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KCLSU proposal to remove President role falls

Image taken by Ryan Chang

 

Voting results for King’s College London Student Union (KCLSU) motions were released today with all but one passing into policy. A proposal to reform the structure of the Union itself, put forward by the five Student Officers at last Thursday’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), failed to pass by 20 votes.

The motion titled “Student Officer Structure” was proposed by Student Officers Joe Simpson, Nadine Almanasfi, Sophia Koumi, Ben Hunt and Rachel Williams during the AGM and was met by substantial opposition and debate. It was also the only motion to have failed to pass this year.

The failed proposals put forward by the KCLSU officer came in the wake of a democratic review conducted by KCLSU staff members over the course of the last year.

The motion proposed to remove the “President” title from next years SU structure as the term was deemed too hierarchical and student student officers could then be “equally approachable”. It also proposed a “constituency-based system” where officers would be divided along the academic lines of post-graduate/undergraduate and humanities/health schools.

Former student council chair Robbie Hirst submitted a motion for a democratic review, which informed the failed proposal.

The current structure as it currently stands includes a president, Vice-President Welfare, Vice President Education for Health, Vice President Education for Arts and Sciences and Vice President Activities and Development.

Opposition to “Student Officer Structure” argued that moving towards a constituency model with purely academic labels for the roles of Student Officers could have a depoliticising effect on the traditionally political roles of Student Officers.

The motion fell by 138 votes against it – 118 votes supported it and 76 abstained.

“Grassroots campaigning around free education, liberation, workers rights and many other things, should be the core of what an SU does. By having officer roles politically defined you make this more explicit, whereas a constituency model emphasises the apolitical, noncombative academic and welfare aspects.” Shared Philosophy undergraduate Andrew Warren, who spoke out against the motion.

SSPP Rep Alberto Torres, who opposed the motion, said, “I think it’s important to have titles that are more specifically liberation/welfare related. Especially when you have things such as the Green Paper trying to depoliticise student unions and just trying to make them these consumer-based bodies.”

The KCL Student Union’s AGM is the student union’s biggest democratic event where policies on welfare, education and governance can be amended or put forward by King’s students themselves. Motions that are passed have the potential to become official KCLSU policies and will play a role in affecting all King’s students.

Other students raised concerns that the new voting system did not allow students enough time to review the motions and listen to discussions raised during Thursday’s AGM.

International students officer Momin Saqib said “It suggested removing the role of the SU President entirely. With such a profound change to the operation of the Union in itself, I believe that students should be given at least two to three weeks to have discussions, debates, about it rather than have everything rushed into voting.”

The motions tabled on Thursday varied from lobbying the university to introduce academic reading and writing workshops, to creating a trans officer for Student Council, to revising the Student Union internal complaints procedure.

An average of 321 people cast their votes on Monday, 0.01% of the student population in the whole of King’s College London.

Voting results for King’s College London Student Union (KCLSU) motions were released today with all but one passing into policy. A proposal to reform the structure of the Union itself, put forward by the five Student Officers at last Thursday’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), failed to pass by 20 votes.

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