CUSU to hold referendum on reorganising structure

Joseph Winters 14 April 2014

CUSU are to hold a referendum on proposed changes to its administration two days into Easter term.

The Students’ Union this week proposed changes which include replacing the current Coordinator role with a new sabbatical officer, removing “bureaucratic restrictions” preventing societies from joining the union, and “ensuring more student oversight in CUSU’s finances”.

In an official statement Leah Sidi, CUSU’s Strategic Communications Coordinator, said “basically, we need to make CUSU more flexible, so that we can easily respond to student needs as they develop over time.”

A focus group explaining the changes and seeking student opinion was held on 3 April, a date within the Easter vacation when most students were not in Cambridge.

The Coordinator role, currently held for the second year in a row by Dom Weldon, will be replaced by a £17,311-a-year sabbatical officer role, responsible for supporting reps and societies, as well as environmental and ethical campaigns.

This follows recent allegations that CUSU are increasingly undemocratic and irrelevant, which many have suggested led to the unusually high for RON in the recent CUSU elections.

Despite students having voted to Re-Open Nominations for two of the five NUS delegate positions this year, CUSU Council elected two of its own members to represent the university at the national conference which took place on 8 – 10 April.

This was in direct contravention of the NUS conference rules about how to select representatives, which clearly stipulates “In Higher Education Institutions they must be elected by cross campus ballot of all students.”