the necessary votes to be counted; “Policy Proposal Mechanisms”, “Political Party Societies”, “Preventing Prevent” and “TEF Off”. One was shy of only 12 votes to be counted.
The failed policies ranged from changing how policy is passed in the SU, having a party political society, and for the SU to take 2 stances against Government policy; one on Prevent the anti-terrorism legislation that looks at monitoring students for signs of “extremism” and the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the green paper that is aiming to increase university tuition fees if a university is deemed “excellent” in teaching.
The system has been met with criticism, with one of the proposed policy changes trying to remove the amount of power the officer team has in dictating which policies can be voted on.
The last time the SU conducted a policy voting round was at the end of the 2013/14 academic year where 4 policies where proposed and none reached the quorum threshold then as well, resulting in two of the proposed policies, the equality and diversity policy and the environment policy, to be passed by the board of trustees instead.
Even though policy is struggling to be passed by student vote, the SU is still passing policy regardless through the Board of trustees. The SU implemented a student group events policy last year that curbs SU affiliated groups ability to run events that clash with SU central events, such as Score and Klass. This policy was passed by the Board of Trustees, 1 against, 1 abstain and 6 for, as it represented a “financial” risk to the SU.
Promotion of the policy voting period was conducted mostly through social media and emails, with limited face to face contact to the wider student body by the officer team. However the Officer Team did speak to their executive committees and general meetings to publicise the voting round.
Clémentine Boucher, a student and host of the University Radio Bath political discussion show Double Speak, has told bathimpact that “’I am extremely disappointed with the policy results. This Student Union is, in my opinion, undemocratic in its structure, and is not doing enough to get students engaged and informed about what is going on around them. It is sad that we have gotten to the point where, for a lack of ten votes, essential policies such as ‘TEF off’ and ‘Preventing Prevent’ are not passed. The fate of our entire education system is at play, and students don’t even know it.”
However, this is the first time a student led policy has been passed by the SU in 6 years.
Jordan Kenny has told bathimpact that “This policy round received more support centrally from the Students’ Union than previous rounds have. Student Officers and Student leaders engaged across the student body, face to face and online. The Officer team will work to support progressing these policies further where possible.”
A full break down of the votes gained and the policies themselves can be found here.