Course Rep elections need to be “refined”

YUSU efforts to standardise course representative elections have been undermined as departments across the University have failed to implement a consistent policy.

While many departments have benefited from the new uniform timeline for nominations, others have ignored the process and encountered difficulties in applying it.

One Head of Department claimed that “it may need a bit of refinement”.

In many departments, staff incorrectly inputted electronic route codes over the summer, meaning that students were able to vote for candidates on courses other than their own. Emily Murdoch, a first-year English student, said: “I found I could vote on History of Art and English Linguistics course reps, which was strange, and that one of the people running for English combined course rep was in the voting group for English single honours.”

A memorandum published by Charlie Leyland, YUSU Academic and Welfare Officer, and Trevor Sheldon, Chair of the University Teaching Committe, outlined the requirements of departments to implement the new timetable. YUSU also organised training sessions during the summer break, distributing contact details in case difficulties were encountered.

However, many departments remained unwilling to change from existing, internal election procedures. Some even failed to indicate to YUSU how many student rep positions were available.

Leyland said: “Problems occurred when candidates weren’t approved [by departments], or when course codes had been entered incorrectly. Departments [are] not putting time and effort into holding a good election, in some cases completely ignoring the procedure and time-scale despite bespoke attention.”

YUSU aimed “to see a more sophisticated, knowledgeable and well-supported cohort of representatives.”

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