Dear Medical Students,
Following the open letter sent to us by the Medical Societies Officer, Ferdinand Boucher, we wanted to ensure we are being transparent and clear about our current position.
Firstly, we want to acknowledge the distress and uncertainty this situation has caused for many students. This has been going on for some time, and it is frustrating that we have not been able to resolve the situation in a timely manner. We have continually been provided with incorrect information and insufficient context, which has led to multiple decisions that should not have been made. We apologise and will do our best to work to find a satisfactory resolution. We will be personally apologising to each student that has been elected, and subsequently removed from their post, for the impact this has had.
Below, you will find an FAQ sheet that has been circulated to Student Reps and Guild-affiliated societies, explaining some of the background of the situation. Hopefully this will answer most of your questions.
We understand your frustrations, however, at present, we are bound by the following:
- Students’ Guild Governing Documents (Memorandum & Articles of Association and Byelaws) – These do not have a provision within them to allow students registered in Truro to hold a committee position. It does allow them to purchase an associate membership in order to be a member of Guild-affiliated societies, but they cannot vote or hold any Guild positions. – These do not have a provision within them to allow students registered in Truro to hold a committee position. It does allow them to purchase an associate membership in order to be a member of Guild-affiliated societies, but they cannot vote or hold any Guild positions.
- Memorandum of Understanding between the Students’ Guild and The SU Cornwall – This prevents the Students’ Guild and all affiliated groups from running any activity in Cornwall, and prevents The SU Cornwall and all affiliated groups from running any activity in Devon.
- University of Exeter Ordinances – These documents state that any student studying in Cornwall, regardless of course, is a member of and represented by The SU Cornwall. It also states the same for Devon and the Students’ Guild.
These documents have not just been created but have been in place for a significant period of time, however previous decisions did not take into account the facts of the situation. It is our duty to respect the governing documents of all organisation associated.
We have been in regular contact with Student Reps, The SU and the College of Medicine and Health since this situation came to light in May, and we are working hard to find a way forward that will provide the best opportunities and support for all students. There will be opportunities for your voice to feed into the solution and influence the work. However, there are many aspects to take into account in this situation, some of which are going to take some time but we hope that we will be able to move on some much sooner. We hope to have more information to support students in Truro in September on their status as members and how they can engage with societies, and have committed to having a long-term solution by December of this year.
To that end, we are working to achieve the following things:
- Effective communication of benefits and support for students during the transition between the Students’ Guild and the SU Cornwall, and visa-versa.
- For the Students’ Guild and the SU Cornwall to campaign on your behalf to improve the student experience for those moving between Devon and Cornwall.
- An agreed working relationship between the two Students’ Unions to improve opportunities whilst at Truro.
Liv Harvey, Vice President Activities
James Lindsay, Interim Director of Membership Engagement
Please read the FAQ sheet.