Kerry26 May 2016 14:34
When’s the referendum going to be?
After a lengthy discussion this morning, Democracy Zone Committee have decided that the rebrand referendum will be held at the start of the next academic year.
Under the Rules, Democracy Zone Committee is responsible for the conduct and timing of all referendums. The Committee had two choices: either hold it next week, or at the start of the next academic year.
There were a lot of really good arguments for both sides and the (draft) minutes of the meeting will be available soon so you can see how the debate happened.
Over twenty students attended the meeting and so many good points were put forward. I was genuinely so happy to hear from so many different people and I think we had a really good debate.
In the end, a lot of the arguments came down to when we’re going to get the most students engaged. I think the final vote reflects the fact that we just won’t get the engagement such a big decision deserves this close to the end of term. Also, a decision on rebranding isn’t something that happens often, and to hold the referendum now would have meant that a load of finalists get to cast votes on something that will never affect them, and the thousands of Freshers we have starting in September won’t get any say at all, which is pretty unfair, seeing as they’re the ones who are going to be here for the next three years!
There were six members of the Committee present: me, as the Chair; Ben Franklin, the Union President; Jamie Wilson, the Vice-President Sports Development; Trini Phillip, Student Groups Officer; Frazer Delves, as a representative from Union Council and Jade Head, the Chair of Council (who is a non-voting member). Giles Howard, who is the other Union Council representative, couldn’t make the meeting.
But in the end, the Committee did have to make a decision. Ben and Trini voted to have it in the next academic year, Frazer voted to have it next week, and Jamie abstained, so we’ll be running a referendum at the start of the next academic year on the two questions that Emma proposed in her petition this week. The details of this referendum will be decided by next year’s Democracy Zone Committee.
I’d just like to thank everyone who came, especially the people we haven’t seen get involved in Committee meetings before. If anything, it proved to me why the Democracy Review we’ve done this year is so important – we need to change our structures so it’s much easier for students to get involved in the decisions we make. Next year will be different – I know it often feels like nothing ever changes – and I believe the reforms that we’ve agreed this year will help us get even more and better student involvement in our decision-making processes.