A bye-law amendment, only circulated 30 minutes before last night's Executive Committee meeting, has been approved by secret ballot, seven votes to five, with a single abstention.
President George Nuttall's proposal recieved near-universal opposition from student media groups, as well as criticism over the lack of any student consultation before the proposal was announced.
The amendment will abolish the 'Campaigns & Communications', and 'Activities' sabbatical officer positions, replacing them with 'Societies & Media', and 'Sports' titles. As Spineless recently pointed out, this directly conflicted with what Mr Nuttall argued in a 2018 referendum campaign:
At a time of bad communication between Students and the Union the Union wish to remove the officer responsible for communication ... The removal of the Officer that is responsible for the communication of the Students' Unions message and by splitting that responsibility amongst the rest of the Officers will only make the Union's communication worse.
Opposition to the proposal was led in the meeting by Mr Nuttall's fellow sabbs, Hannah Prydderch and Lewis Marriott, who pointed out the fact that students had voted for a Constitutional Convention to review the bye-laws. The democratisation AGM motion (passed with the support of over a thousand students) made it clear that students wanted to lead LUSU's much-needed constitutional reform. Instead, Mr Nuttall's response has been to hire a consultant to lead the process, and to rush through his officer reform package with no consultation.
However, Prydderch and Marriott's pleas to respect student democracy fell on the deaf ears of Nuttall's loyalists, who waved through the proposal on the unconvincing basis that the current system could be improved, so change, any change, must be supported.
Naturally, Spineless wonders aloud whether due process was followed during the Exec meeting in question. The amendment was only circulated half an hour before the meeting, despite the bye-laws requiring a day's clear notice, and the bye-laws also make no provision for secret ballot, the method that was ultimately used to decide the matter. Surely Mr Nuttall has not absconded his responsibility to uphold LUSU rules just to force through an amendment only supported by him and his mates?
But the amendment may end up having no effect at all! As loyal Spineless readers may remember, LUSU are currently ignoring several of their existing bye-laws, and are making no obvious attempts to start following them anytime soon...