By Ruth Maxwell, Social Media Editor
Queen’s University Senate have overturned a decision by QUBSU to remove the constitutional requirement that requires a student to be in good academic standing, at the time of election, which must remain until their succession to sabbatical position.
The motion proposed by Student Councillor Sarah Wright was passed by Student Union council in April of this year, after three years of council debate. The student body ratified the decision through the Student Union Strategic Plan referendum in May, but the proposal fell at the final hurdle with Senate rejecting the amendment this afternoon.
Under the current system, students who defer, or repeat an exam or assignment in the first semester due to ‘exceptional circumstances’ such as disability, illness, bereavement, or caring responsibilities are declared unable to run for election by the University in the Student Officer elections.
Speaking to the Gown after the decision, QUBSU President Ciaran Gallagher said,“It is very disappointing that Senate decided to overturn an amendment to the Union’s Constitution that students have debated extensively in Council and has been approved by student referendum”.
He acknowledged that Senate took into consideration those students’ who had an issue with the current system, but that they preferred to keep the academic standing rule in place.
He said, “We wanted this rule removed because the system put in place to appeal and overturn rules is inconsistently applied, and also there is a school of thought that it should be up to students to decide what constituents as being illegible to run for student officer, and what is not”
The motion was rejected in December’s council meeting, but passed in February of this year. However, Councillor Timothy McLean objected on the grounds that councilors had not received ten days notice that the constitutional amendment would be proposed. In April’s meeting, 42 councilors accepted the proposal, which was ratified by the student population the following month.
Councillor Sarah Wright said, “This year the Students’ Union removed the Academic Standing Rule. This signaled how inclusive and accessible the Union was becoming, understanding the barriers that some students face in fully participating in the democratic aspect of the Unions activities, through no fault of their own. This policy was passed though SU Council and an all-student referendum only to be overruled by the University who clearly wish to continue excluding and discriminating against marginalized students at Queen’s University. The only criteria which can be fully inclusive is that candidates are students at the University”