GRADUATES AND Students were rebuffed last week in their demands for voting rights on Council, being told that changes to bylaws are unrealistic.
Instead the body which makes up 20% of ICE membership, will be allowed to vote for student liaison members of Council.
The proposal was hailed as an 'elegant solution' by Director General & Secretary Roger Dobson who revealed that the Privy Council would not allow changes to the royal charter to allow students a vote on Council.
He said: 'The challenge of changing the bylaws to allow students voting rights is not being pursued at the moment. Precedent in the Privy Council counts for an enormous amount. The chances of students getting votes is not great in the present climate.'
Dobson outlined plans for a pool of candidates to be put forward as student liaison members, which Graduates and Students would mark on their papers in the order of preference. Nominees would not be allowed to canvas students for support, but would be judged on the strength of their candidate statement.
Dobson strongly recommended the measure at the GSNC meeting at Great George Street last week: 'The measure has been passed by Council and is a good means of representation. Please don't take the attitude that you cannot have a vote unless there are changes to the bylaws.'
Maritime Board representative Janice McKenna asked what would happen if nominees failed to be elected. Dobson replied that their 'avuncular' DG&S would select the student candidates.
GSNC chairwoman Carol Hopper emphaisised that the fight for voting rights would go on. 'We view voting for our student liaison officers as an interim measure. This is the first step towards our long term goal of full voting rights.'
Dobson replied: 'If this is your objective put it in the long category, not because I don't believe you should have it but because I'm a realist.'
Nominations for student liaison candidates will be sought in January.