IEU Student Government: Is It An Institution Or Just A Title?


With Student Government elections creeping up next week, The Stork wanted to know what IE students thought about this governing body. After sending out a survey filled out by 90 Madrid and Segovia students, and conducting several interviews, this is what the IE community believes:

Before moving forward, it is important to define what a Student Government is at IE University. It has been noted through conversations with fellow students that no one knows what the SG is allowed to do, or how far their power can go. Hence, The Stork tried to find any official statement in our institution that brings forward a framework. After not finding anything in this year’s campaign documents, it has resorted to a document sent out during last year’s SG elections in which IE states:

The IEU Student Government is the highest students’ representation body of the Bachelors students at IE University… guaranteeing the democratic representation of the student body. 

[…]The IEU Student Government belongs to the institutional framework of IE University and collaborates closely with the University’s Administration in fundamental issues as academic regulations, international mobility, ethics cases, extra-curricular activities and the institutional representation of the University’s student body at national and international level.”

As for their main functions:

1. Provide transparency between the student body and governing bodies of the University. 
2. Represent student interests in academic and extra-curricular affairs.
3. Encourage an active participation of students in University affairs.
4. Present proposals and concerns to the governing bodies of the University.
5. Collaborate with the University Administration.

Despite the fact only 26% of the student body voted in last year’s SG elections, the survey results demonstrated that almost 47% of students seem satisfied with the current Student Government, and 69% reported having a positive association with it. Yet, when it comes to power, there seems to be a debate. A BBA student said “I think they do have a bit of power but it is limited”, his classmate adding that he has never seen any proposal or initiative being developed. Yet on the contrary, 42% of the survey respondents believe that SG can influence decision-making within the institution.  

Forms response chart. Question title: How much power do you believe the SG has in the institution (IE University)?. Number of responses: 90 responses.

Furthermore, some students expressed their frustration by agreeing that the SG should have more freedom to implement new ideas, implying that they don’t seem to have the ability to innovate. A BBA-Design student explained it as follows: “When a team is elected to become our Student Government, they soon discover that they are in fact working for (and not with) the administration. They become overwhelmed with work, and without support, the budget becomes a prison, and they cannot fulfill their promises. But I see a huge potential if a Student Government could take on more projects and actually produce meaningful and noticeable change, rather than complete administration’s tasks.

In addition, students expressed how they sense a gap not only between the university and the student government but also between the Student Government and the student body. Students agreed that the most important features they wish their SG to represent are close relations with students, transparency about their abilities, and diversity in degrees. They aspire that SG can really allow for student voices to be considered in our university’s decision-making. Also, given the very ambiguous guidelines provided by the university on the capacities of SG, students exhort for improvement in communication about the inner workings of the SG, given that there is a misconception about what SG is able to do.

Forms response chart. Question title: Which ones of the following features do you think SG should represent in their team the most? (select 3). Number of responses: 90 responses.

Taking all into consideration, it is clear that there is not a uniform opinion regarding Student Government. “My design brain is telling me that our Student Government would have to be reimagined from scratch in order to fit the needs of its student body and be a more effective authority. […] In our part, we have to be more involved as students, but SG also has to be more fluid and accessible” (BBA-Design student). In order to diminish the dissatisfaction found amongst the student body, it is important for each and every student to contribute by casting their vote between March 18th and 20th. 

Cloe Chapotot
Cloe Chapotot
Segovia Managing Editor, studying BBA+BDBA. Enjoys writing about interesting people and events, as well as matters that concern the student community.

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