Durham SU update: we're having a referendum!

Monday 21-01-2019 - 16:38
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Every five years at Durham SU we have to review our Articles of Association – they’re essentially our constitution and outline how we should be run. We’ve just completed the latest review and we're mostly happy with the Articles, but there are a few minor changes we'd like to make, and we need to make sure students in Durham are happy with these changes. This is why we need to hold a referendum.

The vote will be happening at the same time as our Student Officer and Trustee elections in February, but we're telling you in advance so that you have time to give us your thoughts on the proposed changes.

The text here is what we think our Articles of Association should look like. As a legal document, it is full of formal and technical language that isn’t too easy to understand, so if you feel free to ask any questions about the document to the email address provided below. We’ve also put together the following more digestible outline of the changes we would like to make:

  • Removal of unnecessary gendered language, because ‘his or her’ is an outdated and exclusionary way of referring to people.
  • The addition of the Chair of DUCK as a member of the Board, to help charitable fundraising groups get the support they need to deliver their plans and objectives.
  • Refinement of categories of membership of the SU, to make sure they are as clear as possible.
  • The removal of a referendum in future amendments to the Articles, because we believe asking the opinion of Assembly is a more meaningful and effective way of getting the approval of students.
  • To divide the Standing Orders into two categories, so that changes to the Standing Orders are made by the bodies most relevant to each category.
  • Increasing the percentage of students needed in a vote to remove a trustee, to make sure a decision reflects the wishes of students as much as possible.
  • Placement of the details regarding Assembly into the Standing Orders, because the Standing Orders it makes most sense for this information to be.

And here’s a timeline explaining the process of student consultation the Articles are currently going through:

W/c 21 January

  • Students are notified in an all student email.
  • Consultation opens.

W/c 28 January

  • Consultation is open
  • Assembly meets on 31 January and will receive a presentation on the proposal
  • Consultation closes on Friday 1 February.

W/c 4 February

  • The Board considers any amendments.
  • The Board issues formal notice of a referendum, which will be a resolution to    approve the proposal (potentially including any amendments).

W/c 11 February

  • The proposal is considered by students.
  • Voting opens 17 February, alongside Officer and Trustee elections.

W/c 18 February

  • Voting takes place until 20 February.
  • Results are declared.

If you have any questions about the Articles of Association, or if you’d like to propose an amendment to the proposed changes, please email su.admin@durham.ac.uk by Friday 1 February with your suggestions.


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