The final 2018/19 edition of Students’ Union (SU) Senate has been pushed back a week, The Mancunion has learned.
Originally scheduled for 9th May, Senate will now be held on the 16th – the day after the start of the University’s exam period. This also means policy submissions can now be made up until 5th May, with amendments submitted by the 12th. The steering committee, who oversee the running of Senate, will now meet on the 13th.
The shift has been brought about due to fears SU staff could be overworked during the week of the 9th, with staff members being required to work the evenings of Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th May due to awards evenings – the Teaching and Volunteering Awards and Societies, Halls, and Campaigns Awards respectively. Senate taking place on the 9th would therefore require staff to work three evenings in a row, which has raised some fears of staff burnout.
Another reason for the delay was the timescale involved in scrutinising policy – the original date would have meant the scrutiny panel met on the 1st May, which was unfeasible given various absences from the panel. The Scrutiny Panel will now meet on May 8th, providing time to examine the proposals for May’s Senate.
Despite being the highest decision making body at the SU, Senate frequently struggles to hit quorate – the number of attendees required for motions to be debated – so with this edition taking place during exam season, concerns will be raised over how many students will attend, and if the meeting goes ahead at all.
Olivia Meisl, SU Education Officer, said: “I think it’s unfortunate, but due to when the Easter break has fallen, the week we’d originally scheduled it for also has numerous nights of awards recognising to our outstanding students and lecturers. Unfortunately, there is no ideal solution to this. However, the SU democracy team have worked really hard to ensure the Scrutiny Panel is still going to meet and goes ahead in the proper manner.
“I think quoracy might be lower, but it generally is lower at this time of year anyway.”
One student who chose to stay anonymous said: “The re-scheduling… is highly questionable. This meeting should be accessible to the student body and should therefore take place as quickly after Easter as possible, to ensure students can attend.
“The final meeting of a highly turbulent year for the SU, where the issue of possible by-elections for the General Sec and Postgrad officer persist, should not be quietly moved to a date where quoracy will be consequently reduced.”
Senate has been a source of high-profile stories this year, with the infamous so-called ‘clapping ban’ passed in September, and the March edition saw an amendment to implement a ‘sensitivity reader’ and BAME editorial quota on The Mancunion.