The York University Students’ Union (YUSU) is the body on campus that represents students, provides welfare, funds student activities, and runs some commercial services like student bars. It is headquartered in James College and is a separate entity to the University of York. YUSU is currently affiliated with the National Union of Students (NUS).
Each year the student body votes to elect five full-time sabbatical officers (sabbs) and ten part-time officers (PTOs), to represent the whole student body. These officers are accountable to students and each are charged with a select focus.
Elections occur in February, with the sabbs’ tenure beginning at the start of the next academic year. Students vote for candidates under the single transferable vote system of ranking by preference. Students can also vote to re-open nominations (RON) to reject the candidates and cause a by-election with fresh ones.
The sabbs are paid, and they work full-time, being the primary representatives of University of York students. The five sabb positions are: York Sport President, Community and Wellbeing Officer, Academic Officer, Student Activities Officer, and the Union President.
York Sport President: The primary focus for this role is the organisation of sports events at York. The York Sport President is the most senior point of contact for sports clubs and represents them to BUCS. The incumbent is Zac Sheppard.
Community and Wellbeing Officer: The chief representative for student welfare issues. This is the chief point of contact for liberation networks and PTOs that represent minority groups. The incumbent is Steph Hayle.
Academic Officer: Responsible for representing students in matters relating to learning, teaching, assessment and feedback, they coordinate dialogue between the academic departments, the academic reps and the student body to ensure the best academic experience possible. The incumbent is James Hare.
Student Activities Officer: This role is the representative of societies, ranging from the political groups on campus to media groups. They are also is responsible for the allocation of funds to these groups. The incumbent is Finn Judge.
Union President: This role is the leader of the Officer Group. The President is the face of the Student Union and supervises the other sabbs as the principal representative of students at the University of York. The incumbent is James Durcan.
The PTOs are current students who execute their duties alongside their studies. The positions are: Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Officer, Disabled Students’ Officer, Environment + Ethics Officer, International Students’ Officer, LGBTQ Officer, Mature Students’ Officer, RAG Officer, Volunteering Officer, Women’s Officer, and the most recent addition of Working Class & Social Mobility Officer.
YUSU requests policy proposals multiple times per year and all students are welcome to submit ideas. These ideas are then published to collect feedback from the student body. The Policy Review Group (PRG) uses this feedback to decide which policies to adopt. The PRG is headed by the Policy Coordinator, who is also elected every February.
All elected representatives in YUSU can be removed from office by the student body. This process involves a Vote of No Confidence (VONC) followed by a union-wide referendum. Students also vote in other referenda to decide the direction of YUSU. Last year, students voted to create the Working Class & Social Mobility Officer and later this academic year there will be a referendum on NUS affiliation.