Concerns have been raised this week about how much time OUSU Sabbatical Officers are spending in the OUSU offices, saying that more full time staff may be needed to lighten the load.
The issue was raised by the publication of the OUSU Scrutiny Committee’s Michaelmas report earlier this week.
The Committee stated: “As a welfare issue, Sabbatical officers should try and limit the amount of late nights spent in the office and consider the law of diminished returns. It is the opinion of the Committee that more full-time staff in the OUSU offices would help lighten the burden placed on Sabbatical officers, thus allowing them to leave the office on time, rather than performing administrative tasks.”
The only full-time OUSU staff are currently the executive positions of President and the five VPs. All other roles are non-sabbatical, with students carrying out their responsibilities alongside their degrees.
The report further raised concern about the relationship between officers and the student press, saying that the official comments made in articles were often too “political”.
The report stated: “Some members of the wider student population, as well as Executive officers have expressed concern that some Sabbatical officers’ comments to the press are too political and are also not sent round early enough for Executive members to approve.”
The issue of a lack of guidance being provided to part-time officers was also raised, “particularly in the roles that have a less straightforward portfolio.”
The report stated that Sabbatical officers needed to be more aware of their influence in OUSU meetings and “consider ensuring there is a fair balance and that everyone’s contribution is heard.”
This comes on the eve of the changeover of all part-time positions at the end of this term, following the recent OUSU elections.