Rob Kemp, Deputy Principal of Royal Holloway, has resigned from his position on the Students’ Union Trustee board with immediate effect. This comes after the SU General Meeting passed a motion in December to remove the position of college trustee from the board to “improve the autonomy” of the union. According to their website, SURHUL’s Trustee Board exists to “ensure the Students’ Union is meeting its charitable and strategic aims, continuing to be financially stable and acting within charitable and financial law”.
The motion was brought to the General Meeting on 5th December by Student Trustee Oli Rushby and Vice President (Communications & Campaigns), Jamie Green. They argued that having representation from RHUL management on the Union trustee board is a conflict of interest, as SURHUL aims to always represent the views of students, and these may not always necessarily be in line with the views of college management. Research by the National Union of Students has shown less than 20% of SUs in the UK have representation from the institution within their governance structures. Despite the motion passing in December, Kemp was only recently made aware of the decision which passed with 48 votes for, 8 against.
Oli Rushby, Student Trustee said: “This is a massive step forwards in ensuring SURHUL’s status as an autonomous, democratic body for the representation of students. When it was discussed at the first board meeting of the year, Rob was in support of the Union itself deciding whether or not the post should exist and he made it clear he would resign should such a motion pass. I’m grateful he has stuck by this, it is important for the student body to have a say in who sits within the governance structures of their union and there’s no reason this shouldn’t include the trustee board.”