A Statement From Your Trustee Board Regarding External Memberships

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Graphic which says 'Statement from the Trustee Board'

At the Trustee Board meeting in January, the Board agreed to suspend external membership applications for the remainder of the academic year with the key concern being to prioritise student safety. Following this, a motion was proposed to the All Student Meeting to reopen external membership applications with immediate effect. This was subsequently passed at the All Student Vote (17 - 24 March) with 78% of students voting in favour of the motion.

In response to the All Student Vote, we have sought to work on solutions to support the outcome of the vote and address students’ concerns. The Board recognises that the student body feels strongly on this and apologises if any member considers that this vote has been ignored. Having listened to these concerns, the matter of external membership was discussed at length in last night’s (15th May) Trustee Board meeting, with points raised and questions asked by all Board members. This meeting was postponed from the 8th May due to the Coronation Bank Holiday.

Following this discussion and in light of the additional information presented, Trustees have agreed to re-instate external memberships for the following categories:

  • Students on a leave of absence;
  • Carers (for students with carers);
  • Trainers / Coaches / Advisors;
  • University of Birmingham Staff.

The Board has also agreed to further explore avenues which may allow membership for alumni and other external members who do not fall within any other categories. The complexity of this is as a result of there being no recourse or formal process available to the Guild for those external members who may be in breach of the Student Groups Policy and against those whom allegations or findings of serious misconduct are made.

The Board has committed to establish a Task & Finish Group, to be led by a student Trustee, to explore this issue as an organisational priority and to understand the processes available for the Guild, as well the strongly expressed views of the All Student Vote. The intention is for the findings from this Group to report back to the Board at its next meeting on 3rd July. If earlier resolution can be found the Board are prepared to hold an emergency meeting to discuss this matter further and approve any changes should a process/es be identified for consideration by the Board.

We would like to apologise to students for not making a statement in response to the All Student Vote and subsequent feedback sooner, and to those who have been unable to participate in Guild activity in the past few months due to the suspension of external memberships. We would like to further reassure students that we are highly prioritising this at the Guild of Students.


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