This year, CUSU and the GU started a working group with the single aim of improving postgraduate representation. It was agreed that students are better represented when both unions work together, and our shared task was to collaborate to improve postgraduate representation. Our working group comprises sabbatical officers, staff, and trustees, feeding back to our trustee boards, and this group has assessed how we could improve representation together, and examined a range of options.
We are now exploring our shared preferred option, which we believe is most effective, provides most clarity for students, and provides equality of representation for undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Our preferred option was to explore one equally representative union. We think that structural change is needed to achieve cultural change, across the Colleges and the University, as well as with within our unions. As we work together to develop our plans, we hope you will help us as we work to provide fairly for students at Cambridge.
Following Council meetings of both Unions on Monday 13th May we will begin an initial two week period of student consultation. All members of both Councils will be asked to consult their constituents on the proposed plan.
They will be able to feed back their constituents’ views on the overall plan and specific elements through a google form. The responses from the Google Form will be collated and used to shape how the unions move forward. The consultation period will also include drop-in sessions in faculties, departments and colleges, in addition to focus groups which all students will be able to attend.
Following the two week consultation period which will end on the 24th May, the joint staff and trustee working group will come together to review the consultation responses. We will review whether there is sufficient appetite among the student body for us to continue exploring working more closely together and if so, will make changes to the proposal based on student feedback. We may also choose to continue further student consultation.
Please note, your college/ faculty reps will be gathering data to feedback to CUSU and the GU. If you are unsure of who your rep is that will be completing the consultation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- 2 x Co-Presidents, one undergraduate and one postgraduate
- 2 x Access and Academic Affairs Officers, one undergraduate and one postgraduate
- Welfare and Communities Officer
- Women’s Officer
- Disabled Students’ Officer
- BME Officer
The proposal suggests having three full time liberation sabbatical officer roles: Women’s, Disabled Students’ and BME. We would also have part-time LGBTQ+, Class Act, Ethical Affairs and International officers (UG and PG) on the executive.
The three proposed full-time liberation sabbatical roles represent our first assessment of where long-term needs and opportunities for change are best served by having a sabbatical role.
For example the BME attainment gap, BME access and supporting the University to achieve the Race Equality charter would likely be focuses of a BME officer.
Those campaigns which do not have a sabbatical role would still receive the same budget from the Union as the other campaigns do. They would have equal representation on the Executive and access to staff support from the Union. Not having a sabbatical officer does not imply that a campaign’s activity is less important or central to the work of the Union.
The main feedback mechanism is through your JCR and MCR Presidents/VPs, your subject representatives and through both CUSU and GU exec. They have all been asked to consult students about the proposal and feedback to us by Friday 24th May so please do speak to them directly. If you thoughts you’d like to convey to us directly though please do fill in the student survey as well: https://cambridge.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bwQTLnK7PyRoqfH. Everything is still up for discussion so it would be great to hear your thoughts, supportive or unsupportive so we can gauge student opinion to inform the process going forward.
We also welcome the opportunity to discuss your thoughts on this in more detail in person, although we know it’s a busy time of year for many. We’ll be running drop in sessions to discuss the proposals at the following times:
- Monday 20th: Sidgwick, 10am-12pm and Downing, 1pm-2pm
- Tuesday 21st: CUSU/GU lounge, 9am-11am
- Tuesday 21st: Grad cafe, 3pm-5pm