“Reject the University’s lack of transparency” – LUSU President as General Meeting is called

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A General Meeting will be held by Lancaster University’s Students Union (LUSU) on Thursday of Week 14.

One of the primary motions on this term’s agenda is regarding Lancaster University’s Business Process Review (BPR).

Former Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings, first announced the BPR in November of last year, labelling it as having an objective to “create a more responsive and consistent model of administration.”

A recent statement from the University further described that the aim of the BPR is “to identify those areas of administration that could run more efficiently and effectively. It aims to improve those processes and to focus the money spent on administration in the best way to deliver our strategic plan.

“The review covers a range of University processes including finance and marketing as well as those processes that directly support students. The finance and marketing projects are on track for key decisions to be made by March.”

The motion has been proposed by LUSU Vice President (Academics) Alex Carlin in an effort “to halt the BPR so that its methods, motivations, governance and potential negative impacts can be scrutinised and evaluated,” as stated in the motion.

The Union feels that the “timescales for changes within the BPR are rapid” and “that it is inappropriate for a decision impacting on teaching and learning to be made without strategic academic oversight” particularly as “face to face contact between students and staff, be it academic, pastoral or otherwise, is paramount for a positive experience at Lancaster and the sustained feeling of a close University community.”

The statement from the university does note that they “have listened carefully to feedback from students, which has mostly been about proposed changes in Student Administration” and as a result “will be allowing more time for development and discussion of proposed changes in this area.

“The consultation process will be reviewed and re- developed working with the Deans of UG and PG studies and their advisory groups which includes LUSU representation. We are committed to getting the correct input as one of the aims of this project is to improve services for students.”

LUSU President, George Gardiner, criticised the University’s statement commenting that it “highlighted the fundamental problems with the entire process.

“Rather than analysing current procedure and consulting with students from the very beginning, they [the University] appear to be backtracking and covering ground that would have been appropriate six months ago” he added.

Gardiner summarised “Thursday offers the chance for students to reject the University’s lack of transparency, lack of consultation and lack of justification throughout their entire review. I wholeheartedly encourage every student to attend.”

Other items on the agenda include a motion proposing referenda on the rights of associate membership and a motion to ban BAE systems on campus.

In terms of membership issues, the motion outlines feelings that the “current membership 2-tier system as laid out in the Constitution creates two groups of students with disproportionate rights.”

The aim of the motion is to set up a committee that will review the current constitution and propose amendments that “will go to referendum in the Week 8 of the Michaelmas Term 2012.” More information on this proposal can be found at: http://lusu.co.uk/files/2012/02/LUSU-Motion-for-Referendum-re-membership-rights.pdf.

The motion to ban BAE systems on campus has been proposed by Will Taylor believing that “the arms trade has devastating and destabilising effects worldwide” and that “hosting or funding an arms company on campus legitimises its actions and reflects poorly on the university.”

The motion resolves “to mandate all [Full Time Officers] and relevant LUSU officers to lobby the university to respect students’  wishes as expressed in this policy- by not inviting any arms company onto campus for careers events and ceasing to fund and refusing to fund in future any company deemed to have an affiliation with the arms trade.” More information regarding this motion can be found at: http://lusu.co.uk/files/2012/02/Motion-to-Ban-BAE-1.pdf.

The LUSU President will also be presenting a discussion on the Lancaster-Liverpool strategic partnership.

The General Meeting needs a 200 quoracy to vote in favour of a motion in order for it to pass.

The meeting will begin at 6:30pm and will be held in George Fox Lecture Theatre One.

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1 Comment

  1. I would expect the same level of transparency and clarity from LUSU itself regarding their own operations. The relationship between the University and LUSU seems to ape that between LUSU and the student body.

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