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Financial Support for School Presidents: A Motion for Equity, Engagement, and Excellence

24/10/2023
Author: Marlon D’Ambrosio
Position: President of the School of Science and Engineering
Seconder: Erin MacInees, Dani McFawns, Ridvan Kucuk, Lucas Fonseca
Position: President of Humanities, President of Humanities, President of Life Sciences, President of Health Sciences

Introduction

The role of a school president the University of Dundee is a vital one as repeatedly stressed by DUSA and academic staff. School presidents serve as the bridge between the student body and the academic administration, advocating for student needs, facilitating communication, and enhancing the overall educational experience. However, the responsibilities associated with these roles are time-intensive and vastly extend beyond the regular academic commitments.

The current framework, which does not provide financial compensation for school presidents, poses significant challenges. Firstly, it places a financial strain on individuals who dedicate substantial time to these roles while also needing to manage their academic commitments. This lack of compensation can deter capable and passionate individuals, especially those from lower-income backgrounds, from considering such positions, thereby limiting the diversity and inclusivity of student representation.

The motion hereby presented seeks to address these challenges by proposing a compensatory framework for school presidents. This proposal aims not only to acknowledge the significant efforts and contributions of school presidents but also to foster a more inclusive and equitable environment for student leadership. By doing so, we aim to enhance student representation, enrich the university experience for all, and uphold the values of diversity and inclusivity championed by the University of Dundee and DUSA.

General information

The position of a school president embodies a pivotal role within the academic community, acting as the bridge between the student body and the university administration. School presidents are elected to represent the diverse voices and concerns of their peers to enhance the overall educational and social environment within the university. Through their leadership, school presidents contribute to creating a vibrant, engaging, and inclusive university culture that fosters academic excellence, mutual respect, and a sense of belonging among students.

The responsibilities undertaken by school presidents, although voluntarily chosen, demand a significant time commitment from the individuals in these roles. Currently, the lack of financial compensation for these positions poses a challenge. Without monetary incentive, presidents have the option to step back from their duties or disengage from challenging situations without facing any tangible consequences. While this may alleviate some pressure, it also potentially undermines the seriousness and commitment required for such pivotal roles within the university. Being a school president entails representing the collective voice and concerns of the student body, a task that should not be taken lightly. Introducing a financial incentive for school presidents would not only provide a well-deserved recognition of their time and effort but also establish clearer definitions of the roles, responsibilities, and expectations associated with these positions. This, in turn, would foster a stronger commitment from school presidents towards their duties, ultimately leading to better representation and advocacy for all students within the university community.

Moreover, due to the time-consuming tasks given, the job is really limited to people with financial support prior that don’t have to work beside Uni. As working, being president and studying at the same time, can be a bit much for one person. It is totally unfair to completely disregards a whole section of students just because they have to financially support themselves. Currently being president is a privileged position reserves for those who don’t have to work a different job. And if presidents do, they are vastly limited on how much time and effort they can put into their responsibilities. So with the unintended barriers set there is a limitation towards those who wish to be engaged but cant due to other obligations.

Furthermore, there is a noticeable lack of candidates stepping forward for the position of school president. In some instances, individuals are appointed to the role without election due to a lack of contenders, or they run unopposed. This lack of candidates is concerning given the high level of responsibility and the significant impact that a school president can have on the university community.

When students with financial constraints do take on the presidency, the lack of compensation significantly limits the time and effort they can invest in fulfilling their responsibilities effectively. Consequently, the current structure unintentionally fails to see and provide chances for those who are underprivileged and are under financial pressure, restricting the engagement of a diverse pool of potential leaders, who are unable to consider the role of school president. The introduction of financial compensation would dismantle this barrier, creating a more inclusive and equitable environment for student leadership within the university.

Conclusion + Motion

In light of the critical roles and responsibilities undertaken by school presidents, coupled with the current challenges faced due to the absence of financial compensation, it becomes imperative to reevaluate our approach to supporting these key student leaders. To truly uphold the values of equity, engagement, and excellence, we must eliminate financial barriers that inadvertently limit participation and representation. Therefore, with the conviction that our student leaders should be justly recognized and incentivized for their hard work, dedication, and commitment:

The motion hereby proposes a presidential leadership scholarship, a carefully structured support designed to promote inclusivity and recognize dedication in student leadership. This scholarship will be awarded based on need and leadership potential, managed by a committee inclusive of faculty and student representation. A streamlined assessment will ensure the program’s effectiveness and sustainability, reflecting our commitment to create a supportive environment for diverse leadership at the University of Dundee.

By endorsing this motion, the SRC will be taking a pivotal step towards ensuring that the role of school president remains accessible, inclusive, and truly representative of our diverse student body. By doing so, we are not only fostering a more supportive environment for student leadership but are also enhancing the richness of the university experience for all members of the University of Dundee community.

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