Exec Officer Role Review -Final Stages

On Monday 31st January, we will see the final results of the Sabbatical and Executive Officer structure review go to Union Council. A Sabbatical Officer at SUSU runs the Union for a year as part of a team of 6. You become a Trustee of a business turning over £7 Million a year and become responsible for a specific area of the Union (e.g: Communications, or Academic Affairs). You can run if you are in your final year of study, or if you would like to take a year out from your studies. This year, you can nominate yourself for one of these positions from February 9th and you will be able to find out more on in the coming days.

The review of the paid Sabbatical roles was approved at the last Union Council and we are now presenting the full job descriptions for these roles, along with the review of the part -time student volunteer officers to the next council on 31st January.

****COUNCIL WILL BE HELD IN THE UNIVERSITY SENATE ROOM IN BUILDING 37 (Student Services) at 5pm on the 31st January. All Welcome****

The new Job Descriptions for the Sabbatical Officers can be found here:

We currently have 6 Sabbatical (Full Time, Paid) Officers and 9 Executive (Part-Time, Student, Voluntary) Officers running the Union. All of these people are also the trustees of the Union. We also have numerous admin officers, who perform other roles such as Women’s Officer.

The new proposed structure is as follows

7 Sabbaticals (trustees) -already approved by Council

President, Vice President Academic Affairs, VP Winchester and Sites, VP Communications, VP Welfare and Communities, VP Sports development, VP Student Engagement

4 Student Trustees

2 Student leaders who are also trustees:

Environment and Ethics Officer, Equality and Diversity Officer

26 further Student leaders who are NOT trustees:

8 Faculty Reps, International Officer, Postgraduate Officer, The Edge Editor, Wessex Scene Editor, SUSUtv Station Manager, Surge Station Manager, Athletic Union Clubs Officer, Sport and Health Officer, Performing Arts Officer, Raise and Give (RAG) Officer, Student Enterprise Officer, Community Volunteering Officer, Societies Officer, Halls of Residence Officer, Southampton General Hospital Officer, National Ocanography Centre Officer, Outreach (Sites) Officer, Winchester Officer.

We are looking forward to a lively debate with no doubt a number of amendments to the motion proposing the new Student Leadership structure. the full motion to council can be found here:

Please ask any questions or leave any comments below or at come along to council and have your say.

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19 Comments on "Exec Officer Role Review -Final Stages"

  1. Charlotte
    tony blair
    25/01/2011 at 6:10 pm Permalink

    what!! are we now spending even more money on sabs and less on societies,

    what the hell is a student engagement officer!!! – what a joke!

  2. Charlotte
    Oli Coles
    25/01/2011 at 6:14 pm Permalink

    It looks good, one quick queiry, would the Halls of Residents officer be replacing the current JCR Officer?

  3. Charlotte
    25/01/2011 at 6:52 pm Permalink

    Is there not going to be a JCR officer?

  4. Charlotte
    25/01/2011 at 8:15 pm Permalink

    Are all these positions expected to campaign for their roles at the same time?

  5. Charlotte
    25/01/2011 at 8:51 pm Permalink

    Shane – Nope the JCR Officer has not been removed it has just taken on a new name, so yes Oli you are right.

    Emily – The motion is asking Councils approval to elect these officers in the spring term, so that could either be during the main Sabbatical elections or slightly after, there is still a debate around logistics as to whether these should all campaign and be elected at the same time, i’m sure there will be a discussion on the issue at Council.

    Blair – Student Engagement will be responsible for some of our key student groups including Societies, JCR’s, RAG and the PAU, here is the full job description:

    7. Vice President Student Engagement
    7.1 Support student-led groups:
    (a) Supporting the Societies Officer in implementing a strategy for the development of Union affiliated societies
    (b) Supporting Raise and Give (RAG) in co-ordinating charitable activities that engage students
    (c) Working with the relevant officers to support and develop halls of residence committees
    (d) Supporting the co-ordination of student enterprise alongside the relevant officer
    (e) Developing and implementing a plan for the Performing Arts’ societies with the relevant officers and staff and the way in which this student group can impact on our students and local communities
    7.2 Create partnerships to provide more opportunities for our student groups:
    (a) Taking a lead in organising key events throughout the year that allow student groups to demonstrate their talents and skills
    (b) Developing relationships with the local community to broaden the experiences of our student groups

  6. Charlotte
    26/01/2011 at 5:03 pm Permalink

    Electing the new Wessex Scene and Edge editors and the susutv and surge managers across campus? Is this a practical joke? Next we’ll be electing the captain of the hockey team and the treasurer for the rifle society.

