Scandalous messages sent by the YUSU Academic Officer have been leaked to York Vision.
The messages were sent to a third year student, who wishes to remain anonymous, and appear to urge them not to run for YUSU President in this term’s upcoming elections.
Luke Elliott, a third year Physics student, blasted the elected officer’s conduct: “Tron has clearly crossed a line with this behaviour.
Thomas Ron, commonly referred to as ‘Tron’, has held the role of Academic Officer since the start of the academic year.
One of the private messages, sent on November 17, 2015 from his official YUSU Facebook account, shows how he tried to put off the potential candidate, saying: “because I have heard of a candidate who will VERY easily win.”
York Vision understands that the candidate mentioned, but not identified, is Ron’s fellow YUSU Sabb, Scott Dawson, who is rumoured to be running for the position of President.
A later message shows Ron encouraging the student to “go for Welfare and Community”, the YUSU Sabbatical position held by Scott Dawson this year.
Ron defended his actions, releasing a statement saying: “None of my actions were designed to cause harm or offense. As soon as I became aware I had cause upset, I offered immediate apology.”
However, the reciepient of the messages said: “It felt like he thought he was doing me a service but essentially telling me I’m not good or popular enough to win the election isn’t a service or advice.”
Ron also said: “It’s in the interests of students for YUSU elections to be accessible and open to all, they are and that’s what I want to continue, I believed this to be a private conversation with a friend where we discussed our own politics, this conversation does not influence the process or the outcome of the elections and was never designed for print in the run up to the elections.
One outraged student, Max Palfreman, hit back at the Sabb’s comments and said: “Ron’s actions have made a farce of YUSU democracy.
“Student politics is not supposed to mirror the cronyism of the politics we are used to seeing on television.”
YUSU regulations from last year’s elections clearly state that candidates must not use Union resources, including official YUSU accounts, to campaign York Vision understands Ron is considering re-running for his current £18k a year role.
YUSU President Ben Leatham said: “YUSU is committed to open and fair elections, we consistently have one of the highest election turnouts of all students’ unions in the UK.
“With nominations having opened last week, we’ve already had a lot of interest and inquiries from students considering candidacy.
“I’m confident we’re going to have an exciting, engaging campaigning period that will inspire the student body and ensure a great new team who are, most importantly, selected by their fellow students.”
Nominations are now open for the next elections.
Luke Elliott called on YUSU to act saying: “This reflects badly on our entire student community. If YUSU are truly committed to representing all of our students then they must deal with this quickly and decisively.”