Last updated Friday, April 26th

updated FAQs for the su transformation

Updated FAQs TT24

Is the SU Closed or shutting down? No, the SU is not closed and is not shutting down; for the period of transformation we will be operating essential services only. You can learn more about what services are defined as essential below.


Can I still access the SU Advice Centre? Due to staffing changes unrelated to Transformation, the SU Advice Centre will be closed to new cases from 01 May 2024. The Advice Centre continues to be considered an essential service and we aim to get it back up and running as soon as possible.


Are Campaigns still running? Yes, Campaigns will still operate in the usual way and are identified as an essential service.


What is happening with Student Council? Student Council is being repurposed to support the transformation process; we will be holding an all-student meeting in place of Student council in week 7 of TT24 to consult on the transformation plan and emerging proposals. In the meantime, we will be widely consulting with student groups including the Council Steering group, JCR and MCRs and Campaign Co-Chairs to support this work. The Chair of Student Council has been appointed as a member of the Transformation Committee.


How can we scrutinise Sabbatical Officers work if there is no Student council? Sabbatical Officers will be similarly engaged with the transformation process, with limited scope to engage in broader activities than is perhaps normal practice. They will continue to sit on key University committees and will be expected to ensure they engage with the student body in such a way as to be able to present as full a student view on matters as practicable.


Why is the SU only having 3 Sabbatical Officers next year? Whilst we undertake this period of transformation we will be focusing on how the SU can better support Sabbatical Officers, including a renewed focus on appropriate training and induction, something on which we have fallen short in recent years. We have also reduced and repurposed the staff team while we focus on transformation and essential services only. It would not be fair to bring 6 Sabbatical officers into an environment where they cannot be properly supported. With all this in mind, we have made the difficult decision to reduce the Sabbatical team by half for this upcoming academic year.


How did the SU decide which Sabbatical Officers they will have next year? The Sabbatical Officers taking up post in the academic year 2024/25 are those identified in the University regulations as the student representatives on University Council: President, Vice-President UG Education and Access and Vice-President PG Education and Access.


Will Rep Comms still take place in Trinity Term? Rep coms will be repurposed to support the student consultation around transformation. Further details on this will be forthcoming and we would encourage as many students as possible to get involved to inform this process. We will be in touch directly with JCR and MCR reps.


Will welfare products at cost still be available to Colleges? Yes, this service will continue as normal.


How long will the transformation period be? We are working to a 12 month timeline for the transformation project.


Who is on the Transformation Committee? You can find the members of the transformation committee below.


Who is the Change Director? The Transformation Committee and SU Trustee Board have appointed Emilie Tapping as the Change Director. Emilie Tapping is joining us as Change Director for 12 months. Emilie was previously CEO at Brookes Union where she delivered substantive structural and cultural change. Emilie has had a 15 year career in Higher Education starting as Vice President of King's College London Students' Union, followed by 5 years working at King's College London. Prior to Brookes Emilie was Deputy CEO across both Arts SU and London School of Economics Students' Unions, having done a number of roles across both students' unions simultaneously.


How can I input into the Transformation plan? The SU will be contacting student groups over the coming weeks to organise meetings so that students can feed into the transformation plan. Student groups will be regularly consulted throughout the process.

will fresher's fair 2024 still happen?

We understand how important it is for students to feel welcomed to the University, so the current proposal is that Freshers Fair will take place in 2024. 

what is the transformation plan?

The Transformation Plan is a reform initiative by the Students’ Union to transform our structure, governance, and operations in collaboration with the University, who will co-chair and participate in the Transformation Committee. Currently, the Transformation Plan consists of:

  • A root & branch review of the student representation system across the whole of the University of Oxford
  • A review of the Union’s democratic and governance structures to support effective student representation, including sabbatical officer effectiveness
  • A review of the SU operations including staffing structures, people & culture, delivery and income generation
  • Review and prioritisation of the outcomes of the SU Review undertaken by the University and the SU since May 2023 where these help address points above.


The Students’ Union is committed to effective student representation—a standard that we have failed at in the past. At the start of the year, in consultation with the University and recognising serious improvements had to be made, an independent review of the Students’ Union was launched.  

Alongside this, the organisation has also been conducting internal analysis around its’ effectiveness, governance and financial stability. From this it was clear that urgent action was needed. 

With the independent review nearing conclusion, we believe now is the right time for the Transformation Plan. Our goal is to deliver a Students’ Union that meets the high standards our students rightly deserve. 


