Why you should vote ‘YES’ to our new constitution

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Image courtesy of LUSU

VP (Union and Development) Tom Stapleton discusses his views on the constitution vote, due to be held at 6PM tonight. 

Decision-making at Lancaster University Students’ union is bust and needs fixing.

We’ve put a huge amount of time and effort, working with our members, into designing a new system that puts real students at the heart of decision making – and that’s why we want YOU to come to George Fox LT1 at 6pm on Thursday May 5 for our Annual General Meeting. And when you come along we want you to vote YES to our new constitution.

The plans we have reduce the influence of the few and place it in the hands of the many. Instead of a small number of students making decisions, it’ll be dozens, hundreds or even thousands.

That’s how we plan to make sure that we reflect the authentic student voice – we’ve fundamentally rejected our current way of doing things.

Our new model has our new Student Jury system at its heart. Under this system, elected officers will look at your ideas and – if they’re uncontroversial, legal and affordable – will make them happen, no messing about. But if they think your idea might divide opinion among our students, they’ll pass it along to a Student Jury. If the Jury can’t reach consensus, we’ll hold a ‘Preferendum’ – an all-student vote where everyone will be able to rank preferred options.

Once a Jury or Preferendum has told us what you want, we’ll get on with whatever you’ve told us to do. The system we have at the moment entrusts all the power in a small number of elected students. They often make big promises to get elected and then aren’t able to deliver on them, often through no fault of their own.  They often work to their own agendas and put through decisions that our members don’t want, don’t understand or don’t like. They often arrive with the best of intentions but find their plans scuppered by the bureaucracy.

We know students don’t like what we’re doing because they tell us every day – on Facebook, on Twitter, on Yik Yak and even in person. That’s why we’re determined to change for the better.

I’m voting yes because it’ll mean LESS power for me personally. I want officers of Lancaster University Students’ Union to fulfil their responsibilities to the students who elected them – our constitution will force them to put the interests of our students above their own. And that’s why you should vote yes this Thursday too.