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Democracy and Governance Update: Student Trustees June 2021

Democracy and Governance Update: Student Trustees June 2021

Student trustees play a key role on the board, bringing the voice of current students to the governing body...

As you may know, we've been spending the past academic year reviewing our democracy and governance structures and processes to ensure they work for you. Another part of this process is how we recruit Student Trustees. 

Student Trustees play a key role on the Board, bringing the voice of current students, or in board terminology current beneficiaries of the charity, to the governing body.

Student Trustees should also provide a diversity of perspective and opinion to the Board, but it’s clear that despite the excellent work our Student Trustees have done over the previous years our board isn’t reflective of the Exeter student community.

How open and accessible the Guild was a key driver in the development of our new strategy and has been central to our ongoing review of our democracy, and we recognised that the board itself wasn’t delivering on that ambition.

When we looked at just who had been a Student Trustee over the past few years, we realised that our board was dominated by undergraduates who studied a small number of subjects and were based at Streatham. We also recognised that holding elections for trustees at the same time as for Full-Time Officers led to some confusion about the nature of the role.

We looked across the Higher Education (HE) and charity sector to see what worked and what options we had and after weighing up the evidence and consulting with Guild Council, we have decided to move to a selection process. This will allow us to balance the Board, ensuring a diversity of student opinion and experiences.

We’ll be continuing to review and evaluate our systems and processes to make sure we’re delivering for all our students in Exeter. You are your Students' Guild so we’re always open to hearing your ideas and feedback.

If you’re a student next year, please consider applying to become a Student Trustee. If you have any questions or feedback, please email




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University of Exeter Students' Guild is a Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered Charity Number: 1136468 Company Number: 07217324; registered in England and Wales Registered office: Devonshire House, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4PZ