Students’ Union President Proposes Changes to Full-Time Officer Structure

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Lancaster University Student’s Union President George Nuttall has proposed changes to the Full-Time Officer structure. The Executive Committee of the Student’s Union will meet on Tuesday the 28th January to consider the proposal.

Announced this evening, the proposal, if accepted, will oversee the abolition of some of the current Full-Time Officer roles including VP Campaigns and Communications and VP Activities. In place of this, Nuttall has proposed the creation of new positions and changes to the remit of others.

If the Executive Committee accepts the proposal, the structure will be introduced in time for the FTO Officer elections due to take place in Week Eight of Lent Term.

The Full-Time Officer team currently comprises of:

• President
• Vice-President (Union Development)
• Vice-President (Education)
• Vice-President (Welfare & Community)
• Vice-President (Activities)
• Vice-President (Campaigns & Communications)

Under the proposed new structure, the Full-Time Officer team will consist of:

• President
• Vice-President (Union Development)
• Vice-President (Education)
• Vice-President (Welfare)
• Vice-President (Societies)
• Vice-President (Sport)

The titles of VP Welfare and VP Societies are to be confirmed.

The proposal shows examples of other team structures used in universities across the country, including institutions such as Oxford, Cambridge and Nottingham.

The full proposal outlines all proposed changes, which include:

• Ensuring sport and society groups receive equal representation
• Increasing the union’s capacity for oversight of society affiliations by an elected student officer
• Updating officer portfolios to ensure volunteer groups, charitable societies and student media teams receive adequate representation
• Student media teams’ change to society status means it makes sense to place them in a societies officer portfolio
• Developments in technology, including social media, that give all officers the ability to lead on campaigns

Nuttall said, ‘I am bringing forward this proposal after being elected on a manifesto to change the format of the Full-Time Officer Team to be more effective at representing students.’

In response to the proposal, the Heads of Student Media have released a statement which reads:

We are deeply saddened by the proposed changes to the Full-Time Officer positions. These proposed changes fail to take into account the nuanced position Student Media teams hold as per Lancaster SU’s own Student Groups Bye-Laws, which states that: 

“12.1.1. Student Media groups are the student groups recognised as publishing/broadcasting as part of the Students’ Union , and are namely:

12.1.1.1. SCAN (Student run newspaper) subject to IPSO Code of Practice

12.1.1.2. Bailrigg FM (Student run radio station) subject to Ofcom regulations

12.1.1.3. LA1:TV (Student run TV station)

12.1.1.4. Take2 Cinema (Student run campus cinema)

12.1.2 Student Media Groups exist to provide opportunities for members to build media skills and experience.

12.1.2.1 To contribute to and enhance the student experience.

12.1.2.2 To inform and entertain students and other stakeholders at Lancaster University.”

Comparatively, the same document defines a society under 13.1.1, that “Affiliated Sports Clubs and Society Groups have the legal status of being part of the Students’ Union.”

Student Media is not an ‘anomaly, sitting outside that remit’ as the document proposing the changes states. Along with the Liberation Groups, our differences in the SU’s Bye-Laws are a recognition that our objectives go beyond what an affiliated group can do as we serve the community as news-providers, events-coordinators, entertainers, and platforms for raising the voices of the students at this University. 

The document also states that “VP Campaigns and Communities was historically the editor of SCAN and head of student media”, which has not been the case for several years now, leaving us under-supported and under-represented by our elected officers. Removing the role altogether would remove all representation for student media in the FTO team. Equally, we do “generally rely on staff for assistance”, because we require expertise in Media Law, IT support, financial support, marketing and organisational development, communications management, and engineering that an elected-officer doesn’t have the experience to give.

On top of this, we are concerned that these changes will add strain to an already overworked societies team, who care for over 200 societies affiliated with Lancaster SU. 

As representatives of our Student Media teams, we feel this proposal undervalues the work, training and dedications our members give us on a daily basis, from pulling together a 40-page newspaper to creating and producing shows for radio and TV.

We request to be invited to the executive committee and be involved in discussions about our future, as this was not a decision we have been consulted on, nor have we had any say in the way student media will be managed in future. 

Signed, 

Gabriel Bean, Co-Station Manager of LA1TV 

Leon Holden, Co-Station Manager of LA1TV 

Thomas Lingard, Station Manager of Bailrigg FM 

Ruth Walbank, Editor of SCAN

This is an ongoing story.

Olivia Kenny

Hi! I'm Olivia (but everyone calls me Liv) and I'm the Associate Editor for SCAN for 2019-2020. I was previously the News Editor and have contributed to the section since the beginning of my first year. Now in my third year, SCAN is a huge part of my University life. Feel free to drop me an email if you have any questions, I'd love to hear from you!

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