On the request of the UMCB committee, Bangor’s Students took a big step to ensure the future of the Welsh Language and ‘Undeb Myfyrwyr Cymraeg Bangor’ (Bangor’s Welsh Students’ Union). In the recent years, there has been a call for UMCB to work closer with Undeb Bangor. And I am pleased to announce that UMCB and Undeb Bangor will be joining forces.
The UMCB President is a full time role in accordance to Undeb Bangor’s by-laws, but the UMCB president is not elected cross campus, therefore the UMCB President is not a trustee on the Board of Trustees. Although Undeb Bangor provides UMCB’s funding, the President does not have a vote or any decision making power in Undeb.
The UMCB committee offered to the UMCB membership that we unify with Undeb Bangor and create a new Sabbatical Officer. The new Officer’s title will be Vice-President of Welsh Speaking Students and UMCB President. Even though UMCB and Undeb are joining, the new officer will only be voted in by UMCB members, it will not be a cross campus vote.
The unification of UMCB and Undeb Bangor has opened many doors for UMCB. UMCB now has a vote on the Board of Trustees, which means that UMCB has more power for change within Undeb Bangor. UMCB will have staff support to ensure continuity from year to year, and to give support to the officer on their campaigns.
We have already seen the benefits of the proposition this year, by using Undeb Bangors IT systems, all Welsh speaking Students and Welsh Learning Students are made members of UMCB automatically. There are over 2,800 members with UMCB this year which is almost 10 times the membership of 2015/16. And as a result of this, we have seen the most Students vote in the UMCB elections than ever before.
Although UMCB and Undeb have unified, it is still important that UMCB keeps its identity, this will not be lost amongst all the changes. UMCB’s name and brand will still be seen in Welsh campaigns. UMCB will also still have the power over its own governance, for example UMCB will still be able to create materials in monolingual Welsh.
Bangor’s Welsh Students were involved in this process from the beginning. And the proposal has been scrutinised in detail to ensure that Welsh Students get the best deal from the desicion. We will continue to evaluate the model in the year to come to ensure that Welsh students have the strongest voice.