YUSU Environment Officers Resign

The resignation comes just hours before the Member's Meeting regarding the YUSU and GSA merger, with the officers resigning in a dispute over Plant Based Catering

(Image: York Vision)

The University of York Student Union’s Environment and Ethics Officers have today announced their resignations in a joint statement posted to Instagram.  

The part-time officers, Claire Sheldon and Woody Kadis-Ross, have resigned over concerns that the YUSU is being ‘entirely hostile to bringing forward progressive change on campus’ on the environment. The statement, addressed to the Sabbatical Officers, discloses that they believe the fault does not lie in the individuals themselves but in ‘the institution and structure of YUSU’ which they claim rendered them unable to ‘fulfil the mandate’ they were elected on. 

The pair then elaborated, claiming specific issues with YUSU including; “Its closeness to the university, legal ties to commercial output, and an ingrained culture of maintaining the status quo and resisting change…. Far from being a champion of student democracy, performs an anti-democratic function.”

Their letter focuses on the Plant Based Universities motion as a primary example of YUSU’s unwillingness to change. Plant Based Universities was an initiative to switch to 100% plant-based catering in union-led catering. The former officers claim that due to a ‘small number of officers’ this initiative was unable to go through, despite student support. 

The statement concluded in an apology from Sheldon and Kadis-Ross for resigning at a time needing ‘cooperation and collective strength to fight’ against different crises. They claim that they have ‘lost all faith in YUSU to be the forum where this can take place.’ 

This resignation comes hours before a union Member’s meeting is set to commence in SLB/118, where students are encouraged to gather to vote on the passing of Articles of Association regarding the merger of YUSU and the GSA. 

YUSU President Pierrick Roger responded exclusively to Vision for a request to comment earlier today: 

“I am very disappointed and sad to see the E&E Officers go. Unfortunately, it has become impossible to conciliate their single-issue vision with the rest of the Officer Group. Decisions made by Officer Group are not anti-democratic: all Policy decisions require buy-in from a majority of elected Officers – this is how democracy works.

“Repeated delays provoked by the E&E Officers have meant that the Policy Proposal has been in circulation at Officer Group for months on end. The E&E Officers have been consistently unwilling to hear anyone else’s voice apart from their own. Officer Group is not and has never been opposed to a transition: our venues already operate a 75% plant-based menu as was supported by the previous Officer Group and there are already plans to further that more with our new Food Strategy.

“I am very sad to see the former Officers believe they have been treated unfairly.”

YUSU President Pierrick Roger

“The E&E Officers have not been able to budge from an immediate 100% transition which we are unable to proceed with because it will financially bankrupt our Union venues and discriminate against disabled students with eating disorders, such as ARFID, or allergen requirements.

“With the E&E Officers’ resignation, I have finally been able to put a proposal forward which will see us move to an immediate 80% plant-based, followed by 90% in the next three years, which Officer Group have approved:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ajavcEUqAI6InA59dw9E0uRollQQtKJrMq68To_CJJA/edit.

“As to criticism about the new Union rep structure, these claims are untrue: the Union Development Officer’s portfolio is entirely concentrated on Commercial Services and their sustainability, and the new rep structure has been installed for us to remunerate our dedicated Part-Time Officer team who currently volunteer without pay due to Government legislation around Officer pay. I am very sad to see the former Officers believe they have been treated unfairly.”

The full statement accompanying the resignation of the Environment Officers is available to read on Instagram @yusuenvironment.