A National Union Scotland (NUS) delegate has called for constitutional change to avoid a "dilemma" in future years after it was discovered that the deputy president was not actually a student.
The calls comes after it was made public that Elaine Ner, deputy president, of NUS Scotland had resigned following ineligibility controversy.
The constitution states that the nominee must be a full or part time student at the time of the close of nominations which was 20 February 2009.
NUS Scotland delegate for Edinburgh University's Student Association, Liz Rawlings told The Journal: “There must be changes in the election system to ensure that anyone running is eligible to do so. Otherwise we will be left in a similar, unacceptable and avoidable dilemma in future years.”
The revelation occured after Carnegie College—where Ms Ner indicated she was enrolled—confirmed that she was not a matriculated student during the election.
Mr Burns, president of NUS Scotland, said that her decision to step down and her not being a student were “two unconnected issues, as far as I see”.
“She independently decided that she didn’t want to continue in the post," said Mr Burns
At the recent conference, delegates were demanding answers as to how this oversight took such a long time to realise.
Security was stepped up as all students attending had to show their matriculation cards upon entry.
Mr Burns regretted the whole episode, and admitted to The Journal that: “We got a grilling on how we let that happen in the first place.”
There was the option for student associations across Scotland to request an "Extraordinary Conference" to resolve the matter but the Student Executive Committee (SEC) recommended that this would be a waste of resources considering the post would only be filled for a few months.
It was announced at conference that there was insufficient electoral time to hold a vote on a successor to Ms Ner as by the time a campaign was launched and someone was elected and trained there will only be a few months left for them to take on the role.
Mr Burns told The Journal that the impromptu resignation had not left NUS Scotland in disarray: “Council were fine to support other students to take on the workload left by Ms Ner."
The money saved from the ex sabbatical’s wage will be redirected to the SEC.
Ms Rawlings concluded: “While I support the SEC decision that it would be detrimental for NUS campaigns and office bearers’ time to elect a replacement at this time in the year, this does not take away from the fact that this problem should never have happened in the first place.”