    I can only speak on behalf of the Wessex Scene process, but this seems to be a completely unecessary move; the current format of everyone who has contributed an article or is a member of the editorial team voting on the position works perfectly well.

    A student with no experience writing or editing could get elected and be faced with no organisational preparation for the role, no knowledge of the technical side of overseeing every other editor’s spreads, and no knowledge of how the website runs. What is the logic behind this?

  7. Charlotte
    26/01/2011 at 5:45 pm Permalink

    I agree. What is the logic behind all these cross campus elections? Where has this decision come from?

  8. Charlotte
    Peter Apps
    26/01/2011 at 6:21 pm Permalink

    To echo what Tristan has said, I think this is an absolutely ridiculous idea. Those who are involved with the paper/radio/tv know what has been going on all year. We know who has been the most committed and who is the most able editor. The rest of the student body have absolutely no idea, and will not take the time to go through manifestos for 26 positions. They either won’t vote or they’ll pick the one with the funniest sounding name.
    It would be an absolute joke if someone like Dan, Joe, Dax or Hayley or Dan had lost out last year because a complete newcomer had made better use of campaign week than they did. It would have made the wessex scene a complete farce if the editorial team were all more experienced than the editor.
    There is a good reason for keeping these things in house. It’s not undemocratic, it’s the only practical way of doing it. If people want to get involved they need to start from the bottom and work up, not just run in campaign week.
    We don’t get to vote for the Director General of the BBC or the editor of the Times. You leave it to the people who know what the job demands.
    I hope I’m misunderstanding this in someway, because it is a really bad idea, and it was a mistake to push ahead with it without consulting anyone from Surge, SUSUtv or the Wessex Scene.

  9. Charlotte
    27/01/2011 at 10:32 am Permalink

    Just another comment on the Station Manager/Editorial roles… I’m not sure having them being elected across campus would be a particularly good idea, seeing as each media department has their own democratic elections process and opening elections up to the whole campus could mean that a member of a media department, or from outside, could be selected having had no previous experience, requiring a lot of training. Obviously this could be the case when elections occur within the departments, but at least then those most involved and who understand what’s involved can decide as to whether the person could cope, even without experience.

    Another issue that would arise from this is that anyone running for Station Manager/Editor would not be able to cover Elections as they would be a candidate and coverage would be deemed biased. This would significantly reduce the number of people involved in covering SUSU elections. Also, generally, those students running for Station Manager/Editor positions are most likely to be students that other students rely on for assistance in covering such large events; without them, a lot of pressure will be put on students involved in Surge/SUSUtv/Wessex Scene (The Edge, I assume, would be less affected in this particular instance) that perhaps would rather not hold such positions of responsibility.

    I hope that all I have said makes sense. I am not trying to be biased due to my position in SUSU Media as I understand giving all students a voice is important. However, in this instance I believe that the points made above are justified and those students that want a say in who runs media departments can get involved with them a day before in-house elections if they like and still have the right to vote.

  10. Charlotte
    Mike Fisher
    27/01/2011 at 1:16 pm Permalink

    Cross-campus voting for the media heads is an ideological mistake and a practical nightmare.

    Most of the central points have already been made by previous commenters so I won’t repeat what they’ve said (though I’d be happy to fight for their cause tooth and nail).

    Abbie just made one point which alone is reason to counter this absurd proposition. If you want to become part of a media department and thus possess the right to vote for the leader it is not difficult. For the Wessex Scene it means sending in ONE article and for surge and it is not much trickier. Therefore, if any students want to vote on this they can but they must show a slight commitment to it in order for that right. This means we get rid of all of the people who vote because someone’s got a funky name or a catchy slogan. You get your democracy and we get a leader who knows what they’re doing.

    Now I understand that part of the problem in countering this proposition is that the PAU and AU are making similar – and quite possibly justified – complaints but for various reasons including the fact that it’s difficult to work out who constitutes their membership.

    I’m only going to speak on behalf of the wessex scene from now on (which I’m going to call a newspaper because we provide news and we are essentially an online newspaper) but I’m sure the arguments apply to some extent to the other media departments.

    – The technical membership of the WS is anyone who’s written an article for us. So that’s not an issue for us.

