A PROPOSAL to transform the University of Newcastle Students' Association's board has been pulled amid concerns it would strip student representation.
UNSA president Georgie Cooper said over the course of the year, UNSA Board of Directors developed the plan to change the board's make-up that had been slated for a November 27 vote.
Under the changes the board would have lost a student representative, with their ranks dropping from six to five, while adding a third independent director.
Adding the external board member was designed to guide decision-making, ensure proper governance and allow for payments to student directors.
The changes would also have allowed for student representatives to be paid for their efforts.
Postgraduate senate governor-elect for 2024 and concerned student Alex Simpson said if that amendment had gone through, he believed it would strip the body of its representation.
"Right now the constitution requires there to be six students, out of a possible nine. This change would make it essentially five out of nine and be a cut from about 67 per cent representation to 56," he said.
While the student association advocates for the education and welfare needs of students, the board of directors has the power to make policy, Mr Simpson said.
"Essentially it's an advisory body developed and operated by the board of directors, but they don't have any actual power to change things," he said.
The existing student representative council president is obligated to chair the board as well as the SRC, a situation explanatory documents on the proposed change noted was an "onerous requirement" it proposed to remove.
Ms Cooper said the proposal was based on feedback from past and present student directors.
"The proposed changes were designed to enhance UNSA's governance," she said.
"It would separate the executive SRC and board roles, so student representatives can focus on either role, or run for election to both roles if they wish," she said.
UNSA sent out a notice to students advising the proposal's withdrawal was due to an inconsistency "... relating to the removal of directors in certain circumstances, and based on feedback raised by members including a lack of adequate consultation".
Despite that, Ms Cooper said an adjusted plan would be examined in the future.
"Student consultation is central to how UNSA is governed and the board apologise that we did not involve students more broadly earlier in the process of designing these changes," Ms Cooper said.
"We understand how the proposal was received and this was certainly not our intention. We will endeavour to do better moving forward."
"The board look forward to building on student feedback when revisiting the proposal next year.
"It's our student association, our council, our university. At this university, we must always strive to ensure that the choices made for us are made by us," Mr Simpson said.