This year’s Sheffield Students’ Union Elections includes votes for two referenda, as well as the eight SU Officer roles and two Student Trustees.
These two referendums are just as important as the other votes, as they regard the future of the SU and how it is run.
One regards Sheffield SU’s affiliation with the National Union of Students, while the other suggests an amendment to SU Council to increase the representation of societies and sports clubs.
For each referendum you can vote YES, NO or ABSTAIN. But why do they matter?
NUS Affiliation Referendum
The first of these is voted on annually, and asks ‘Should Sheffield SU remain affiliated to the National Union of Students (NUS)?’
Sheffield SU is currently affiliated to the NUS, along with over 600 other students’ unions across the country.
Statements for and against remaining affiliated can be read on the voting website. There is a statement in favour of remaining affiliated, however there is no statement against and no statement for abstain.
Societies and Sports Councillors Referendum
The second of these referendums is unique to this year, and asks ‘Should the SU create the positions of ‘Societies Councillor’ and ‘Sports Councillor’ on SU Council?’
This referendum came about after a student led petition to hold it reached the required threshold of 1,000 votes from full members of Sheffield SU, in accordance with the SU Constitution.
It was the first time a referendum came about from an entirely student led petition at Sheffield SU.
Societies Committee (SocCom) initially brought a proposal to SU Council in a meeting on Thursday 15 October 2018 to review the representation of student societies on Council, and suggested the creation of a ‘Societies Councillor’.
The proposal was rejected in the meeting by SU Council, which is currently made up of 46 Departmental Councillors and nine Representative Councillors.
SocCom then teamed up with Sports Committee to start a petition for a referendum in which students would be able to vote themselves for or against the roles of ‘Societies Councillor’ & ‘Sports Councillor’ being created.
Students campaigned online and in person across campus, and when they reached 1,000 votes it was agreed that the referendum would be held alongside this year’s SU Officer elections.
If passed, amendments will be made to the SU Constitution’s Bye-Law 3 (Student’s Union Council) and Bye- Law 7 (Working Committees). More information can be found here.
Like the NUS referendum, there is a statement in favour available on the voting website, but none against and none abstaining.
The statement in favour cites issues such as storage, room bookings and funding, and says the new roles will “ensure these groups [societies and sports clubs] get better representation, resources and support”.
How will a decision be made?
For each referendum there is also a minimum threshold of 1,000 votes needed for the decision to be valid.
Whichever outcome receives a majority vote of above 50 per cent will be passed.
To view the statements in favour of each referendum on the voting website you must click ‘Show/Hide Details’ and then ‘View Manifesto’.
You can vote in the referenda, and for your new SU Officers and Student Trustees, here: sheffieldsu.com/vote.