General Meeting FAQ
What are these changes and why are you asking students?
University of Westminster Students’ Union is a charitable company and its “rules” are split into Articles and Bye-Laws. The Trustees want the Articles changed to be more up to date and flexible and give more control to students on the Trustee Board. They also want to reduce some of the bureaucracy and personal burden on students. To make these changes we need approval at a general meeting which is why we are calling one.
The big changes are
- General update to reflect good practice. There are lots of different areas here but they are in line with National Union of Students guidance and cover things like what trustees or those close to them can claim from the Union (we are being restrictive so that trustees can’t get paid by the Union unless they are the sabbatical officers).
- Making the President the chair of the Board of Trustees. We think that a student should lead the Students’ Union’s corporate side as well as its representative side.
- Adding flexibility to make changes in the future. At the moment we can’t have more than 5 officers even if we had the money to have more and we have to hold certain meetings even if they aren’t needed. We want to make the Articles more flexible, with rules moved to bye-laws, so that we can respond more easily in the future.
- Removing company law responsibility from students. When you sign up to University at Westminster you are automatically a Company Law Member of the Students’ Union. This means you have financial liability should the Union go bankrupt. We think that most students don’t want this responsibility. The Trustees alone will have this responsibility.
- Streamlining Company Meetings. At present over 2000 students must attend or send a designated person to each general meeting. This is costly, bureaucratic and unfeasible. If Trustees are the Company Law members, this is much more streamlined.
What doesn’t change
- You will still vote for the sabbatical officers and student meetings will still hold them to account and set the political and representative agenda of the union.
- You will still have a say if we need to change the Articles in the future. Changes will need to pass in a referendum with at least 1,000 students voting with 2/3rds in favour.
- Clubs and Societies provision doesn’t change – you can still do the things you love.
What happens at the meeting in April?
If we get 10% of students (2,850) attending or sending someone else to vote for them (a proxy) then we will vote on the motion to accept the new Articles.
If we don’t get 10% then we’ll hold another general meeting early in the new Term to discuss the resolution. If we don’t get 10% of students attending that meeting after 30 minutes then the meeting will be valid with whoever is in the room.
Where can I see the proposed new Articles?
Online at https://www.uwsu.com/about/proposedarticles19/
If I have a question how can I raise it?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if the first instance. Please allow a few days for us to get back to you. You can also ask an officer but remember that they might need to get advice for the Company Secretary to help you.
I can’t attend the meeting but want to set a proxy. How do I do this?
Using the online form https://www.uwsuforms.co.uk/view.php?id=60526 . You must do this no later than 12 Noon on Monday 29th April 2019.
You can instruct the President to be your proxy or you can send someone else on your behalf.