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Grizedale JCR will have to undergo a complete reshuffle in the Week Eight bye-elections, with almost two-thirds of the positions being left vacant at the end of term.
A combination of factors has led to the exodus of JCR members, including a large number of students going on placement years or years abroad. Nine out of the current 14 officers will be unable to finish their year in office.
Such a large changeover in officers part way through the year has raised the question of whether students who are unable to complete a full term should be able to run.
“Personally I’d rather like it if the highest positions like President, VP and Treasurer would only be available for second years as the job is very demanding and third years will have their finals to worry about and not devote enough time to the JCR,” said Emil Kjolner, International Officer.
“I think that any third years who choose to run for a position should say so in their hust so that members of the college know that there will need to be a bye-election when they graduate,” said Pete Wharton, Communications Officer, a third-year student who will be graduating in summer.
Other members, however, feel that positions should be open to any student who wants to run.
“At the end of the day if they are the best person for the job why prevent them from doing it?” said Melody Danielle Wilson, JCR Vice-President. “I believe no matter how long they are in for they can make a difference and a valid contribution and so should be able to do it.”
AV Technician Paul Smith agrees. “In order for a JCR Executive Team to be a fair representation of [the] college then in my opinion, members should consist of first, second and final year students,” he said. “Issues which may well only affect final year students run the risk of not being appropriately identified and acted upon if there are no such students onboard the JCR Exec.”
Whilst the situation is not considered to be ideal, steps have been taken to ensure that following the handover the JCR can run as smoothly as possible.
“The new JCR is obviously a concern[…] this problem will be up to me to resolve,” said Jack Kenny, JCR President and one of the five officers who will remain next term. “The way I think this has to be tackled is by asking leaving officers to give [a] handover to the new people. I will be asking them not only to talk to them but to write some sort of cheat sheet to help next term. Further to this I hope to get the new team together before the end of term [for] team building to ensure we can hit the ground running next year.”
“Grizedale JCR has already had a couple of bye-elections and new members have been welcomed into the JCR. There is no problem with new members joining as Jack is an experienced JCR President who can help them,” added Wharton.
It is hoped that preparations for Intro Week won’t be affected. An Intro Week organisation team has already been set up, comprising four JCR members and four elected Grizedale students, all of whom will be remaining in Lancaster next term. The team, which is unique to Grizedale, is currently planning the Intro Week events.
“There’s no better test than Intro Week preparation and the actual week itself,” said Ben Stanford, current Gen Sec. “I think this is a perfect way of involving more people in the organisation and will go some way to taking off the strain for the incoming officers.”
Grizedale is the only college to be replacing such a large number of officers in the bye-elections. However, all colleges aside from Lonsdale have positions that need refilling.
Male and female sports representatives for each college will be elected; sports representatives are traditionally elected at the end of the summer term, rather than Michaelmas like all other positions, to tie in with the sporting calendar.