Socialist Party
| Print

5 June 2009

Aston University socialists fight for student democracy

Campaigning at Aston University, photo by Socialist Students

Campaigning at Aston University, photo by Socialist Students

The students union, or 'guild' as it now calls itself, at Aston University faced attacks on its, already limited, democratic structures last week. The executive committee of the guild, with just a few days notice, decided to call its annual general meeting to push through a new constitution for the union.

Stephen Burrell, Aston Socialist Students

The new constitution would effectively turn the union into a charity, going in the same direction as the National Union of Students, to which Aston is not affiliated. There would be a 'Board of Trustees' which, as a decision-making body, would have the power to overrule decisions by the other bodies of the union, such as the democratically elected executive or the student-led guild council.

Only four out of the 12 trustees on the board would be students currently at the university or democratically elected by students. The remaining positions would be filled from outside the union, including representatives of the university itself and people from businesses.

Initially the new constitution was to be voted on at the annual general meeting. This would be completely undemocratic, as students had been given very little notice of the meeting or of the fact that a new constitution was being proposed. Not only this but, because it had not yet been published, students would not even be allowed to read the new constitution before voting on it! This actually made the proposed vote unconstitutional.


But after negotiations with Socialist Students activists as well as a part-time union officer on the left, the new documents were published before the meeting. The proposed new constitution was presented and discussed at the meeting, but there was no vote to decide on it. This will follow with a referendum in the next term.

Stopping the new constitution from being undemocratically forced through was a real victory for Socialist Students and the left at Aston. It is now down to us to build a campaign as widely as possible across the university to stop the new constitution and further attacks on democracy in the students union.

For most students it is currently an irrelevant issue, but this is precisely why we need to reclaim our unions so that they are run democratically and fight in the interests of students. This is more important than ever with universities making savage cuts and tuition fees set to rise.

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube


triangle10 Oct Trump gives green light to Turkey to attack Kurds

triangle9 Oct Corbyn promises 'power in the hands of workers' - how can Labour do...

triangle9 Oct BEIS: Outsourced caterers' indefinite strike victory

triangle9 Oct Cutting, lying Tories - kick them out!

triangle9 Oct Brexit theatrics continue - working class must fight for its own...

triangle7 Oct Tony Mulhearn 1939-2019

triangle2 Oct Freshers fairs 2019: Impatience for change and determination to fight

More ...


triangle14 Oct Cambridgeshire Socialist Party: What is happening in the Middle East, and why?

triangle16 Oct Basingstoke Socialist Party: Uniting and organising workers to defend jobs and wages

triangle16 Oct North London Socialist Party: Stop Turkey's military offensive on the Syrian Kurds!

triangle16 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: Stop Turkey's military offensive on the Syrian Kurds!


Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551


What we Stand For

About the Socialist Party

Joining the Socialist Party - what will it mean for you


Alphabetical listing

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019