YUSU issues statement “Correcting the Record”

YUSU President Pierrick Roger has issued a statement on behalf of the Officer Group addressing certain claims made since the resignation of Environment and Ethics Officers Claire Sheldon and Woody Kadis-Ros

(Image: YUSU)

In a statement shared online on Tuesday afternoon, the University of York Students’ Union has addressed various claims made by the former Environment and Ethics Officers Claire Sheldon and Woody Kadis-Ross, since their resignation last Thursday. 

Describing a range of “misrepresentations that have been made at AGM, through flyering and on social media”, Union President Pierrick Roger sets out rectifications on behalf of the Officer Group. 

Addressing the claim that the new Students’ Union is increasing the number of Sabbatical Officer roles at the expense of Part-Time Officer roles, the union responded:  

“This is untrue. Part-Time Officer roles are not going anywhere. We will be doubling the number of representative seats available in the next round of non-Sabbatical Officer elections to include more groups than ever, not less. The full list will be expanding from the current 10 seats to 21 seats next year. The former Environment and Ethics Officers were present when this was approved.”

Addressing the suggestion that YUSU is “scrapping a dedicated environment and sustainability role in the new Officers line up,”and that sustainability would only be  “an afterthought in the new [Union] Development Officer” role, the Union responded: 

“The part-time environment role will be staying in the new structure. The former Environment and Ethics Officers helped to shape this role, and their suggested name for the role is the one that is being used going forward: the “Environmental and Social Responsibility Student Representative”. There were initial conversations about whether sustainability roles could be upgraded to a Sabbatical role without an additional part-time role – however, these conversations were not pursued following feedback from the Officer Group that sustainability should be expanded, therefore it will be within the mandate of both the Union Development Officer and a Part-Time Representative simultaneously.”

“Sustainability issues are at the core of both the Union Affairs and Union Development roles. It is not and has never been an afterthought in our design choices.”

“The system for Policy approval is not changing… We always listen to our assembly as a whole and what they tell us. [The] Officer Group votes and we listen to what the majority says – this is how our democracy works.”

– Union President Pierrick Roger

Roger goes on to confirm that the Union Affairs Officer (currently the president) will be in charge of ensuring sustainability in political affairs, while the Union Development Officer will be responsible for the internal and commercial sustainability of the union as a whole.   

Addressing the claim that new Representatives (currently Part-Time Officers) will have no obligatory voice when existing instead with “their views only be relayed by the new Equality & Inclusion Officer, who cannot have the specific understanding of the lived experience of every one of those groups,” the union shared: 

“This is untrue. The system is only changing cosmetically in that ‘Part-Time Officers’ will become ‘Union Representatives’ – this is being done because current legislation does not allow us to pay and remunerate Officers for more than two years. By changing it to Representatives, we are now able to start exploring how they can be remunerated appropriately without compromising their chances of later becoming Sabbatical Officers.”

“The system for Policy approval is not changing… We always listen to our assembly as a whole and what they tell us. [The] Officer Group votes and we listen to what the majority says – this is how our democracy works.”

One final claim from a flyer distributed by the student group states: “The proposed changes make sense when you understand that due to its closeness to the University and corporate management, YUSU is institutionally designed to prevent progressive change and uphold the status quo.” 

YUSU responded to this by highlighting their proud independence and charity position. 

“We are a charity dedicated to fulfilling the needs of our student body and we do not hesitate to take action where students are treated unfairly, whether that is through our representation within the University committee system or through direct campaigning.”

And addressing the reason for the Environmental Officer’s resignation, related to the blocking of the Plant-Based Universities (PBU) motion, which Claire and Woody claim received a  “record-breaking number of votes in YUSUggestions,” a decision which “[undermines] the democratic system they claim to run by,” the union answered: 

“This is untrue. The Officer Group did not block the PBU YUSUggestion; the Officer Group rejected the former Environment and Ethics Officers’ Policy Proposal on grounds it was not financially viable and unfairly discriminated against certain protected characteristic groups.” 

“The PBU YUSUggestion was in circulation at Officer Group for months because the Environment and Ethics Officers refused to consider anything which accommodated the needs of students with additional requirements or the financial implications of their proposal.”

The statement concludes with an update on the Plant-Based Catering Policy, which was based by the Officer Group at 12:20pm, three hours after the Environment and Ethics Officers resignation last Thursday. Roger claims that this resignation led to a vacancy that allowed him to “put forth an alternative Motion under [the President’s] right to present any Policy Proposal where it does not fit within an Officer’s remit.” 
With the passing of the new Plant-Based Catering Policy (motion 007), YUSU venues will immediately transition to 80% plant-based catering, from the current 75%, and will transition to between 90 and 100% plant-based when financially viable, “guaranteeing our venues remain open and accessible to all.”

The statement is avaliable to read on full at YUSU’s website: https://yusu.org/news/article/correcting-the-record, alongside a detailed log of recent policies, including motion 007 as mentioned above: athttps://docs.google.com/document/d/1ajavcEUqAI6InA59dw9E0uRollQQtKJrMq68To_CJJA/edit

One thought on “YUSU issues statement “Correcting the Record”

  1. His reference to the AGM is quite insulting. Although I am now on the side of the new YASS group when I asked a question about the removal of the Environment roles I received an incredibly vague and passive aggressive response. He then harassed me on social media repeatedly which I felt was unnecessary and unprofessional. Are students not allowed to ask awkward questions? Are we supposed to shut up when we are curious about decisions made by the President?

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