Vote of No Tronfidence: YUSU slammed as it blocks motion from students

Caption: Jack Western
Credit: Jack Western

A proposal put forward for a Vote of No Confidence last month would have seen students vote on Thomas Ron’s role as Academic Officer.

However, the motion was quashed by YUSU following concerns that any investigation into the YUSU Sabbatical Officer could breach employment law and result in a lawsuit.

York Vision is not allowed to comment in more detail on the nature of the employment law breached.

Ron acknowledged the motion, saying: “There was a vote of no confidence taken forward and I understand that the motion was not investigated by PRG.

“I also understand that these were personal allegations and had nothing to do with my role as an officer, or my record, which I am very proud of.”

The proposals come just before the YUSU elections in which Ron is re-running as academic officer.

The proposal for a Vote of No Confidence was  presented to the Policy Review Group – a panel of students responsible for democratic oversight of YUSU with the power to approve such a motion.

The motion was later dropped, despite the Policy Review Group wanting to investigate the allegations.

Callum Furness, Head of the Policy & Review Group, hit out at YUSU’s decision, saying: “Although I find extremely frustrating that the PRG’s hands were tied in this matter, we have to accept the extraordinary circumstances at hand here.

“However it a major potential concern that YUSU might in the future continuously find ways to bypass the only body that has any power to hold our elected members of office to account.

“This would be extremely harmful for our campus democracy.”

YUSU President Ben Leatham said: “All motions of no confidence submitted against elected officers are taken incredibly seriously by the Union.

“In this case, due to concern about the potential for breaching employment law, the allegations are being considered by the Union, as opposed to the PRG.

“The PRG understand the context behind this and the extraordinary nature of the case.

“The issues raised are still being considered seriously and appropriate action will be taken as necessary once the issue has been fully examined.”

The motion comes after messages exposed by York Vision, where Thomas Ron appeared to try to put off another student from running for YUSU President.

The messages were not included in the evidence for the Motion of No Confidence.

Luke, who submitted the Vote of No Confidence, said: “Following Vision’s initial reporting on the allegations against Thomas Ron, further students came forward to document other incidents.

“This led to the process of submitting a Motion of No Confidence (MoNC)  to the Policy Review Group (PRG) on January 13.

“Evidence was collected over the following week in support of this MoNC, and was submitted to the PRG on January 20.”