Exeposé News Issue 661, Page 5 (21 November 2016) and Exeposé News online (24 November 2016)
The Guild has defended its Students Ideas system follows complaints that some proposals are simply “taking the mick.” It doesn’t want to treat students “like naughty children,” a spokesperson told Exeposé.
Over the past year, the online Student Ideas platform has registered votes on issues from NUS affiliation and Right2Debate to exam timings and the University’s controversial “hubs” system proposal. However, recent Ideas have sparked annoyance among voters.
“This is funny, but please vote Disagree or Strongly Disagree so that this doesn’t get passed,” commenter Adam Eveleigh urged students on two Ideas – one calling for “Harambe to be recognised as Eternal Supreme Leader of the Guild,” and one demanding the Guild “provide stables so I may ride my pony to campus.”
Exeposé contacted Eveleigh for his take on Student Ideas. “It’s a brilliant system,” he said, admitting the mechanism is “very clever and seems to work rather well.”
“However,” he added, “some students do seem to be taking the mick somewhat.” These jokes are “delegitimising Student Ideas,” Eveleigh complained. “It is not taken as a serious policy platform but more a place for students to have a laugh and perhaps get annoyed about non-issues.”
Whatever the case, the Guild was apparently forced to take the Harambe Idea seriously: “The position of Eternal Supreme Leader of the Guild does not exist, and even if it did, a dead gorilla cannot consent to this role,” Guild Change responded on the Idea page. “We therefore cannot go through with the Idea.”
“The system is designed to be fun,” a spokesperson told Exeposé, “therefore fun Ideas are a part of it.” Stressing that the Guild does not “censor or suppress, “they added “staff will not judge” the Ideas, or the students who propose them.
“The fact that the system has virtually no restrictions on submission is one of its strengths,” they said. Systems that pre-vet student proposals are “patronising in the extreme to students,” they said, “treating them like naughty children rather than fully functioning adults who are capable of reaching individual judgement on any given Idea and voting accordingly.”
Eveleigh agreed that “silly ideas” shouldn’t necessarily be banned. Instead, the Guild “should stress how important Student Ideas is as a policy-making body and ask that students focus on issues which will help improve the university experience for everyone,” he told Exeposé.
In any case, the Guild added, the vast majority of Ideas classed as “fun” have been rejected. “We therefore continue to trust the judgement of the students of Exeter,” they said, “who appear fully capable of passing sensible and necessary Ideas only.”
Student Ideas: the best of the worst
“Provide stables so I may ride my pony to campus”
“Adopt a campus dog!”
“Harambe to be recognised as Eternal Supreme Leader of the Guild”
“Sell foie gras in the Ram”
“The Guild should declare its plans for a Zombie Apocalypse”
“Show the Robot Wars final in the Ram”
“The Guild should erect a statue of Cecil Rhodes in the Forum”