With paper-voting students finding his name conspicuously crossed out, it has been announced today that controversial Presidential candidate James Phillips has been officially removed from the election proceedings.
The removal follows Impact’s report on a leaked pledge by Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer Daniel Downes to “consider his position” if an expulsion was not forthcoming. Amongst a series of facetious policy suggestions, Phillips had described all non-drinkers as “losers” during Friday’s high profile Presidential debate, a statement which led to consternation from the audience – particularly those with health issues or religious objections – and was condemned by Downes as “completely vile and definitely racist”.
It has been argued that a combination of misdemeanours, such as not submitting a manifesto or attending meetings, was what eventually finished Phillips off. While the decision was made by the elections committee on Saturday, their policy was to consult with the candidate before making an official announcement. Speaking to Impact, Democracy and Communications Officer Dave Hind stated that “Because he broke rules, and didn’t turn up to meetings, I think it’s totally fair and the best direction to take.”
The Elections Committee will no doubt be relieved to have come to some success in resolving an issue which was sure to overshadow the remainder of campaign. Some may question, however, the influence which Friday’s ‘Presidential Debacle’ had on the decision-making process, and whether it was an accumulation of misdemeanours or the potential for a high ranking resignation which has led to this turn of events. Talking on university radio today, Downes expressed his pleasure at the decision, pointing out that “many, many people were very offended by what [Phillips] said, and rightly so”.
The opening of voting this morning prompted numerous other issues, with some candidates names misspelled and one originally not included on the ballot paper at all. Supporters of potential Women’s Officer Rosie Tressler found her name written on the ballot in pen, after it was discovered that only the name of her opponent, Emily Stanley, was on the paper. Dave Hind gave assurances that he had been given “100% confirmation that no votes had been cast without her name on the ballot”, and new copies were eventually printed and distributed with both candidates’ names included.
Tressler said “Obviously I was upset at the time, but I wouldn’t jump to criticise. The elections committee have got a lot to be dealing with at the moment.”