The Guild has announced substantial reforms to ExTunes, which has raised concerns amongst committee members of the ExTunes Council.
Last Wednesday (15 May), committee members of the ExTunes Student Council were told that the student group will go through a significant restructuring in August. The Guild has concluded that ExTunes in its current format does not fit within the governing structures outlined in the Guild bylaws.
The University ceded responsibility for the provision of music to the Guild in 2016. ExTunes was then created to reproduce the musical services then supplied by the University. At this time, the Guild took no action to make ExTunes compliant with Guild governance.
the student group will go through a significant restructuring in August
When Exeposé asked the Guild to justify the lapse of time, a Guild spokesperson said ‘ExTunes and the associated music services were run by the University for several years. When the University decided that this provision no longer fit with their activity, the Guild took on the services to safeguard the facilities and provision for the benefit of students. How the governance of ExTunes fits with the rest of the has remained an unresolved issue since then that is now being addressed as part of the bylaws review.”
Six months ago, ExTunes committee were informed of plans for a music development scheme to redevelop the student group’s constitution. One of the issues cited was membership. Guild members must first buy an ExTunes membership before they can buy a membership to specific musical societies; a provision that does not exist in Guild rules. The committee were not informed of any concerns relating to Guild bylaws until last week.
The Guild held consultations with ExTunes committee members in January. Following these discussion, the Guild developed two possible operational plans to revise ExTunes’ governance structure.
During the Wednesday meeting, the Guild provided a document that outlined two proposed reforms to ExTunes’ constitution.
At present, ExTunes is defined as a student group that answers directly to VP Activities Sabbatical Officer. It consists of a committee of eight people, and arrangement would change under the new proposals.
The first solution suggests that the ExTunes President and the Music Society Officer would be re-merged into a single role. As a result, the ExTunes committee would be demoted to a sub-committee. Members of the sub-committee would support the Music Society officer in performing the representational work carried out by ExTunes.
ExTunes expressed dissatisfaction with the Guild’s handling of the consultations
In response to the first solution, ExTunes former Vice-President Harry Smith raised several welfare concerns. In a statement to Exeposé, they said ‘the reality of the Guild’s care about mental health is worrying it has sprung this change onto the ExTunes Committee with no warning, and in the middle of exam season.
They added “meanwhile, they are expecting a single student to, next year, fulfil the roles that two people (ExTunes President and Music Societies Officer) have undertaken in previous years.”
The second solution proposes that ExTunes becomes a society. This means there will be no sub-committee to support the President.
Furthermore, the matter of handling equipment will be the responsibility of Guild staff.
ExTunes President Katy Jones noted that the “proposed changes will impact over 1,300 members, yet only a fraction have been consulted.”
According to the Guild document, students are able to scrutinise the performance of Guild staff. However, according to the aforementioned document, the current way in which scrutiny is applied breaches employee law.
A Guild spokesperson said: ‘The lack of documents that outline the governance processes that relate to ExTunes leaves an area of ambiguity about the management of a number of Guild Staff member’s responsibilities, resolving the current ExTunes governance will address this providing clarity for students and staff.”
ExTunes expressed dissatisfaction with the Guild’s handling of the consultations. Smith felt that “What is very obvious is that student enjoyment is at the bottom of the Guild’s priority list. Instead, they are stubborn about needlessly having ExTunes meet the structure they want it to. It is frustrating and disheartening that, despite the passion and dedication shown by ExTunes members, the Guild is committed to working against the desires expressed by students in that meeting.”
“[the guild] are expecting a single student to, next year, fulfil the roles that two people have undertaken in previous years”
VP Activities Rosie McDonagh, who is working with the ExTunes committee throughout the transition, said: “It is important that within the current work on the Guild’s bylaws we find a way to accommodate the representation and social activity that ExTunes currently provides to ensure the voice of music students is given as much weight as any other group of students within the representative structure of the Guild.
I have been listening to feedback from the current ExTunes president, committee and membership to move this forward in a constructive way that meets the overall objectives of the bylaws review. We have delayed the election of roles that would be impacted by this work to ensure that we can listen to as many views as possible and incorporate them into how we move forward.
The Guild will be working with the incoming Music Societies Officer, as well as the other society officers to make sure that as many of their manifesto promises can be achieved and ensure that they are supported in their time representingthe views of their societies.”