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SU provides updates on Transformation Period

The Oxford Student Union (SU) has released further details on the 12-month transformation period, which it entered late in March, denying reports of a “closure” or “shutdown”. However, it is still unclear which “essential” services the SU will continue to offer over the course of its reduced operation.

The SU is due, over the course of the transformation period, to focus on what it deems as “essential” activities for the rest of this academic year. These include facilitating student-led campaigns, operating the Student Advice Service, securing welfare provisions to colleges and representing students on University and college committees.

The Student Council will be replaced by a consultative body which will allow student voices to be heard during the transformation planning. The SU also plans on consulting student opinions through JCRs, MCRs and Campaign Co-Chairs as well as by holding an “all-student meeting” in seventh week of Trinity term. The SU wrote on its website that “all other student facing activities and projects will cease for the duration of the Transformation Period”, but has not given more detail about exactly which activities are concerned. 

The SU Advice Centre has been closed to new casework since 1st May. The SU considers the centre to be “an essential service”, and “aim[s] to get it back up and running as soon as possible”. The SU will also continue to sell welfare products to colleges and has committed to providing student representation for the University’s access and participation plan.

The Sabbatical team will be cut by half during the transformation period so there will only be the following positions in the 2024/2025 academic year: President, Vice-President UG Education and Access and Vice-President PG Education and Access. The SU states it wants to intensify “appropriate training and induction” and that “it would not be fair to bring six Sabbatical officers into an environment where they cannot be properly supported”. In the meantime, the SU acknowledges that students will not be represented on University and college committees not deemed as “important”.

The transformation committee, as publicised by the SU, will be co-chaired by Professor Martin Williams, the University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education, and Ben Ward, an external trustee of the SU. Among the nine members of the transformation committee are two students: SU President Danial Hussain, and Chair of the Student Council Oluweseun Sowunmi. The committee has appointed Emilie Tapping, former CEO of Brookes Union, as its Change Director for the course of the period.

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