Edinburgh University Students’ Association’s (EUSA’s) Trustee Board will change the student association’s constitution in a bid to align EUSA rules with The University of Edinburgh’s regulations.
The change concerns whether or not EUSA sabbatical officers, the President and their Vice-Presidents can stand for more than one term.
Current EUSA rules state that a sabbatical officer can seek to be re-elected.
However, University regulations mean that the sabbatical officer would not actually be allowed to take on the post after being elected for their second term.
The Trustee Board’s decision now prevents sabbatical officers from standing for re-election.
However, it has been emphasised that if a referendum were proposed by students, it would be possible to change both EUSA and University rules to allow second-term Presidents or Vice-presidents.
The Trustee Board is composed of the four sabbatical officers, as well as five elected student trustees, and three co-opted external trustees.
A statement on the EUSA website claims that the move will “clarify EUSA’s regulations.”
It says: “The Trustee Board has no wish to decide on behalf of students whether sabbatical officers should be allowed to serve for one or two terms, nor to call a referendum on the issue; in any case, the Regulations governing EUSA referenda dictate that, in the event of a referendum not being quorate, the status quo remains – this would leave the matter unresolved.”
The issue was brought up in last year’s EUSA elections, when former Vice-President of Services (VPS) Kirsty Haigh tried to run for the presidency.
Speaking to The Student, Haigh said: “Government regulations allow for students to stand for two terms, this happens across Britain and it would be very unacceptable for the University to not allow it if it’s what our students vote for.”
Current Vice-President of Services, Tasha Boardman, told The Student: “it [the change] was brought up because of conversations over last year’s elections, and […] the fact that our constitution allowed someone to run for a second term, but the University regulation doesn’t allow that person to serve for a second term.”
“We just had to fix our regulation so that we could provide a platform for […] a referendum to be able to take place.”
Regarding the possible referendum, Boardman said: “Students would need to show that they want that.”
EUSA’s statement explains that there are three ways for a referendum to be proposed: through the Student Council, a 500-signatory petition, or by the sabbatical officers themselves.
When asked whether any Trustee Board members would openly support either one or two-year terms in the case of a referendum, Boardman said: “I don’t know what people’s personal views are, this is purely an administrative thing.”
Greg Lane, one of the student trustees on the Trustee Board, told The Student: “the decision to allow for just one term as a sabbatical officer was purely a decision to clarify a position and tidy up governance issues rather than a political decision.”
“There was consensus that it made sense to make EUSA’s policy coherent with the University’s policy so as to avoid last year’s confusing situation in the future.”