YUSU’s new team for the 2015/2016 academic year was almost reduced last week after YUSU Officers Jack Chadwick and Katherine Mellor narrowly avoided being victims of votes of no confidence.
Jack Chadwick, elected as LGBTQ Officer with Evie Brill Paffard, and Katherine Mellor, elected as Womens’ [sic] Officer with Ananna Zaman, avoided votes of no confidence filed against them after YUSU’s Policy Review Group decided that censures were more appropriate, announced Ben Leatham, the new YUSU President.
Chadwick and Mellor played considerable roles in the “Emergency Rally: Democracy Now” event, held on the 11th of May on Heslington West following the result of the May General Election. The “subsequent controversy caused by the event and comments made by the officers involved”, which, it has been argued, may have made students who had voted for the Conservative Party feel uncomfortable and ‘othered’ from the university community, prompted two separate votes of no confidence against the Officers.
The Facebook event, hosted by Chadwick, Mellor and Ashley Reed, carried a description that began with, “Five more years of right-wing government will destroy lives,” and ended with, “FIGHT THE CUTS, FIGHT FPTP, FIGHT THE TORIES”. Mellow wrote on Facebook on the 8th of May:
…this protest is for people who believe the Conservatives are dangerous and/or oppressive and do not represent them… this protests support signing petitions for electoral reform, but reognises [sic] valid concerns that the tories [sic] are unlikely to call a referedum [sic] on FPTP given that it directly benefits them NOT to reform…
In an edited YUSU statement (https://www.yusu.org/blog/view/1458) the union’s President Ben Leatham, on behalf of Callum Furness, YUSU’s Policy Coordinator, announced that Chadwick and Mellor had not received enough votes from the YUSU Officers to merit Motions of Censure against them. Though Chadwick and Mellor continue to play roles in the student union, this is unlikely to be the start of their YUSU positions that Chadwick, Mellor or their colleagues would have wanted.
Chadwick received equal votes in favour and against a Motion of Censure, with two abstentions, while Mellor received nine votes against, three votes in favour and two abstentions, ensuring that neither Motion of Censure passed against them.
Note: this article was amended on 10th March 2016 to replace the link to the Policy Coordinator’s statement, which had been changed by the student union.
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