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BREAKING NEWS: Open Letter Published by SU Candidates Against Actions of Union Council

11 former SU Candidates have published an open letter condemning the Union Council’s dismissal of their motion to address several issues during the Election period. 

They are calling for the Election Reform Motion to be added to the agenda and given priority for discussion in the Council convening on 10th May.

“We would like the opportunity to present our case to representatives of the student body and justify the need for an election reform”

The letter outlines their grievances specially objecting to the actions of the facilitator of the Union Council for blocking the motion’s progression to the Council.

They contest the case that the motion is inappropriate for the Union Council, arguing that as it is the ultimate decision making body within the SU and therefore it is to them that the case for widespread electoral reform must be made.

“Not only were grievances dealt with poorly during the campaign process, concerns raised following the election period are similarly overlooked”

The issue, according to the letter, must be dealt with this academic year as it is an important for those candidates that are graduating and therefore the democratic procedures committee is not the most effective body to deal with the problem.

During the election period complaints were made against several candidates including the incoming SU president Ismail Sadurdeen.

The letter was signed by: Scott Jennings (Community Candidate), Rachel Hoskins (Equal Opps and Welfare Candidate), Paige Roden (Equal Opps and Welfare Candidate), Emma Connor (Presidential Candidate), Jessica Salisbury (Presidential Candidate), Dipen Patel (President Candidate), Thomas Burke (Activities Candidate), Emily Mills (Activities Candidate), Yolanda King (Sports Officer Candidate), Ian Opara (Community Candidate), and Dina Elkordy (Community Candidate).

The open letter can be read in full here.

Sam Peake, Community Officer and Chair of the SU Democratic Procedures Committee, issued a reply to the open letter.

Addressing the assigned he stated:

“I am disappointed to read this open letter published today. The reality is that the facilitator had the power to make this decision, took admirable care in doing so, and arrived at a conclusion which was both brave and procedurally correct.

Your motion has not been rejected. It has been referred to another committee.

“Lying behind your motion are many principles worthy of discussion”

To ensure Council has an effective decision making process, past Nottingham students have decided to split the functions of policy creation, procedure making, and Officer scrutiny into three separate but inter-connected forums.

Lying behind your motion are many principles worthy of discussion – the use of modern technology in campaigns for example. Those principles would be the sort of thing Council could debate.

Unfortunately the specific motion in question is not expressed in terms of principles. But rather detailed rules for the Union to enact. As such, the motion merits special focus.

“On the question of whether the facilitator had the power to refer your motion to another committee- she undoubtedly did”

I welcome your acknowledgment that there are legitimate issues with the wording of the motion. Sadly, at only a few hours’ notice, there is not time to accept alterations.

It is a shame that none of you chose to speak to any SU Officer or member of SU staff about your motion prior to submitting it. Had you done so, we could have helped you structure your motion in a way presentable at Council.

On the question of whether the facilitator had the power to refer your motion to another committee- she undoubtedly did. The Union Council Guidance Document clearly states “Ideas which are longer than 400 words shall be accepted at the discretion of the Chair.”

The Chair took great care deliberating whether to accept this motion. My judgement, for what it’s worth, is that she made the right call. And we should all get behind students who have the passion to be involved in Union democracy.”

The letter can be read in full here.

Hannah Eves

Image: Milosz Beres via Flickr

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