    – Newspapers and sports clubs differ in two fundamental and vitally significant ways:

    – There is no problem with a tennis club being affiliated with SUSU very openly. But a newspaper must have at least a veneer of independence. However much we rely upon susu funding or have to adhere to their rules, we want to give the impression to the student community that their news provider is not in the pocket of anyone else. If the Editor is voted in a manner students have long associated with sabbaticals we will face significant problems whenever we report on SUSU, which is a lot – it will compromise the validity of any coverage or praise that we give it.

    – It is not a problem having the rugby club president being well known. But if the whole university are involved in choosing the editor, we are unnecessarily lionising the head of the paper. And a lionised editor is not a good idea. It can compromise their relationship with their section editors and more importantly it becomes less the Wessex Scene and more “Joe Bloggs’ paper” diluting what we are proud to call a team effort and encouraging a very immature approach to student journalism.

    I’m going to stop now but there are plenty more reasons I could argue. And I will, if necessary, because this is a thoughtless and short-sighted proposition that must not go ahead this year or any other year.

  11. Charlotte
    Mike Fisher
    27/01/2011 at 1:26 pm Permalink

    OK I said I was going to stop but if this proposition goes forward I’ll never forgive myself.

    As far as I understand there’s going to be 26 elections going on at once and that’s just for the student leaders. 26?!?! Are you mad?

    If SUSU wants a single manifesto to be read at any point they should be begging us to get our membership to vote so you can reduce the ensuing chaos.

    I know I’m beginning to sound like one of those people who get angry online and capitalise everything but this is very important. Seriously guys, if you look at this with any objectivity and common sense you’ll scrap this idea.

  12. Charlotte
    27/01/2011 at 1:36 pm Permalink

    On your last point Mike, we have worked through the logistics painstakingly with electing so many people at once. it’s been a discussion since the beginning, alongside other issues that aren’t instantly noticeable. Logistically, we CAN do it all at the same time, we will have a method that will work. I spent a lot of time speaking to a vice president at Edinburgh SU to try to find out how operationally we could run this, as they elect up to 80 officers in their elections. It is doable, but should we? Edinburgh beat us in votes last year, and their VP told me that it actually make a much broader group of people get involved with the elections and more people will read the manifestos…because there are more people who are running who have more friends who get involved, who speak to more people who will get interested…but should we do them all at the same time? that’s a question that it would be interesting to discuss at council -there are a LOT of pros, and some very valid cons.

    On the other issues, I spoke against electing the heads of media departments cross campus and I’m sure you can imagine my feelings on the matter. But, the vote swung in favour of a cross campus election, which is democracy, you elected the sabbs and exec to represent you and we have discussed and voted on the issue. I’m now bringing it back to my departments who are directly affected and I will represent the media departments at council as they instruct me to and will draw on my own experience and opinion where necessary.

  13. Charlotte
    Sam Ling
    27/01/2011 at 2:51 pm Permalink

    A different question from the others, but I’m curious to know what the difference is between the new Student Leaders classification of SUSU roles, and that of an Admin Officer. Also what differentiates them from say a school president, or a JCR officer.

    An example would be where you’ve got the Societies Officer and the PAU Chair as student leaders. Would the Societies Officer still be responsible for the support of the PAU Chair? or would the PAU sit apart from societies.

    Another example to highlight the question would be in what way is the level of responsability of the Sports and Health Officer different from the Mens or Womens officer. Will sports and health lead a team?

    Its not aimed as critique of the list, but I’m finding it hard to see the common thread that links the above list of positions (some new, some existing), which also separates them from the other roles within the union.

    It would also be interesting to ask how the Sabbaticals will interact with the Student Leaders, and with the Admin officers.

  14. Charlotte
    Jamie Chadd
    27/01/2011 at 4:30 pm Permalink

    As someone who was potentially going to run for a head of media department position at the tail end of this year I’d have to say if it went to a cross-campus vote I would not put myself forward, out of principle more than anything.

    I feel I would be able to lead SUSUtv as well as any one who stood for it, but to have the possibility of losing to a completely unexperienced and incompetant candidate would be a travesty. The word ‘joke’ has been said already and I would completely agree with that.

    As Peter mentioned, you don’t see the The Times or the BBC employing elections to appoint new leaders. With these motions SUSU are basically bringing politics into an area that they then hope will produce unbiased news etc. the following year. It is completely absurd and and a case of democracy going too far.

    This requires far more consultation with those who work in SUSU media and I find it unfair that, come to crunch time, the views of SUSU media will be represented by just Charlotte than the many voices I have already heard against this proposal.

