On Monday 9 July, the University approved our Student Consultation Framework. This is a massive step forward as it creates a formal procedure for how student voice should be heard on decisions that will affect their time at Durham.
The Framework has been three years and three Presidents in the making, beginning with Millie Tanner, developed by Alice Dee, and brought before University Executive Committee by me. During that time, there have been countless examples of why we need the Framework. Ustinov College were uprooted and moved to Sheraton Park with little regard for the views of students; 08:00 lectures were announced without the Students’ Union, as representatives of Durham students, hearing a thing about it; and a plethora of other random things happened to students without our input.
The purpose of the Framework is to bring students into the decision-making process for decisions that affect them, the kind of decisions that are likely to happen even more often during the University’s current expansion plan. The only real way to ensure Durham continues to improve in a way that is of benefit to its students is to commit to consultation with the students themselves.
Not only will the Framework hold the University accountable to students, it will also hold us, as your Students’ Union, accountable. We want to make the right decisions for you, and this Framework allows us to formally commit to taking into account your opinions on the things that matter. We received feedback on the document from JCR and MCR Presidents and discussed it in Assembly, so I feel confident that the Framework will effectively take into account the past experiences of student leaders in Durham and provide strong guidelines for future student consultation.
Several other Universities have a similar Framework, including the University of Oxford and Imperial College London, and we’re happy to be joining them in making sure our University is a University that truly cares about and looks after the interests of its students.