BREAKING: Guild summit agrees to hold student referendum on SO gender quotas
In the last ‘preferendum’ only 1,427 students voted
The Guild Summit, which met this evening, was unable to reach a consensus itself, but agreed to hold a preferendum within the entire student body on whether to reserve positions on the Student Officer team for minority representatives.
The preferendum will ask students if they’d like two spaces to be reserved for Women, Trans and Non Binary representatives, one space or no spaces at all. If reserved spaces are chosen, an annual review will also be carried out.
A fourth option proposed by SO election candidate Scott Johnston in a separate Guild Change It petition wasn’t discussed at the meeting. Johnston, however, brought up his suggestion that volunteer students work as liberation officers alongside the paid officer team during the meeting, but the proposal wasn’t put on the ballot or discussed further. Beth Meadows and Tor Smith led the proposal for quotas in the Summit.
Tor Smith told The Tab: “Of course I’m a little disappointed that the motion didn’t pass, but I’m glad for the discussions that were had at Summit. There was a lot of constructive discussion and almost all people in the room were happy to have the reserved spaces so long as it was reviewed. I hope the wider student body will agree with Summit there, and find that they’ll agree that representation in this way is so important.”
Scott Johnston said: “”The Summit was very exciting. At first after the two speeches, a lot of the room seemed ready to reject the motion. After the staff said they wanted a consensus the groups went back to talking amongst themselves, and a guild representative. They returned twice more, each time reducing the amount of rejection, and we ended at the decision for a preferendum. I would like to see all liberation groups represented on this preferendum, with Representative Officers, but unfortunately this does not seem likely to happen. It will however keep pursuing it as a separate issue – it will happen one way or another.”
The Change It petition that kick started the debate at the summit was put forward by current Student Officer Yasmin Gasimova. Arguments for the implementation of quotas were exacerbated by the election in March of an all-male student officer team for the first time since 1982. In the last preferendum held by the Guild, only 1,427 students voted.
This article was amended at 22:19, 9 May 2017 to change Liberation representatives to Women, Trans and Non Binary representatives and to add Scott Johnson’s comment.