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Information for Prospective Elected Members of Council

Southern Cross University Council

Council is the governing authority of the University and is responsible for oversight of the University's affairs.  The role of a Council member is similar to the director of a company.  

To obtain further information about how the University is governed please visit this page.

Council is chaired by the Chancellor and has 13 members:

  • the Chancellor;
  • the Vice Chancellor;
  • the Chair of Academic Board;
  • two members appointed by the NSW Minister of Education;
  • four external members appointed by Council, including one member who is a graduate of the University,
  • three elected staff members; and
  • one elected student member.

To view the current membership of Council, please visit this page.

Council members possess a range of expertise in the fields of higher education, legal, financial management, risk management, strategic planning, business acumen, marketing and communication. 

Council meetings are conducted not less than five times each year and meetings may be scheduled to take place at any of the University’s campus locations or via videoconference.  A Council meeting usually runs for up to three hours. 

All Council member roles are voluntary and are not remunerated.  However, reasonable costs associated with Council duties are met by the University. 

Term of Office

The term of office for elected staff and student members of Council is two years commencing on 10 September 2020 and concluding on 9 September 2022.

Commitment

The time commitment for a Council member is estimated at a minimum of 40 hours per calendar year.  There will be an additional time commitment should a Council member also be appointed to a subcommittee of Council.

Obligations

Members of Council have specific legal obligations to the University when performing their functions.  These duties are similar to the duties of a company director under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).  A combined list of duties from the Southern Cross University Act and general law is follows:

  1. Duty to carry out functions of a Council member bona fide (in good faith) in the best interests of the University as a whole and for a proper purpose;
  2. Duty to act honestly and exercise a reasonable degree of care and diligence in carrying out his or her functions;
  3. Duty not to act for an improper purpose;
  4. Duty not to make improper use of the position on Council to gain, directly or indirectly, an advantage for the Council member or another person or to cause detriment to the University;
  5. Duty not to make improper use of information acquired because of the Council position to gain, directly or indirectly, an advantage for the Council member or another person or to cause detriment to the University;
  6. Duty to retain discretion, which means not taking on an obligation to another party that will mean having to exercise duties and functions as a Council member in a particular way;
  7. Duty to avoid conflicts of interest; and
  8. Duty to declare a conflict of interest as soon as possible when a matter arises at a meeting of Council or that is to be considered by Council for which the Council member has a real or apparent conflict.

Council members are “officers” of the University and should also be aware of their obligations under the University’s Code of Conduct.

Potential Conflicts of Interest

Elected members do not “represent” the constituencies from which they are drawn in the way that a Member of Parliament represents his or her constituents.  Instead, they are expected to bring a student or staff perspective, as the case may be, to the Council.  All members, whether appointed or elected, are required by law to act at all times as trustees of the University and in the interests of the University as a whole rather than any particular group.

Council Members may at times face potential conflicts of interest.  Independent Council Members are explicitly recruited to bring independence to a Council (this is why they are required to be in a majority), internal Council Members are not in such a position and the resulting potential conflicts of interest may need careful management.  Such conflicts might include:

  • Being a member of staff (or to sharpen the potential conflict further, a senior manager) of a work unit whose resources are being considered by the governing body;
  • Being a student member when sensitive issues concerning the student union are being discussed;
  • Being a member of a committee, whose recommendations are being considered by the Council;
  • Being the representative of a trade union or external body, which has a particular view about an issue being considered by the Council.

Such potential conflicts of interest can be multiple.  For example, work unit manager, trade union representative, academic committee member, and elected Council Member could all be the same person.

Council members must declare a conflict of interest as soon as possible when a matter arises at a meeting of Council or that is to be considered by Council for which the Council member has a real or apparent conflict.

Confidentiality of Proceedings

Staff and Student Council members are not representatives and are required to adhere to Council confidentiality/solidarity as much as any other members. As such, they must not report Council matters to staff or students and no Council member may divulge Council information beyond the content of the Council Report issued to all Southern Cross University staff.

Eligibility for Nomination

To be eligible for nomination, a candidate must be listed on the relevant University staff or student roll at the close of the nomination period.  

The nomination period commences at 3.00 pm, Wednesday, 15 July 2020 and concludes at 3.00 pm, Wednesday, 29 July 2020. 

The University has appointed an external online voting and election service provider (BigPulse) to conduct the nomination process and subsequent election on its behalf. 

An email will be sent to University staff and students inviting them to nominate as a candidate.

Student Roll 

A student is eligible to nominate if they:

  1. are enrolled* in a University course which has a duration of at least one year; and
  2. are not employed by the University on either a continuing (permanent) or fixed-term basis.
* A student is enrolled in a course once they complete enrolment in all units in their first study period.  They remain enrolled until they complete the course, take a leave of absence, withdraw from the course, are deemed to have abandoned the course or are excluded or expelled from the University.

All University students enrolled in a course with a duration of at least a year are eligible to vote in the election for the student member of Council.
Academic Staff Roll
All full-time** or fractional-time*** members of the University’s academic staff are eligible to nominate for and vote in the election for Academic staff members of Council. **  Full-time means staff employed on a continuing (permanent) or fixed-term basis working full-time hours, but excludes casual staff.

***  Fractional-time means staff employed on a continuing (permanent) or fixed-term working less than full-time hours, but excludes casual staff.
Non-Academic Staff Roll
All full-time** or fractional-time*** members of the non-academic staff of the University are eligible to nominate for and vote in the election for Non-academic staff member of Council. ** Full-time means staff employed on a continuing (permanent) or fixed-term basis working full-time hours, but excludes casual staff.

*** Fractional-time means staff employed on a continuing (permanent) or fixed-term working less than full-time hours, but excludes casual staff.

Each nomination must be supported by two people listed on the same staff or student roll as the candidate.  For example, a nomination for the student member of Council must be supported by two current students.  A nomination for a student member cannot be supported by a staff member and vice versa.

To support their nomination, candidates may provide a statement of not more than 150 words containing information relating to the position they are nominating for. That information may include, for example, the following particulars:

  1. full name;
  2. work unit or course of study;
  3. qualifications and experience; and
  4. positions or offices held at any time with public bodies, clubs and institutions (including University clubs and societies) with dates of tenure.

Election Schedule

If more than one nomination for a position is received, an election will be conducted in accordance with the Southern Cross University Council Elections Rule

The election will open for voting at 3.00 pm, Wednesday, 5 August 2020, and close at 3.00 pm, Wednesday, 19 August 2020. 

Voting is not compulsory.

Belinda Atkinson
Council Secretary (Returning Officer)

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