LUU should have an International Officer and review the Student Exec structure

Passed: May 2019 (13th)

What do you want? / Why do you want it?

Over the past decade, the number of international students has doubled as part of the University’s strategy, with international students currently making up 30.3% of the student body (around 11,500 students).

With the University and LUU aspiring to be global, international organisations, we know we have work to do to ensure we are truly international - making sure we are one community, decolonising our curriculum or being taught by people from across the World, amongst other things.

This year, as an Exec and an organisation we have explored introducing a seventh officer from 2020/21, an International Officer, looking at other students’ unions across the country, including Manchester, Cardiff and Sheffield.

For the past decade, we’ve only had one officer who has been an international student, despite people running. In fact, 46% of this year’s candidates were international and every role was contested by at least one, however no one was elected. We were concerned that we’d not been successful in getting students to vote, but 30.3% of students at our University are international, and 30.0% of votes were cast by international students. Despite candidates running and the voter turnout, there was still no representation.

We found that international students were overwhelmingly unhappy with the lack of representation, for example:

  • “International representation in Leeds still has a long way to go.”
  • “Home students don’t wish to include, and even ignore ... candidates.”
  • “Toke (the last international student Exec member) is an international student, that means someone can do it. But maybe 15 years later.”

An International Officer would allow LUU to input at the highest levels of the University on a key area for all students in making their University a more global, international community, an area where we currently lack focus with responsibilities spread across all the roles, which can lead to a muddled response. This makes it harder for LUU to make change in this area. Embarrassingly, the University are ahead of the game, with a Deputy Vice-Chancellor: International and staff in every Faculty and School focused on making our University an international community.

An International Officer would represent all students, not just international students. It is in line with what we want to achieve as a Union on ensuring students across campus come together as one community, sharing culture, diversity and views. This will ensure our collective voice is as strong as it has ever been for lobbying on all issues.

Expires: May 2022 (13th)

Submitted By: Chris Morris

Officer: Union Affairs / International Officer

Area of Work: Democracy

This idea comes with amendments to the Bye Laws. and there are some things to note:

  • LUU currently has the required staff structures already in place, within the new Student Programmes team which started last summer.
  • Any student could run for this role, in line with all the current Officer positions.
  • Following preliminary conversations, we are very confident additional funding will be secured for this role, so no current or future activity will be impacted.
  • The role will be filled for the first time in July 2020, giving LUU over 12 months to prepare for the role, which will include ensuring staff support is in place, best practise is researched from other students’ unions and establishing links with areas of the University, amongst other preparations.
  • Bye-Law changes below which are subject to Board of Trustees approval. (Bye-Laws (2) and (10))
  • This Idea will also ensure that LUU carries out a review of the entire Student Exec structure by the end of the academic year 2022/23, as the current structure has not been reviewed for over a decade.


Bye-Law (2): Union Forums

  1. Union Forums will operate in accordance with the functions outlined in Article 59 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and Bye-Law 4 on Policy.

Composition

  1. There will be three Union Forums:
    1. Better Union
    2. Better University
    3. Better Leeds
  2. At least three members of the Student Exec must attend each Union Forum, with every Student Exec member attending at least one of Better Union, University, or Leeds during each round of forums.
  3. The following representatives will be required to attend Better Union:
    1. Culture Rep
    2. Faith Rep
    3. General Interest Rep
    4. Political and Campaigning Rep
    5. Performing Rep
    6. Media Rep
    7. Sport Rep
    8. Outdoor Activities Rep
    9. Martial Arts Rep
    10. Dance Rep
    11. Academic Rep
    12. Volunteering Rep
  4. The following representatives will be required to attend Better Leeds:
    1. One Community Rep from each constituency
    2. One Rep from each Hall
  5. The following representatives will be required to attend Better University:
    1. One rep from each University School or Institute
  6. Any member may attend any Union Forum and speak. The Facilitator may at their discretion agree to non-members attending a Forum and speaking. Without the Facilitator’s agreement non-members are not permitted to attend or speak.
  7. Quorum for Union Forum meetings shall be a majority of the representatives entitled to attend.


The Bye-Law changes above remove members of the Student Exec from specific Forums and requires at least 3 members of the Student Exec to attend each Forum. In practice, this means a Student Exec member should attend Forums where Ideas related to their area of work have been submitted. The changes in blue include renumbering of the clauses.


Bye-Law (10)

  1. There shall be the following Officer Trustees:
    1. Activities Officer
    2. Community Officer
    3. Union Affairs Officer
    4. Education Officer
    5. Equality & Diversity Officer
    6. Welfare Officer
    7. International Officer

Purpose of the International Officer:

  1. To make sure the Union and the University are ensuring we have a truly international and global campus. They will ensure all members feel part of one international diverse community with opportunities for representation, sharing culture and views, so that all students have an international experience whilst studying at Leeds.

Updates

March 2020: Franks Feng was elected as LUU's first ever International Officer!

December 2019: LeadLUU 2020 now live, includes International Officer position! Wider officer review (as outlined in policy) is underway as well, but this is longer term work.

October 2019: Still an ongoing piece of work.

June 2019: Appointments & Governance approved set up of a Working Group to implement this, with the aim of an International Officer position being up for election in Lead LUU 2020.

May 2019: Bye-Law changes approved by Board of Trustees.

May 2019: New Policy, and a long term piece of work.