Following a comprehensive review of our student-led Groups last year, we want to let you know about some changes that we are making to the way we recruit the Group committees. The changes are based on feedback received from previous committee members, Group members, and other students during the review process and were approved by the Student Leadership Team in April 2023. We will continue to evaluate the effectiveness of the changes and make further adjustments if necessary. The changes will be effective for the upcoming new term of the Disabled Students Group Committee (find out more, visit the Candidate Zone on our website).
Previously, at the beginning of each term, all Group committee members were elected by Group members. However, moving forward, we will be making adjustments to ensure a more efficient and inclusive process.
Election of Chair only: one of the most significant changes is that we will no longer elect all members of the Committee. Instead, we will hold elections solely for the position of Chair of the Committee. The Chair plays a crucial role in leading and facilitating committee activities, and this position will continue to be elected by you, the students who are members of the Group.
Appointment of other committee members: once the Chair is elected, the rest of the committee members will be appointed. This appointment process will be carried out by a panel specifically created for this purpose. The panel will consist of the Chair, the Vice President for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (VP EDI), another member of the Student Leadership Team, and a member of the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and Student Welfare Team.
Ensuring fairness and reducing bias:
To ensure a fair and transparent appointment process, we are taking additional steps:
Unconscious bias awareness: it is planned that members of the panel responsible for appointing committee members will undergo training on unconscious bias. This training is designed to help panel members recognise and mitigate any unconscious biases that may influence their decision-making. We are committed to ensuring that committee members are chosen based on merit and suitability for the role, without any form of bias.
Anonymised selection process: The selection process will be anonymised to the greatest extent possible. This means that during the assessment of candidates, personal information that could lead to bias will be concealed. Candidates will be assessed solely based on their potential to contribute effectively to the Committee’s goals.
Why these changes?
The decision to modify the committee recruitment process has been made with the best interests of the committee members and Group members in mind. We believe that these changes will:
Maintain leadership: by electing the Chair we can ensure that the Groups remain dynamic and student-centric. The democratic process of elections will empower students to select who best represents their interests and vision.
Enhance inclusivity: appointing other committee members, rather than subjecting them to elections, promotes inclusivity by eliminating barriers to participation. Not everyone who would make a great committee member will feel confident to stand in an election and face a public defeat that may come with it. This may also be the reason why historically we received significantly more applications for co-options than elections. This approach recognises that skills and expertise can come in various forms.
Increase efficiency: due to the timeframes proposed, this new process will allow the outgoing committees to hand over to the incoming Chair, making the work of the Committee more efficient and allowing them to start their work sooner.
We value your input and participation in our decision-making processes. These changes are designed to make the Group committees and the Groups themselves more effective and inclusive, ensuring that your voices continue to be heard.
If you have any questions or concerns about these changes, please do not hesitate to reach out to us via firstname.lastname@example.org.