Writes David Condon, Communications Officer.
UCC Students’ Union 2019/20 are thrilled to announce that the UCC Student Body will be presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity this Students’ Union election cycle to improve the quality of student representation in University College Cork as, for the first time in over a decade, students will be voting to accept or reject a brand-new Students’ Union Constitution.
Earlier this year, UCC Students’ Union formed a Constitutional Review Group, in collaboration with the Student Council and with the Union’s Legal Representatives. The Constitutional Review Group was tasked with reviewing the Union’s current Constitution and the constitutions of several other national and international Students’ Union each of whom have excelled in particular areas. After a number of sessions, the Constitutional Review Group proposed a new Students’ Union Constitution to the Students’ Union Executive. After a review of the Constitutional Review Groups proposed Constitution, the Students’ Union Executive have decided to run a Constitutional Referendum.
- The Communications & Engagement Officer
The new Constitution would see the amalgamation of the current Campaign Officer role with the Communications Officer role into the Communications & Engagement Officer position. This Sabbatical Officer will generally be responsible for the management of the Union’s communication and facilitating student civic engagement in social, local, national and international issues by organising demonstrations, events, and campaigns.
- The Commercial & Fundraising Officer
With the Communications role taken from the current Commercial & Communications Officer position, the new Constitution evolves and expands the Commercial Officer position to focus on developing, managing and promoting a diverse range of commercial and fundraising activities to support the Union’s income generation and maximise the Union’s annual charitable contributions.
- Environmental & Sustainability Representative
A new addition to the Students’ Union Executive proposed in this Constitution is the creation of a new Part-time Environmental & Sustainability Representative who will work closely with the rest of the Executive on all campaigns related to environmental and sustainability issues.
- Mature Student & International Student Representative
In order to guarantee better representations for a wider variety of students in UCC, the Review Group proposed the addition of an elected Mature Student Representative and an International Student Representative on the Executive.
- Greater Accountability
This proposed Constitution would see far greater information and details provided on the nature, remit and roles of all the Executive positions and Class Representative positions. With greater constitutionalised job specifications, the Review Group hoped to ensure greater accountability of all elected representatives, as students will clearly be capable of identify when the purpose of a role is or is not being fulfilled.
- Guarantee Regular USI Affiliation Referenda
The Review Group determined that offering students a regular opportunity to vote on their membership to the Union of Students in Ireland was crucial and under the proposed Constitution, UCCSU are obligated to run a USI affiliation referendum every 24 months.
- Change in the Sabbatical Officers 12-Month Term
After submissions from a number of current and past sabbatical officers, the Review Group proposed that the 12-Month Term for the Executive should be changed from July 1st– June 31st to June 1st-May 31st to ensure greater preparation time for new Students’ Union Executives over the summer period.
President Ben Dunlea on the Proposed Constitution;
‘Over the last number of years, many motions have been brought to Student Council to mandate the Union to prepare a new constitution for referendum. This has proved to be a difficult task but it is something we made a top priority of ours when beginning our term in office. In creating a new Constitution the review group set out to create a document that better reflected the way in which the Students’ Union, and the priorities of students, have evolved since the enactment of our current constitution over a decade ago.’