A motion calling for an official apology from Director of Representation Sam Fowles has been dismissed by the SRC following a vote which claimed that the matter had already been adequately dealt with by the Students’ Association Executive Committee last week. 11 members of the council including Patrick O’Hare, President of the Students’ Association, agreed that the Executive Committee had addressed the issue and it should no longer be a topic of discussion. Eight members felt discussions should continue whilst one abstained.
On Wednesday 7 March, the SRC met for the last time this year to discuss, amongst other issues, claims that Fowles “attracted wide dissatisfaction from the University, largely due to the ambiguity between his position as DoRep and his individual person”. The motion criticised the Director of Representation’s support for Alastair Moffat during the Rectorial Elections, as well as his controversial “110%” backing of the recently formed Kate Kennedy Fellowship.
The motion was proposed by Member for Widening Access, Claire Simmonds who told The Saint that her proposition reflected “a serious dissatisfaction amongst part of the student body …a group of people who felt their voices were not being heard”. Despite praising Fowles for having “contributed positively to many aspects of the Association”, she suggested “there were still questions that had to be asked regarding the spirit in which the DoRep had acted, something the Exec committee had not ruled on.”
The previous day Sam Fowles released a video explaining his role in the Kate Kennedy Fellowship affair, claiming that he had tried “to be discreet about (his) part in this”. He defended his support for Sunny Moodie and Pat Mathewson, interim presidents of the Kate Kennedy Fellowship, suggesting the wellbeing of the Moodie and Mathewson was at risk. He claimed, “I have a duty of care to maintain confidentiality, both morally and legally. If I am not able to maintain this then I could not do my job. When a student suggests that they are concerned for their own safety, as happened in this case, I have to take it particularly seriously”.
Amongst other allegations, Simmonds asserted that “The rushed nature of the meeting forced the SRC to vote on an issue they could not have enough information about”. Fowles countered this claim in his video, stating that this “was in line with previous SRC motions which stated that the governing principles of the old KKC run in direct contradiction to the University’s and specifically the Students’ Association’s commitment towards equal opportunities.”
The flurry of motions proposed by the SRC over the last two weeks has seen the spotlight thrown on the Director of Representation as he nears the end of his term. Tuesday night’s meeting saw an unusually high turnout, one member commenting, “Everyone must be here for once”. Members of the SRC itself expressed discontent with the way in which the affair had been handled. One member voiced concerns that there were “more important issues to discuss” while another felt that the passing of notes and whispering during the meeting had been “rude”. The ruling of the Students’ Association Executive Committee expressed similar unease, stating that “next year’s elected SRC and SSC undertake a review of those laws and standing orders which relate to meetings and motions.”