Frazer introduced the paper, explaining that the idea was focused on giving people a constructive way to make criticisms rather than taking away freedom of speech. In the past, comments have been made that haven’t reflected the work officers have been doing but have been personal attacks, which no officer should have to face.
Kerry spoke about the difficulty of making improvements without coming across as trying to impede freedom of speech. Kerry said that they would continue to improve You Make Change to allow for more constructive criticism as well as having different events for accountability – such as Union Question Time. Kerry said that there could be more guidance and training for officers to deal with a situation when it does occur.
Alex said that Zone Committee meetings could be pushed more as the place to raise questions and issues and could be publicised more. Kerry said that it was a good idea but having the opportunity to hold officers to account doesn’t necessarily mean that they will use it.
Guy said that the tone of the questions from You Make Change had been mostly positive so far, and noted that criticism can sometimes be a good thing if done correctly, and that officers might sometimes be more confident in their positions and engage in the debate.
Rebecca said that often students don’t have the same level of knowledge as people involved in the decisions. Kerry agreed that how SUSU send messages out is very important.
Scott said that there will always be negative comments and the solution relies in teaching people how to deal with criticism and also how to balance the criticism so that it isn’t always focused on the seven Sabbatical Officers.
Trini said that people sometimes write things online and forget that there is a human on the other side and that calling people out on being rude and offensive often works.
Kerry suggested holding a training session on how to respond to criticism, and the Committee agreed to progress this.