Students at universities and colleges are represented by student unions. There may be several student unions at a university, but the student unions must always represent different areas of activity. There can thus not be several student unions that represent students in one and the same education.
Students have the opportunity to organize themselves in associations and apply for status as a student union. The application is submitted to the higher education institution, which decides on union status. The process of applying for and deciding on status as a student union is called the “union status process”. A decision on union status is valid for three years, after which the process is repeated again.
The student unions are central for the students to be able to exercise a democratic influence over their educations. Therefore, SFS believes that the union status process must be transparent and legally secure. It is the students themselves who must decide who represents them. The higher education institution only handles the application and makes the formal decision on union status.
At the beginning of 2020, SFS published a report describing the rules regarding the union status process. The report identifies some unclear rules. Therefore, some recommendations are given on how the process can be developed:
- The government expands and clarifies the student concept.
- The Government clarifies whether / how students who are not covered by the student concept must be represented in decisions that affect them.
- The government clarifies what opportunities the student unions have
have to exclude members.
- The higher education institutions produce a common standard for holding times and certain definitions within the union status process.
The report in its entirety can be found attached below.