Vol 13 Issue 3
By Georgia Daly and Jacob Rodrigo
Over the past few months, the Graduate Student Association (GSA) has been working on a plan to improve our governance structure by rewriting our constitution.
GSA is the peak representative body for more than 34,000 graduate students who study at the University of Melbourne, including Melbourne Law School students. GSA receives about 15% of the revenue from the University’s Student Services and Amenities Fee. We run campaigns, hosts events and offer training, and provide facilities in the 1888 Building for graduate students to use 24/7. We advocate for the rights of graduate students to the University and government. We sponsor graduate clubs, societies and endeavours—like this very newspaper.
In a nerdy nutshell: GSA is like the Commonwealth Government with the Law Students' Society as a State Government (don't get mad Gus). Consequently, the effectiveness of GSA is something that you as a graduate law student should care about.
Currently, GSA is run by a Council of 15 elected graduate students, who act both as student representatives and as a board of directors for the association. This forces the Council to spend much of its time working on finance, human resources, regulatory compliance, risk and legal issues. As as those of you who have completed Corporations Law know, it also places significant legal liability on students if they fail to meet the high threshold that directors' duties require.
Most of the students who ran for Council did so to address the issues that matter most to graduate students, not to be not-for-profit company directors. Under the current structure, we don’t have enough time to give these vital issues—like getting public transport concessions for graduate students and assessing the impact of the new student precinct—the focus they deserve.
That's why, as a part of our constitutional reforms, we're proposing a new governance structure for GSA.
Our new structure will add a professional board of directors to work alongside GSA’s Students’ Council. Council would be freed up to focus on representing their fellow graduate students , while students who have an interest in governance would have opportunities to sit on the board.
This model has the the unanimous support of the current Council.
The proposal will create a stronger and more efficient GSA, giving us greater capacity to stand up to the University of Melbourne and its bureaucracy on the issues you care about. There will be stronger oversight and greater accountability. There will be more opportunities for students to get involved in representing their peers. We will be able to make changes more effectively. We will be able to do more for students.
The Special General Meeting to approve the proposed new structure will be held on campus on Thursday, 22 March 2018. Details will be published on the GSA website. All current graduate students are invited.
We hope to see you at the SGM, supporting this exciting new chapter for your GSA.
Georgia Daly is a third-year JD student and the President of GSA. Jacob Rodrigo is a third-year JD student and the Vice President of GSA.