In the second removal of a candidate this week, John Smith* has been removed from the competition to be Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer, following what was rumoured to be a series of repeated misdemeanours.
In an unfortunate turn of events at the end of a week of voting which had seen a large turnout and relatively few incidents, Smith, in a message sent to members of his Facebook group, complained of a “decision made by a secretive group where you can’t even see minutes of the meeting in which you were involved.”
While a statement was due to be released by the elections committee this morning, Smith opted to pre-empt it with his own, arguing that the justifications for his removal were “false” and “invalid”, and stating his intention to appeal the decision. Appeals committee meets next week, so if any appeal is successful the position will go to a by-election. For now, any votes already made for Smith will pass to the next preference on the ballot paper.
Smith’s statement – and the prospect of it overshadowing the remainder of the final day of voting – will not be welcome news for the election committee, which had been given a vote of confidence from the Exec on Tuesday. Concerns had been raised by candidates of seemingly ignored representations, and rumours were circulating of an ‘open letter’ of complaint from candidates to the committee – a letter which was quietly shelved on Tuesday.
Speaking to Impact, Smith wholeheartedly thanked his supporters for all of their help during this campaign, and stated that he hoped that incidents such as this would not dissuade individuals from getting involved in the Students’ Union. “Elections committee seems to work on the basis of guilty until proven innocent”, he said, “they have made a lot of mistakes during this election period and I would say removing my candidacy is one of the biggest ones they have made.”
With the elections committee’s statement soon to follow, this final day is just getting started. Committee members have so far refused to comment on the story.
*This person’s name was changed to protect their identity.