An emergency meeting of the SRC and SSC held on the evening of Wednesday 25 April approved a motion to delay the NUS referendum from 2 and 3 May until November 2012. The motion was carried by fourteen votes for, none against, with six abstentions. Patrick O’Hare, President of the Students’ Association, abstained from the vote and was not present at the meeting.
During the meeting there was much discussion concerning how there could not be a free and fair vote given the time frame available before the May referendum, as the two opposing campaigns would not have had equal time to prepare. Concerns were also raised about other financial, technical, and constitutional issues that had arisen since the referendum was approved by the SRC and SSC.
Sam Fowles, Director of Representation, and the other sabbatical officers had collectively decided to support delaying the referendum several days after the SRC and SSC had voted for it on Tuesday 10 April and Tuesday 17 April respectively, as the issues mentioned above came to light in the period after the SRC/SSC had voted, and had therefore not been considered in those votes.
In addition, criticism was levelled at the sabbatical-elects and three current and former SSC officers who had, at the request of Dr Quinault, Chairperson of the Students’ Association Board, and Lorna Milne, Proctor, written a private letter to Dr Quinault detailing their concerns about the timing of the referendum soon after the SRC and SSC votes. Some SRC/SSC members questioned this action taken by the sabbatical-elects, as they felt their behaviour undermined the democratic authority of the SRC and SSC. Chloe Hill, Association Community Relations Officer, raised concerns about this reflecting “bad governance” and spoke out against “the way the situation had been handled”.
Freddie Fforde, President-Elect of the Students’ Association, stressed that the sabbatical-elects had not, as a result of their actions, intended to undermine the SRC and SSC in any way and believed that they had acted in the “best interests of the Union.”
The Saint is currently investigating further.