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University backflips on decision to remove student-elected representatives from Executive

The presidents of the SRC and SUPRA have regained their positions on one of the University’s most powerful decision-making bodies.

Image: Jayce Carrano.

The University has reinstated the SRC and SUPRA presidents’ positions on the Education Committee of the newly restructured University Executive after they made a complaint about being removed without consultation.

The University Executive, chaired by Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence, will replace the Senior Executive Group from next year as one of the peak decision-making bodies of the University. It is responsible for University-wide planning and accountable only to the Senate, the top governing body of the University.

Honi reported in October that the two student representative positions on the new Education Committee would be selected from the Academic Board by its chair, rather than being given automatically to the presidents of the SRC and SUPRA as they were under the previous system.

However, Spence backed down from this decision on 1 December.

In an email to outgoing SRC President Chloe Smith and current SUPRA President Tom Greenwell, he cited the “strongly-held (and, I might say, well-argued) views” of the two presidents as a reason for the reversal.

Smith and Greenwell had contacted Spence about the decision on 12 October, arguing for the importance of having democratically-elected student representatives on the committee.

They also argued that the presidents “are the most effective focal point” to collate information about issues facing students across all faculties from their respective caseworkers.

The email also granted the SRC and SUPRA the right to nominate student representatives to a raft of other University Executive committees, including the Indigenous Services and Strategy Committee, which would have been appointed by University management under the previous structure.