NUS referendum to be postponed

6

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.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Saint,
    just too clarify, I am no longer the community relations officer. I chose not apply to be co-opted after I found out about the Sabb-elects writing ‘officially’ to the chair of the trustee board against the referendum decision, despite the unanimous decision passed by the SRC. I would like to congratulate Ali West on being co-opted as community relations officer for the coming year, I am positive she will carry out the job fantastically.

    yours,
    Chloe

  2. I have been made aware that the post from ‘CH’ is not Chloe HIll, but in fact, someone being incredibly obnoxious. It has been requested that it be taken down–in the meantime readers, please ignore the unnecessary statement.

  3. It is surprising to me that student officers elected over a year ago should put themselves in the position of questioning the propriety of newly-elected sabbaticals expressing a view on a subject as important to the future of the body of which they will shortly be trustees as the terms on a referendum on joining the NUS. Sabbatical officers must appreciate that following the election of their successors, unless they themselves have been re-elected, they are lame ducks – and in that position they are morally obliged to seek the agreement of their successors before taking any potentially controversial action. Meanwhile, the SRC and the SSC need to take their role in the governance structure of the Association far more seriously, holding the sabbatical officers to account and, if need be, challenging them when the interests of their own pet projects conflict with those of the Association and the student body. Never has the role of the Association Board been more important than here, and I commend both it and the sabbaticals-elect for frustrating what was apparently an attempt to bounce St Andrews in to the NUS without proper reflection or scrutiny. I hope that when November comes the student body will not forget the tactics of the pro-NUS faction, and that they will question just why its members felt their cause could best be advanced by holding a referendum so suddenly.

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