Renewed Constitution and Governance for UMSU in 201915 October 2018
The University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) is currently reviewing plans to overhaul its governance and constitution. The plans are projected to be finalised by the end of the year, with the overhaul set for semester one, 2019.
UMSU’s constitution has not been properly reviewed or updated since its inception in 2006. In the years since, the union has expanded its scope to include new departments and positions such as the People of Colour and disabilities departments.
The current project, Renew Our UMSU, aims to update the rules and structure of UMSU’s constitution to better represent the more diverse and growing student population of today.
It is anticipated that the review will have a strong emphasis on the representation of international students and graduate students as these two groups have faced the biggest changes since the constitution was first written. The number of international and graduate students has significantly increased since 2006. Currently graduate students are also represented by the Graduate Students Association which is a separate entity to UMSU, while international students are represented by UMSU International which operates differently from UMSU departments. At the same time, graduate and international student representatives also sit on UMSU’s students’ council.
On top of this, it is probable that students’ council will face reform.
“The Renew Our UMSU project to review our governance was not a response to anything negative in UMSU’s functions, rather it was a good opportunity this year to look at ways to improve the things that we do—student representation, support, events and campaigns,” said UMSU President Desiree Cai.
UMSU contracted Randall Pearce, managing director of the business consulting firm THINK: Insight & Advice, to scope the current state of the union, discover issues and develop a new governance model and constitution.
UMSU will hold a forum on 18 October, where it is anticipated that draft governance models will be presented and discussed.
Students will be able to voice their opinions about the potential models at this forum.
The adoption of the new governance model and constitution will only be implemented after it has been approved both by UMSU’s students’ council and the broader student body at a special general meeting. Students’ council is expected to approve the model before the end of 2018. UMSU will call the special general meeting sometime next year for students to convene, look through and approve the planned changes.
“Ultimately, the changes should help UMSU function as efficiently as possible, and improve how students are represented by their union,” said Cai.
Stay up to date with the project here.