The Transformation Plan is aimed at creating an Oxford Students’ Union that works for all students across all of the Oxford Colleges. This will take some time, and we want to make sure that we get it right. The primary aim is to create a fully functioning student engagement system which is fit for purpose and a sustainable organisation to deliver it. We’ll be looking at:

  • A structure that better supports Sabbatical Officers and empowers them to thrive in roles 

  • Clarity within the Student body as to the purpose of the Students' Union 

  • Development of a robust student representation model that services the requirements of the collegiate structure at Oxford 

  • Strong values driven, inclusive culture that represents the diversity of the student body 

  • Refinement, analysis, and implementation of SU Review recommendations 

  • Student Representation and engagement throughout the process 

  • Confidence in the SU to deliver on its primary purpose from both the Student Body and the Institution 


Absolutely. Student input is vital to the success of the Transformation Plan. We will have further details in the coming months about how students will be involved throughout the process.

If students have initial questions, thoughts, comments or feedback we are encouraging students to submit them via this form. We’ll update these FAQs as questions are submitted.


In order to ensure the SU has the capacity to focus on the Transformation Plan, the current proposal is that the SU will focus only on the following essential activities for the rest of the academic year: 

  • Facilitation of student-led campaigns. 

  • Operation of the Student Advice Service 

  • Access and Participation Plan Student Submission 

  • Student representation on important University/College committees 

  • Welfare provision to colleges 

If you think we’ve missed out something essential that should continue then please submit this to the student feedback form. Unfortunately, some things will have to stop; this isn’t a reflection of how important or impactful that work is. 


To make room to rebuild, we need to stop existing activity and projects. We know that this list may not be complete or fully reflective of activity and we’re happy to hear feedback and proposals for other activity which should continue. Unfortunately its unlikely that we’ll be able to continue with all activity. 

  • Student Council will be replaced to become a consultative body to allow student voices to be represented in the transformation planning.  

  • All other student facing activities and projects will cease for the duration of the Transformation Period  

  • Target Schools and other charity/local community engagement 

Student Feedback

Student feedback and input is integral to the success of the transformation plan. If you have any initial concerns, questions or feedback, please submit them via this form!




Fay Shorter

Oxford SU External Trustee

Photo of Dominic Anderson
professor martin williams

Pro-Vice Chancellor, Education | Co-Chair

Photo of Lizzy Downham
Dr saira shaikh

Academic Registrar

Photo of Sameyia Syed
Dr Jane Hoverd

Education Committee Nominee

Photo of Daisy O'Connor
Sir Malcolm Evans

Conference of Colleges Nominee

Danial Hussain

Chair of SU Trustee Board

Photo of Lizzy Downham
Oluweseun Sowunmi

Chair of Student Council

Photo of Lizzy Downham
Ben Ward

Oxford SU External Trustee | Co Chair

Photo of Lizzy Downham
Emilie tapping

Oxford SU Change Director


A Statement from Oxford SU

21st March 2024

We are writing to let you know about some important changes to Oxford SU designed to ensure effective student representation across the collegiate University in the long term.


The University and Oxford SU’s sabbatical officers and trustees are all committed to robust student representation that meets the expectations of all Oxford students.

However, in recent years, there have been increasing concerns about the SU’s ability to operate and represent the student body effectively. This has also created additional pressure on sabbatical officers.


In light of the challenges faced, Oxford SU’s Trustees (which includes sabbatical officers) have decided the situation is unsustainable, and that an urgent turnaround plan is needed. The SU has invited the University to participate in this process.

The turnaround plan will transform the governance and operations of the SU – seeking to improve the Union’s effectiveness and its representation of students across the collegiate University. Its ambitions include providing:

  • Improved clarity among students about the SU’s purpose
  • A more responsive student representation system
  • A structure that better supports the Sabbatical Officers.

This work will be led by a Transformation Committee, co-chaired by the SU and the University, with a Change Director appointed by Oxford SU to drive the transition to a new model.

It will build on the work of an independent review of Oxford SU, which is currently nearing completion with student input, and which will make recommendations on a new student representation system.


While this work progresses, Oxford SU has developed an interim plan, to allow it to focus on the necessary change. This will mean operations cut back to all but the most essential activities:

  • The current Students’ Council will be replaced by a consultative system to allow student voices to be heard in the transformation planning.
  • Other key activities, such as Oxford SU’s advice service, the Freshers’ Fair and the student campaigns for under-represented groups, will continue.

Commitment to student democracy The University, Oxford SU Sabbatical Officers and the Board of Trustees are all thoroughly committed to student democracy and a robust student voice, and are embarking on this process to deliver the strong, high-quality, well-governed Students’ Union that our students expect and deserve.

Further details of the transition process, and opportunities for student input, will be given in due course.