Yesterday (17 October) at a meeting of the Joint Councils, Student Reprsentative Council (SRC) and Student Services Council (SSC), the student governance body voted overwhelmingly to reject a proposal supporting the manifesto of rector elect, Srdja Popovic.
Mr Popovic won last week’s election with 2,183 of 3,486 votes cast, over 60 per cent of the vote.
The proposal was brought to the council by the leader of Mr Popovic’s campaign, Jamie Rodney.
The proposal itself had over 60 student signatures.
Only one member of the councils voted in favour of the motion, all others voted against it or abstained.
Mr Rodney said of the result, “I am obviously disappointed by the way this vote has gone, especially seeing as most of the councillors seemed to be in agreement with the motion in terms of its substance and seemed to have reservations about wording and technicalities rather than the actual substance of the motion.
“That said, moving forward I am optimistic on moving forward to find a working solution that can balance the concerns of the SSC and SRC with the overwhelming democratic mandate that Srdja won last week.”
He continued, “I think that it was the wrong decision to vote down this proposal today, that said if it was just a case of wording and technicalities, there’s always the next meeting and I’m sure that we can put forward another motion that we can all agree on.”
“At the end of the day, both sides want what’s best for St Andrews we just have slightly different opinions of how we can bring that about. As long as both sides keep that in mind, I am optimistic.”
Association President, Lewis Wood was one of the fiercest opponents to the proposal.
He said, “however Srdja Popovic ran, he is now in a University position … and part of our jobs as student representatives is to question the University.
“Do we still retain our ability to challenge the University if we sign a motion that says we faithfully support Srdja whatever his objectives are? I don’t believe that it can carry on.”
He continued, “I think it is fundamental that there is a divide there.”
One of the concerns Mr Wood and other councillors expressed was that they felt the motion was too vague, and that there could be disagreement about how it would mandate the Association to act.
Mr Wood said, “He did get overwhelmingly elected, but that is for a mandate that was very specific and separate from the Association … I don’t know what we are being asked to sign on to really.”
Ru Ferguson, Debates Officer, was the only office on either councils, to vote in favour of the proposal.
Speaking to The Saint, he said “I am obviously disappointed the motion did not pass this time.
“In private, many councillors told me they supported it, but were apprehensive about doing so in public. I hope councils continues to discuss issues that are relevant to students.”
“I think many on joint councils expressed general support for Mr Popovic’s ambitions, but could not support the specific wording of the motion.
“I look forward to seeing their alternative proposals for the endorsement in the near future”