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Council Is Important, But Do The Exec Agree?

October 23, 2012 · James Carroll

The Epinal’s Editor, Andrew Lawton, thinks that students must seize the opportunity provided by Union Council and the upcoming Elections. I couldn’t agree more.

Vice President: Democracy and Communications, Ali Cole, tells us that Union Council is the highest representative body in Union. We can all agree on a statement of fact.

But does he really believe that? What about the Exec? What about the Union?

Union Council is designed to be Loughborough Students’ Union’s very own parliament. A group of representatives for particular groups of students within the university (one councillor per 300 students from a department); select committees to consider the strategic direction of each particular branch of the Executive; sub-committees to apply policy and consider improvements to the system as well as maintaining the standards we’ve come to expect of our students and councillors.

In theory this is a perfect set-up for Loughborough, it works for Britain after all.

So lets compare: the Prime Minister makes a promise on energy bills that is completely unsubstantiated, he’s called out on it and it sparks a news cycle of frankly embarrassing press for the ruling party; the Chief Whip calls a policeman a pleb, he is made to apologise and his resignation is called for, and eventually it comes; the west coast mainline process is called into question and eventually is reconsidered.

The VP Democracy presents a Department Committee Candidates pack that clearly breaks Union logo policy, two councillors bring it up at the emergency council, next council it still isn’t changed. In interviewing the new members of council, questions include “can you do your best dance” and “out of three members of the Exec who would you kiss, kill and have sex with”, nothing comes of it. Councillors decide they’re not happy with how a successful candidate has been elected, refer it for extra consideration, the Executive ignore it and give them the job anyway.

Stark differences there, I’m sure you’d agree. The first set of examples encapsulates a society built on rigorous scrutiny of those in power, while the second set depicts a society where scrutiny simply doesn’t have any teeth, as Jago Pearson suggested two weeks ago.

So I ask you, do you think the Exec believes what they say?

James Carroll

James Carroll

Columnist
James is a former Council Chair at Loughborough Students' Union.
James Carroll
James Carroll

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Posted by on October 23, 2012. Filed under Columnists,James Carroll.
  • Dave Tingle

    Forgive me if i’ve got you wrong, but seeing (as stated in your article) we all agree that union council is the highest body in the students union (as shown in all official union documentation and everything)..surely asking whether anyone believes it – is a silly question?

    Surely its like saying, we all agree the Union is in loughborough, but do the Exec agree?

    Admittedly Council does has some issues at the moment but people are working hard to solve them sooner rather than later, and if we all get behind those people then we should have a really stong and active student body. :)

    Tingle.

    • Former Exec Member

      Actually Dave I think young Rambo was making the point that Council may be in principal and on your nice shiny constitutional paperwork the highest body in the Student Union (we’ll ignore the fact that the Board of Trustees can over rule Council if it wants!), but he knows, you know and I know (from direct experience) that this is not the way it plays out in reality. To suggest otherwise by you is simply dishonest!

      As a former Exec member I have direct experience of what it means to be on Exec and its really easy for me to state that although the students were my boss in practice nobody was the boss of me and the only check that I had placed on me was from other Exec Members and even then if you’re a strong enough personality within this group it will be you that is pushing other members around.

      Rambo rightly points out that there are no checks and balances on the Exec through Council as it is all to easy to use your position of influence and authority to not follow up on mandates from council (if they are provided) or to bully your position through Council based on a lack of education and scrutiny from council coupled with student ambivalence.

      As I said previously to pretend otherwise is dishonest!

      • Andrew

        Former Exec Member, would you be willing to go on the record with your thoughts on the Executive? Many thanks, Andrew, Editor