What's a Referendum and why are we having one?
A Referendum is a vote of the entire student body on a particular issue. We hold Referendum's when there are major issues that the entire student body deserve a say on, or when we are proposing changes to our Articles of Governance. This Referendum covers both areas! We've done research which states that students want more academic representation, and a Students' Union with a strong presence in their College - but we need you to confirm this is the model you want.
How, where and when can I vote in the Referendum?
Voting in the Referendum takes place on the Students' Union website from Monday 10th February until 5pm on Friday 14th February. You vote by visiting www.hallamstudentsunion.org/shakeitup and it's a simple YES (if you want the proposed model to come in) or NO (if you want things to stay exactly as they are) vote. There will also be pop-up polling stations taking place across campus throughout the week - you can vote there or just on your phone, laptop, tablet or PC.
How can I find out more about the changes being proposed?
The changes, and the reasoning behind them, can be found by reading the Referenda motion at www.hallamstudentsunion.org/shakeitup. You can also view the arguments from the YES and NO campaigns on the same page.
Does this mean there's less representation? What support will there be for marginalised student groups (e.g. BME, LGBT+, Disabled, Mature students etc)
If anything, these changes bring about more representation! We're adding a sixth, full time, elected officer - and ensuring that our Officers are closer to students, representing them on the issues that matter at College and University level. The existing Part Time Rep roles supporting specific student groups will continue to exist and will continue to receive support and funding from the Students' Union. It is also expected that the College Officers will take responsibility for ensuring there is an inclusive student experience for students within all the Colleges.
What is a College?
Sheffield Hallam University is made up of three Colleges - Business, Technology and Engineering; Health, Wellbeing and Life Sciences and Social Sciences and Arts. These Colleges look after learning, teaching and the student experience of all students studying on courses within these Colleges. The proposed model allows for full time, elected, representatives in each College to ensure that the leadership teams in these Colleges know what issues are affecting students in the College and want students want from their University experience.
What happened to the 2019 Governance Review Referendum?
The Referendum held by the Students' Union last year is still on the books, but the nature of some of the changes are still being discussed with the University - who have ultimate responsibility for the governance of the Students' Union. The Referendum has not been discarded though, and the new Part Time Rep roles that were voted for (Student Parents and Carers Rep, Trans Students Rep and Postgraduate Research Students' Rep) are still due to be introduced within the Students' Union in the future.
Who will represent student societies?
Academic Societies will be represented by the relevant College Officer and the Students' Union President will take on responsibility for non-academic societies. International and Cultural Societies will receive support from the International Students' Rep. As is currently the case, the Students' Union retains a highly skilled and experienced staff team who support our student groups.
What if I disagree with one of the roles but like the others?
Our Articles of Governance are clear that we can only ask questions that result in a YES or NO answer, therefore we cannot offer students a choice to accept part of a change. If there are elements you agree with and elements you do not, you must make a choice as to whether the overall benefit outweighs any negatives. Remember you are voting on a choice of the new, six Officer model (President; 3x College Officers; Wellbeing, Sport and Physical Activity Officer; International Students Officer) and the old, five Officer model (President, Education Officer, Welfare and Community Officer, Sport and Physical Activity Officer and Activities Officer), there are no other options on the ballot paper.
What will happen after the Referendum?
In order to be quorate- at least 1,500 students need to vote in the Referendum. If less than 1,500 students vote - then the votes will not be counted. Once we have more than 1,500 votes, the votes will be counted. If more than 75% of students vote in favour of the proposed changes, then the new six Officer positions will be introduced for the forthcoming Elections. If less than 75% of students vote for the proposed changes, then the Students' Union will elect students to the existing Officer roles. Results will be announced on Monday 17th February.