ENSA wants to change its constitution in order to better serve the interests of Edinburgh Napier students. However since it’s YOUR Students’ Association, it’s up to YOU to decide if you want the proposed changes to go through!
KEY CHANGES AND DOCUMENTS
VOTE AND WIN PRIZES!
Voting will be really quick and easy! You'll just need to login with your usual Edinburgh Napier login details and select a simple YES or NO to state whether you agree to the proposed new constitution or not. Click here to cast your vote now!
It only takes 30 seconds and you could win £100 cash in our weekly prize draws! For the 10 weeks we'll be running the referendum, we'll draw one winner at random each week from the votes cast in preceding 7 days, with a special 'double rollover' drawn after the Winter Break!
BACKGROUND & PROCESS
The last major revisions to ENSA’s Constitution took place seven years ago when it changed its name from Napier Students’ Association and also set up its Trustee Board. In the past three years ENSA has undertaken a thorough review of its Constitution, led by a working party of sabbatical officers, ENSA staff, University staff and a member of the University Court.
With the support of consultants and taking legal advice, it has developed a completely revised Constitution and Schedules. ENSA’s Trustee Board has approved the changes and the University Court has approved the revised Constitution in principle.
Now a referendum must be held giving all Edinburgh Napier students the chance to scrutinise and vote on the proposed Constitution.
For either a YES or NO vote to be officially carried, the minimum threshold of 10% of ENSA members must turn out to vote, with the majority decision being carried.
WHAT ARE THE PROPOSED CHANGES?
The proposed constitution presents a new structure for student democracy to allow more students, from a wider demographic, to become directly involved in deciding what position ENSA should take on the big issues facing students.
To achieve this the current Student Executive, of just 11 members (including Sabbatical Officers), would be replaced with the ‘ENSA 50’, a group of 50 students representing a much wider range of student views. This group will also include ‘reserved’ places for particular student groups, such as direct entrants, non-UK students, online and transnational students, Team Napier representatives, and postgraduates.
Extend full membership to include all Global Online and Transnational Education students, and create new Student Forums for Sports, Societies, Programme Reps, Distance Learners, Transnational Education (TNE) students and postgraduates.
These new, more effective, Student Forums, along with the ENSA 50, will be able to make sure that all your elected representatives are active, engaged and working towards the changes that students want to see.
The proposed democratic structures will allow better transparency and communication, ensuring issues from all across the student community are raised, discussed, acted upon and reviewed.
Currently all members of our Student Executive have equal voting rights, but it doesn’t sound like that from their titles! The proposed new constitution makes this much clearer by changing the Sabbatical Officers titles, as well as creating new role descriptions to allow the remit and workload of each Officer to become more balanced and evenly spread among the Sabbatical Team.
Instead of a single President and two Vice-Presidents, the new constitution proposes three co-equal President positions:
- President for Societies & Community
a) To be designated as the President for primary University contact and to be the primary spokesperson and representative on matters relating to student community in its generality and its constituent parts, including student societies.
b) To be the primary spokesperson and chief representative of the student body to University senior management and the University Court.
c) To work to create the conditions, culture and extra-curricular activities to support the development of a shared sense of student identity that transcends academic programmes and campus locations and builds communities amongst members. This shall include making representations to the University over improvement of the Estate and facilities to support this aim.
d) To promote active student engagement by members in student societies and student communities, and to contribute to the organisation of events aimed at building student communities.
e) To evidence the impact of extra-curricular activities on students’ development and employability and campaign for wider recognition and support for this as core to the overall student experience.
f) To enhance society office holders’ effectiveness and the development of Student Societies through regular communications, publications and involvement in training events.
g) To convene the Societies Forum (a minimum of twice annually, once in each of the first two trimesters) and take forward business from this Forum to the ENSA 50 and other forums.
- Co-President for Education & Employability
a) To be the primary spokesperson and representative on matters relating to students’ academic experience and employability.
b) To work with the University, and other bodies as appropriate, to ensure that the student voice is heard in the development of academic policy and practice at all levels of decision-making.
c) To promote active student engagement by members in their own learning and teaching experience and to encourage members to engage with appropriate support services.
d) To campaign to improve the quality of the academic experience and for policies and facilities that support and enhance members’ academic experience.
e) To campaign to ensure that University programmes of study develop skills and knowledge that are responsive to the needs of the graduate employment market and that support services offer appropriate opportunities for students to improve their employability.
f) To enhance student representatives’ effectiveness through regular communications, publications and through involvement in training events.
g) To convene Programme Representatives Forums at the three Edinburgh campuses and take forward business from these to the ENSA 50 and other forums; and to assume special responsibility for the representation and support of TNE, Global Online and postgraduate students.
- Co-President Sports & Well-being
a) To be the primary spokesperson and representative on matters relating to Sport and Student Wellbeing.
b) To promote the physical and mental well-being of members and to lead and support initiatives and campaigns aimed at improving student safety and student health.
c) To campaign to ensure that the University includes a strong commitment to Sport and Wellbeing in its strategies, including the University Estates Strategy.
d) To convene Panels to oversee the allocation of funding for Sport as determined by the Corporate Trustee or University and to develop transparent and fair criteria and processes for funding.
e) To contribute to the organisation of Sports events and to fund raise for events as appropriate.
f) To enhance sports club office holders’ effectiveness and the development of Sport and sports clubs through regular communications, publications, involvement in training events and to promote health and safety in competitive and recreational sport.
g) To convene the Sports Forum (a minimum of twice annually, once in each of the first two trimesters) and take forward business from this Forum to the ENSA 50 and other forums.
- The Shared Responsibilities of all three Co-Equal Sabbatical Presidents
a) To be a co-equal Director of the Corporate Trustee and to play a full part in its business and in the strategic development of the Association.
b) To act collectively as the democratic leadership of the student body at Edinburgh Napier University and on behalf of the Association’s members to improve the student experience.
c) To convene the Association’s Forums and ad hoc student groups and support the work of the ENSA 50.
d) To develop student-facing policy portfolios.
e) To lead and support representations and campaigns on behalf of the Association’s membership to raise awareness and win improvements on its behalf.
f) Regularly and actively to engage with students in person, and via the Association’s social media and other communication channels to keep them updated about the Association and its work and to seek their views.
g) To support the Association’s events, including training, campaigns and Freshers Week.
h) To attend and participate in a range of working groups, committee meetings, and forums in a representative capacity to advance the interests of the membership.
i) To deliver on manifestos.
j) To participate in the work of the University and with external associations and agencies where this is consistent with the strategic aims of the Corporate Trustee; is within the Charitable Objects of the Association; and is in accordance with the policy portfolios.
k) To undertake the specific roles assigned to their Presidential/ Co-Presidential post.
As a registered charity, ENSA must be governed by Trustees, and the current model works really well, with a good mix of Sabbatical Officers, ordinary students and external professionals working together to make sure the charity is going in the right direction and complies with the law. But there is one major problem, our Trustees are completely financially liable if anything goes wrong.
This is a huge responsibility and the proposed new constitution seeks to reduce this burden by creating a legal structure called a ‘Corporate Trustee’. In essence governance will stay the same, with a mix of Elected Officers, students and external professionals, but they will no longer be personally, financially liable.
If you would like to know all of the details, you can check out the proposed new ENSA Constitution in full, as well as read up on our current constitution.