An open letter to the Guild from Huw Diprose

Hey all,
For those who haven’t heard the election was declared null and void! Which is is a win for me; Thursday night before the result, I sent an open letter to the guild sabbs about my discontent with the entire thing (for which I’m still waiting for a reply), which should be up on the Courier soon.
The short version is as follows:

What an utter Farce.

Firstly the totally lack of advertising, enthusiasm or concern to push elections at a time of apathy. The response from guild staff states:

“although the turnout was 240 yesterday this is an increase of 480% on last year’s Autumn Elections. Outside of March elections turnout is by-elections and Conference elections are historically low. As this is the first time we have elected student trustees we have no comparison available to us.”

Personally, that 480% is more a comment on the travesty of previous years than a call for celebration. In the postgrad vote there were only 190 who turned out, so to play the percentage game: there are 2500 postgrads, I make that a fairly terrible 7%. If it was worse in years previous, more shame on the guild. Yet again it reflects for me the lack of care to engage postgrads who, being already marginalised by the guild, don’t check its usual channels. They should have gone to them.

Second, though big thanks to all of you who voted for me, I remain suspicious that most should have been ineligible. If the appearance of democracy is to be maintained at the guild, it is probably a good idea to make sure those elected to represent were actually done so by the correct constituency. In the vote yesterday undergrads could vote for postgrads, postgrads for undergrads and most damningly of all sabbs could also vote despite being trustees themselves (thus interested members) and not even students. I also received a couple of complaints from PhD students that they were rejected by the system.

Finally, organisers of the election themselves failed to keep to democratic standards by allowing for a protest vote to add Re-Open-Nominations (RON) to the ballot which, with turnout this low and only two candidates standing for postgrad, should be vital. It’s a call for everyone to do better and evidence of an appetite for politics. This was denied initially, and then worse the guild attempted to slip it in as an option half way through after a few complaints.

That’s why I rejected the result on Thursday night.

Thanks to repeated complaints and the intervention of NUS Wales the elections will be re-held next week on Tuesday.

Vote again next Tuesday and we’ll see if we can’t get a legit election after all.