Have your say: Articles of Association
As we continue the process of merging with the GSA and evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of students at the University of York, YUSU’s Trustee Board, with the endorsement of the GSA, is formally proposing amendments to the Articles of Association.
The Articles of Association is YUSU’s key governing document. It sets out our Union’s structure, purpose, and objectives and determines governance activities such as how trustees are appointed, how policy is set and how core Union functions should be undertaken.
We’re following the rules set out in the Articles of Association to make changes to the governing document. In line with the requirements of the Articles of Association, YUSU’s Board of Trustees circulated a proposal to members to amend the Articles of Association on 18 December 2023.
We’ve received very few comments from Members in response to the proposed amendments which we believe is a sign we’re heading in the right direction with the planned changes. These have been designed to strengthen our representation and take an enabling approach to change through our governance mechanisms. In addition to the proposed changes shared with you in December further, minor amendments have been made to the Articles to include provisions for a Code of Conduct for Lay Trustees, changes to how Board meetings are called, and changes to how Lay Trustees may be removed from the Board.
Following the deadline for students to respond to the proposal to amend the Articles, today YUSU’s Board of Trustees has circulated a final proposal to all students to approve the proposed amendments in a vote at the Student Members’ Meeting on 22nd February 2024.
To recap, the key changes will have the following effect:
To require at least one undergraduate and one postgraduate student trustee.
Ensuring postgraduate students are represented on the trustee board.
To change the composition of the Trustee Board and the number of Trustees.
The creation of a single Students’ Union will see us increase the number of Sabbatical Officer positions from five to seven. It’s proposed up to 15 Trustees will be able to be in place at any one time comprising at least three Student Trustees and three Lay Trustees, alongside the seven Sabbatical Trustees.
To introduce provision to appoint Student Trustees.
Removing the need for student trustees to be elected in a cross-campus ballot and appointed instead; it’s hoped that the removal of the cross-campus election process for Student Trustee roles will remove barriers to participation and encourage students to nominate themselves to be involved in the Single Union’s governance.
To reduce the threshold for securing a referendum from 5% to 3%.
Reducing the number of students from 1,037 to 622 with a distinction between thresholds required for members to secure a referendum vote, and pass a referendum. We hope this will introduce a more enabling approach to change.
To introduce a new democratic forum to shape the Union’s political direction.
‘SUmmit’ will represent the voices of students and support policy creation within the Union, replacing the current GSA Council and YUSU’s Officer Group with a new forum to shape the Union’s political direction.
The vote on the Articles of Association is not a vote on the merger; the decision to merge was approved last year by trustees of both YUSU and the GSA. The University has said it will only fund a single students’ union from Summer 2024. Plans have since got underway to combine our services and staff teams and to improve our activities and events provision to create a single Union that truly represents and serves every single student at the University of York.
See the full Articles of Association draft here.