Last night I was informed that I’d been removed as Guild Trustee.I’m not going to go into the rights and wrongs of that decision now as that has already been done, my defence case can be found here. Mark’s note doesn’t add any new points to trump my defence, which isn’t really referred to. This note is about the highly inaccurate statement posted on President’s Facebook page within ten minutes of me being informed of my removal.
To all the students arguing in support or against me, thanks or at least thanks for engaging with the debate rather than ignoring it. I think we all need to look at the bigger picture. At the end of the day, this is not just about me; I am at the end of my term with few trustee board meetings left. We should talk about the democratic precedent this sets in the Guild and of course the wider student movement. It is my belief that all these decisions should have been made by Guild Council. They are all judgement calls, some may back me, some may not, but the call should have been made on a balance of opinion, democratically by Guild Council. The question is who are we accountable to as trustees, the rest of the board? or the Guild’s members? I think The Nolan principles, which are guidelines for charitable trustees, clearly state that trustees are meant to be accountable to the membership, not each other.
This is not the start of a massive campaign to get me back on the board compared to all the shit that has been done to me this year, this is minor. I may not be able to be voice on the board for fair pay but others like me will soon take my place. At the same time I’m not just going to take it If I can’t moderate some of the views that I consider unacceptable on the board from the inside then I am going do it from without.
However lets tackle the new bits of misinformation put out tonight (make sure you read my original defence case here through).
– In Mark’s statement he says I “missed the meeting and did not send apologies.”
I was not at the meeting because I was in Sheffield for the start of NUS Conference and that was known long before the extraordinary meeting was called on that date.
Mark says I have uncooperative, this is untrue the guild have been uncooperative.
Upon the initiation of the investigation my lawyers, who kindly volunteered to take on the case free requested the Guild send all correspondence on the subject by them so I could have a proper defence. However the Guild refused me the use of any legal representative, as they did when they refused my trade union representative into my previous disciplinary hearing last November. Despite being denied a fair trial with fair representation, I produced a several thousand word defence within days, during my holiday time, which I posted online, and which the trustees received and further acknowledged receipt of.
I am however accused of missing the meeting arranged to defend myself. The date set the 23rd was date that was clearly known to be totally impossible for me to make as I would be at NUS conference in Sheffield preparing for a busy week. It was very hard for me to decide to prioritise attending the NUS conference over defending myself as a trustee however my hands were essentially tied. Further, although I did not send formal apologies, I did clearly inform all of those (including multiple student trustees) at Sabbatical Officer Group at our meeting on Monday 16th that I would be away in Sheffield for the entire day.
– Later in Mark’s statement he alleges this: “For example, EB had given credibility to allegations on a Guild open forum that one of the Sabbatical Officers had an Israeli flag in their office which had huge consequences in terms of neutrality on Israel/Palestine and working with the corresponding student groups, which is crucial to the role of that Officer.”
This is the first thing I’ve ever heard of this allegation and it was not in any Guild documents sent to me. Surely it’s basic procedure that someone be informed of the allegations against them so they may defend themselves before being found guilty? I assume Mark is referring to this thread which you can read for yourself to decide if I ‘gave credibility’ to the allegations other than not responding to them.
– According to Mark “I published a blog (‘democratic culture in the guild?’) calling into question the integrity of three sabbatical trustees by suggesting they were attempting to force through an Officer Disciplinary Policy (ODP).”
This is not true. I made no mention of the “three sabbatical trustees” in that blog post (which you can read here) I only mentioned trustees without specifying who they were, which I didn’t think was necessary and could have gotten someone the blame for something that wasn’t their fault.
Furthermore all I did in posting this was express my disapproval since it was already then public knowledge as Ben Aylott (Chair of the Postgraduate and Mature Students Association) had already written a note about it). Before Mark accuses me of spreading ‘false information’ he ought to be taking this up with Ben who’d also seen the documents in question and made the initial allegation. Is he lying too?
May 1st 17:32 Mark Harrop has comunicated the statement put out is not “just his” but by of all the student trustees.