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JSU By-laws revision

Jönköping Student Union (JSU) is an association at Jönköping University (JU) in Jönköping, Sweden. It represents and defends the students cause at the university, as-well-as acting as an umbrella organisation for all student life on campus.

Attached documents: By-laws proposition | Old by-laws (2019)

The problem

The old by-laws had a number of problems. The document was first written in Swedish, then translated into English, leading to a number of language errors, as certain Swedish legal jargon does not make sense when translated to English. There where also language inconsistencies as some positions and documents have changed names over the years. The new document solves these problems.

One of the biggest flaws of the old by-laws is rooted its many iterations. Because of the lack of chapters the document has become unorganised and hard to follow. There has also been changes made which has not been correctly changed in the by-laws, for example removing parts of the organisation and still referring to them in parts of the by-laws.

Besides this there has also been uncertainties in how to enforce parts of the by-laws. This is rooted in old principles related to how the organisation worked many years ago. By moving most of the organisational regulation to a new document managed by the JSU Board, we hope to solve these kinds of issues, whiles keeping up organisational stability. This change also makes it easier for the board to solve problems that arise within the organisation.

The changes

Most of the by-law has been rewritten to better suit the English language. Spelling and grammatical changes has been made to better align with British English.

Chapters

The by-laws has been decided up into chapters to make it easier to find the correct information. This also helps readers to easier follow what the by-laws is trying to tell them. The new chapters are as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. Steering framework
  3. Democracy
  4. Financials
  5. Appendix

Organisational and steering matters

A new document called the JSU Organisational rules has been created to collect all organisational rules and policies including delegation orders and similar documents. Plenty of organisational matters has there-by also been moved into this document.

To help make the steering of the organisation easier a new steering framework chapter was added to make steering aspects of the organisation easier to grasp with. It contains information about what the JSU Organisational rules is, in which order documents shall be interpreted, how to interpret documents and similar things.

Another big change was the formalisation of the organisational memory. As a student union is an ever shifting organisation it is hard to keep track of decisions. To make this task easier and more formal, the organisational memory was set to five years (including the current organisational year), meaning that the board has to review all decisions (policies, etc.) every five years. This keeps the documents up to date and guarantees that old forgotten documents does not create any unnecessary trouble for the steering of the organisation.

Financial matters

One part of the document which lacked guidelines was financials. Therefore a new chapter called financials was created to collect this kind of regulation. Three new points where added, now requiring the organisation to have an active investment strategy and emergency reserves. Further developments to this are is expected in the future.

To conclude

The by-laws contained plenty of problems making them hard for the board to enforce. By dividing the by-laws into chapters and rewriting big parts of the by-laws the major readability and interpretation problems where solved. To help make to organisation easier to govern my the board, organisational matters where moved to a new document called JSU Organisational rules and two new chapters called Steering framework and Financials where added.

Credits

Eric Gustafsson:

  • Project leader
  • Structure and rewriting of the by-laws
  • Main writer

Sophia Fröberg Liljenberg (JSU President):

  • Cover letter (main writer)
  • Reviewing and advice
  • Assistance in writing

Jenný Jensdóttir (JSU Vice President):

  • Reviewing and advice
  • Language clarity and consistency
  • Assistance in writing