Henry Kissinger observed that “university politics is vicious precisely because the stakes are so small”, and for those who watched last week’s YUSU Treasurer (and Labour Party member) James Alexander’s political attack on YUSU Societies Officer David Sammels unfold, it is difficult not to agree.
It is far less tricky, however, to see that the whole sorry mess has had little benefit for anyone. It is not for me to judge the motivation behind the motion of no-confidence, but for someone who called on these very pages earlier this term for a “truce to political hackery,” Alexander has done himself few favours. Sammels – innocent, or otherwise – has already accepted that some of the mud might stick.
The simple truth, however, is that for at least 90% of the student population, the above two paragraphs of this article would have made about as much sense as the Vice-Chancellor’s proposal to reclassify Goodricke C block as “standard” accommodation (yes, that’s right, sixteen people to one shower no longer constitutes “economy” status – nice one Brian!).
The societies on campus here in York are one of our greatest strengths, and the main source of involvement within the Students’ Union for most students. Are we not missing the point – Nouse may well report that the Societies Officer is under attack, but does anyone actually even care providing that their club, branch or appreciation society is allowed to run smoothly?
Political infighting and gamesmanship is rarely a topic that interests the student population at large. Through societies, events, and conjunction with the AU, YUSU offers a lot for students, but few seem to make the connection to the Student Centre; the task for Chris Jones is to bring these sides of the Union to the fore rather than the petty squabbling of Alexander and friends.
The author is Hon Vice President of the York Tories.