    Each media department should be elected by their own peers, who know what they would be looking for a a Head of Station and can make an informed decision of their vote. If 6000+ students (hardly any of whom will bother reading what could be over 100 manifestos in total) go by whose name is the funniest or whose hair is the coolest, it goes against what many of us in SUSU media work for and that is producing media that SUSU can be proud of.

    That and it’s unbelievably short notice, but that’s the least of my issues with it.

    SUSU should be taking the views of those who are keenly involved with the Union, and media departments, into serious consideration, and I would suggest they start by looking at those commenting on this blog.

  15. Charlotte
    Sasha Watson
    27/01/2011 at 9:28 pm Permalink

    Who has actually complained about how the Media leaders are elected? If the student body really did feel it should have been a cross campus thing, then fine – but they haven’t.

    Faculty reps, Society committees, AU and PAU leaders and others are all voted for in-house with AGMs, with membership allowing a vote – why is there the need to treat Media as anything different? No possible good would ever come of it.

    It seems clear that every media person and their dog is pissed off with this segregation of media from the other positions – considering Union Council is made up heavily of those within media – if you want it to pass so that Elections dont get disastrously affected, you will propose an amendment asap.

  16. Charlotte
    Sasha Watson
    27/01/2011 at 9:32 pm Permalink

    Also, to use your own words Charlotte (apologies), “we need more [comments] to help council make informed decisions” – start by consulting those who are affected before making a decision, asking for it to be accepted, and it being voted down until its what people want.

    The way this, and past decisions, have been made without thorough consultation (a blog does not constitute this, especially one where logic and reasons for changes are not given) is hardly time-affective, and just creates a real animosity between Sabbs and its body.

  17. Charlotte
    28/01/2011 at 1:21 am Permalink

    Well, seeing as I am only a first year student, I can’t say that I know enough about the matter to make a completely informed decision, so please do correct me on any wrong points I may make.

    However, I feel the cross-campus elected 26 executive officers is a terrible idea. I entirely agree with comments made by like-minded people above. I believe that it is the decision of members of the departments – after all, they are the ones who know what is best for their department. When you consider that in reality, at a national general election, you don’t vote in the roles of all 22 cabinet ministers, you only vote 1 – the party – and it is for the party to decide who is best placed in the running of the country (or in this local case, the running of SUSU).

    Plus, from understanding the minds of the hundreds of 1st year friends, I can guarantee that there is nothing more off-putting than a voting page with 7 sabbatical roles, complete with a further possible 26 categories for execs. It is hard enough getting friends to be at all interested in the original 7 sabb roles. To say that the benefit of the change will be higher voter turnout is completely ridiculous. Sure, while it may indeed improve the turnout – potentially results will be correlated with amusing haircuts and quirky names.

    Finally, to say we need to do this as “Edinburgh beat us in votes last year” really shows the petty nature of this review. We should be proud that Southampton had the second highest voting turnout in the country last year… PROUD, not what seems like jealousy towards a union up north that can’t possibly have more votes than SUSU.

    Speaking on behalf of freshers – please do not pass this review… at the very least, show how democratic you intend to be and host a referendum on the issue. Then, with any luck, the outcome will be the same as the NUS debate – students aren’t prepared to pay for, or see through, change to a perfectly good union as it currently is.

  18. Charlotte
    28/01/2011 at 9:39 am Permalink

    I don’t agree necessarily with a referendum, but at least consult. With respect Char, saying that “you elected the sabbs and exec to represent you and we have discussed and voted on the issue”, doesn’t really express how democracy is meant to work.
    Anytime the government is proposing serious reform of an institution, they go through review and consultation stages first and get the opinions of those who are affected by the change. At very least, someone who supports this idea needs to answer a few of the questions that have been raised.

  19. Charlotte
    30/01/2011 at 3:25 pm Permalink

    This may seem like a stupid comment to post but I’m going to do it anyway.
    I believe if people want to express a direct opinion on the new sabbatical role positions that are coming in the next few months then please back up your arguments. The current sabb officers cannot take opinions into account if those opinions say they don’t like something and don’t give an example of what should be done instead. Simply saying that something is a practical joke or the like is simply not useful at this stage. Those who sit on Union Council (myself included) have debated long and hard and will continue to do so until we are agreed that what is going to happen with the sabb roles for the next academic year is completely solid and the right decision for the students.

    I’m sure if people are really against a specific aspect of one of the new sabb roles then the current sabb officers will gladly hear your opinions, just please back up what you are saying.

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