Students at the University of Sheffield will be able to vote on changing the roles and responsibilities of the Students’ Union’s elected officer team in an upcoming referendum. 

The proposed changes were approved for referendum by SU Council last Thursday and would see the number of full time officers reduced from eight to seven. 

They would be joined by a further six paid, part time officers elected to represent student interests and be a member of the relevant representative committee alongside their studies. 

Under the plans, the Women’s Officer would become part-time with a separate, full-time officer elected to represent all liberation groups on campus. 

The new Liberation Officer would also coordinate five new part-time officers elected to represent BME, LGBT+, mature and disabled students respectively, as well as the new part-time Women’s Officer. 

Elsewhere, the SU Development and Activities remits would be merged into a single full-time role and the Sports Officer would take on extra responsibility for general student wellbeing. 

The roles of SU President and Education Officer would remain as full-time posts, largely unchanged. One further part-time position would be introduced to specifically represent postgraduate students. 

Beth Eyre, current SU President, said she was “really hoping this can be the year we secure better representation at the SU”, adding that she was “immensely eager” to get a BME Officer elected in March.

However, at last Thursday’s Council meeting, a number of members voiced concern about the costs of employing extra officers given recent cuts to SU funding in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s understood there are also worries that making the Women’s Officer role part-time will dilute its importance. 

Students will be able to vote for or against changes in a referendum due to be held between 19 and 21 January. The SU Council Constitutional Committee will then consider amendments to specific role responsibilities before a new officer team is elected.

Image: Forge Press

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