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Lady Margaret Hall JCR plans ambitious constitutional reforms

Lady Margaret Hall has put forward proposals branded “the most wide-ranging restructure of the JCR in modern JCR history” by its president Josh Tulloch.

Lady Margaret Hall’s JCR are set to put an ambitious set of reforms to a vote at a general meeting on Sunday, following a wide-ranging review conducted by the LMH “Constitutional Reform Committee”. The reforms have been presented to JCR members by its President Josh Tulloch, a third-year PPE student.

Reforms include the introduction of subcommittees to replace the current singletier officer system, as well as the expansion of the specific legal duties of the College Trustees. The JCR is also hoping to create a new role, that of an independent Chair. The Chair would run elections, provide constitutional interpretations and relieve the President of neutrality obligations.

The constitutional reforms will require approval by a majority of attendees at the General Meeting on Sunday, before the new constitution is introduced. President Josh Tulloch commented: “We are confident that these changes will better equip our officers to serve the needs of the JCR far more effectively.

“Comprehensive reform was promised to the JCR, and this document delivers!”

Chair of the LMH JCR’s Constitutional Reform Committee and co-author of the constitutional reform proposals, Matthew Judson, a second-year PPE student at the college, said: “I’m delighted that we have managed to pull together some really robust reforms which I believe will strengthen governance, clarify grey areas, and help the JCR operate more smoothly.

He continued: “I’m optimistic that the proposals will gain the confidence of both the JCR membership and the College, and I look forward to leaving our JCR in the best possible shape for future generations of LMH students.”

The new constitution will replace the existing committee with a senior committee comprised only of the current trustees (the President, Treasurer and Secretary), along with the chairs of the four new subcommittees: welfare, equalities, internal, and social.

The consultation document argues that the new system will allow decisions to “be made by manageable-sized groups of Officers who are all directly concerned with the issues at hand.”

The new position of an independent Chair is intended to ensure impartiality in enforcement of JCR rules, thereby releiving the trustees of their neutrality obligations and providing a check on the President’s power. The document acknowledges that the Chair will hold a large amount of power, but argues that this will be constrained by their ease of removal.

The changes also includes the creation of Honourary Memberships of the JCR, and a provision allowing the Trustees to veto general meetings in the event of legal issues.

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