‘Underrepresented and expendable’: Postgrads livid that VP role may be axed for new VP Welsh language
Students voted to create a VP Welsh language last year
At the 2018 SU Annual General Meeting, Cardiff students voted to create an eighth sabbatical officer position, a VP Welsh Language and Communities. It has now been announced by the new officer team of 2019/20 that an eighth postition will not be created due to funding concerns.
SU President Jackie Yip has said that the implementation of an eighth officer was not "deemed feasible" without impeding on financial obligations. To implement a new officer would cost the SU £24,000 a year.
She added that the officer team are committed to "taking the spirit" of the motion to create a Welsh Language VP, with new proposals up for discussion on the student’s union website.
These proposals include the potential removal of the position of VP Postgraduate position, or a merging of the positions of VP Education and VP Welfare to allow for the creation of "VP Welsh Language and Community."
The final option is for the roles to remain as they are but for a year-long review to take place into how Welsh Language can be embedded across the union’s activities.
History student Amy George, who spoke in favour of the motion last year, told the Cardiff Tab:
"I'm really shocked and disheartened to hear about this potential reversal of the VP Welsh Language. It's an embarrassment to the university that we are going backwards in the case of supporting the Welsh Language."
The prospect of removing the VP postgraduate has raised criticism from some postgraduate students. One student told the Cardiff Tab the proposal is "ridiculous and seemingly very unpopular."
They added that, "I’m sure that upon finding this out, most postgrads (who make up around 25% of students) will not be happy."
The current VP Postgrad Nick Fox has told the Cardiff Tab he is against the proposal, saying that postgraduate students are "generally under- represented". He added:
"This role has insured PGR students across the University get paid an equal wage for the same Teaching/Demonstrating/Marking jobs, single-handedly runs all PG events in freshers’ fortnight and throughout the year, and is currently working on the mental health crisis that targets PGR students specifically."
The officer review homepage on the Students' Union website allows students to express their opinions on the proposals. One person commented that the proposal is:
"An utterly baffling idea. We are continually told that undergraduate and postgraduate students are of equal importance to the uni, yet this proposal was presumably put forward on the basis that the VP Postgraduate (out of all the elected officers) is somehow expendable."
The consultation on the officer review is open on the Cardiff Students' Union website until Monday 11 November, where you can give your feedback on the proposals directly to the Student’s Union. All the sabbatical officers we spoke to encouraged students to have their say here.
Students will vote on which proposal to accept at the SU AGM on Thursday 21st Novemember.