UMSU International expresses concerns with constitutional changes24 September 2019
On Friday 13 September, the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) and UMSU International signed an agreement to address UMSU International’s concerns about the constitutional changes passed during the Special General Meeting (SGM) on 17 September.
The SGM, held at 12:30pm on Tuesday, passed the new UMSU Constitution that resulted from a year-long governance review process called Renew Our UMSU. The process aimed to update the rules and structure of UMSU’s constitution to better represent the current student population.
Chief among the changes in the new constitution were changes to the international student constituency—primarily a greater integration of UMSU International with UMSU by classifying UMSU International’s President and Vice Presidents as UMSU Office Bearers (OBs).
The agreement is signed by Molly Willmott, 2019 UMSU President, Hannah Buchan, 2020 president-elect, Reece Moir, 2019 UMSU General Secretary, Jack Buksh, 2020 general secretary-elect, Archit Agrawal, 2019-2020 UMSU International President, and Justin Baré, UMSU CEO. It sets out the clauses in the new constitution that UMSU International is concerned with, as well as the reasons for which the agreement is necessary.
Agrawal said that there was not enough consultation with the international student community and called the process “not only biased but also unconstitutional”. Because UMSU International’s governing body, the Central Committee, was not engaged during the consultation process, the committee decided that UMSU International “will not be forced to follow any rules in the new constitution that damage the international students’ voice in any way”.
The agreement states that because Students’ Council is dominated by domestic students, “there is a lack of representation of UMSU International’s stance as the peak representative body of international students. As such, UMSU International asserts the right to follow an independent framework with regards to the governance of UMSU International and the publicity of our events.”
According to UMSU President Molly Willmott, UMSU International’s concerns were not raised during the initial consultation period, but UMSU will go into this process with an open mind with a view to achieving the best outcomes for all parties.”
Changes resulting from the process set out by the agreement is expected to be approved in Semester 1 of 2020, and will involve “extensive consultation with the UMSU International Central Committee”.
This story is ongoing.