Hackwood decides against appeal

Former YUSU Academic and Welfare Officer Grace Fletcher Hackwood has announced she will not appeal after being forced to resign following a vote of no-confidence.

Speaking exclusively to Nouse, Hackwood said: “In discussion with the remaining sabbs I have decided not to take up my right to appeal with an EGM [Extraordinary General Meeting], as without one it will be easier for YUSU to draw a line under this incident and continue with elections and with the rest of the year’s business.”

The decision not to appeal brings Hackwood’s four year YUSU career to an end.

Hackwood denied that calling an EGM, a single general meeting in which votes are taken by a show of hands, would have undermined the outcome of the original Union General Meeting [UGM] which passed by eight votes.

She said: “I think that when a vote passes with a 0.5% majority it’s difficult to see that as a decisive ‘will’ of the students, but for the remaining sabbaticals perception is of course very important, and I can see how it would have been difficult to work with the perception that they were trying to maintain the mythical ‘YUSU clique’.”

YUSU President Anne-Marie Canning, who will take over the Academic and Welfare brief until the end of the year, said she accepted Hackwood’s decision. She said “We support Grace in her decision which no doubt was a difficult one to make. The sabbaticals are saddened to have lost a member of the team but we wish Grace luck in all her future endeavors.'”

Canning admitted that the EGM would have been difficult politically, as it would be unlikely to achieve as high a turnout as the UGM. She said: “It would probably have undermined people’s faith in the UGM and could have possibly disenfranchised various students. In terms of moving forward for the Union this is the best result.”

Hackwood’s office has already been emptied of her personal belongings and its resources made available to college welfare teams.


  1. The ‘will’ of over 400 students to not trust their Head of Welfare and Academic support is surely enough. It would not have mattered if the motion was even rejected – there is a significant number who can’t trust her anymore for whatever reason.

    As soon as even one person was unable to trust her, she should have resigned from her post.

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  2. Looking more generally and away from this specific instance…

    A motion of no-confidence is completely different beast to any other motion. It means someone potentially losing their job, and it is only right and fair that there is an appeal process. In the YUSU constitution that process comes in the shape of an EGM.

    If people are unhappy with an EGM being the appeal process, then they have every right to submit a constitutional amendment to change the constitution.

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  3. Alumnus,

    You are of course quite right, but I think it is important to note, that as an elected official, a sabbatical officer agrees to be bound by the possibility of a no confidence motion. If we’re comparing it to another job, then there would be chance of an appeal via a tribunal but only if the grounds are there.

    I simply cannot see what grounds there would be for appeal barring a procedural failure of the UGM/Voting Process, and that’s (in my opinion) why the EGM exists, not to allow a no confidence motion to be overturned on a whim.

    If you agree to a job that effectively says “if a specific motion is tabled, and you lose the vote, you will lose your job” then I can’t see how you can appeal, unless the motion wasn’t tabled correctly, or you didn’t lose the vote!

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  4. It occurs that I didn’t make my conclusion very clear:

    What I’m saying is that I don’t think the constitution is a problem, I think that those who, like Sam Bayley, said the EGM was an ‘appeal’ were misinterpreting the spirit of the constitution. It’s an appeal in the sense of a failure of process, not an appeal in the sense of a decision one doesn’t agree which.

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  5. To clarify – under employment law, sabbatical officers have the same rights to appeal as any member of staff would; so it would have to be seen as an appeals process, as well as being followed in the case of failure of process.

    You may be right in that it wouldn’t be how the constitution was originally intended, BUT it is the way the law suggests we would have to follow it now. (Officers have to follow the law first and constitution second).

    Hope that helps.

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