Hackwood: I was hate figure for campus right

Grace Fletcher-Hackwood claims she was driven out because she was a “personal hate figure” for the campus right

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Former YUSU Academic and Welfare Officer Grace Fletcher-Hackwood, who was forced to resign after hitting second-year student Dan Taylor, has claimed that she was driven out because she was a “personal hate figure” for the campus right wing. Fletcher-Hackwood lost a vote of no confidence proposed by Taylor, which generated an unprecedented turn-out of 1400 students, by just eight votes.

Speaking exclusively to Nouse in her first interview since losing the vote on February 7, Fletcher-Hackwood said: “I don’t think anybody’s fooled for a second into thinking that Dan Taylor believed I couldn’t do my job. He doesn’t care, because he doesn’t think YUSU should exist. But the things I’ve done during my time at York – my feminism, and standing as a Labour councillor – have made me a personal hate figure not just for him, but for a lot of the right wing on campus. The chance to get rid of me just wasn’t something they were going to pass up.”

Fletcher-Hackwood hit Taylor outside a Chav D event in January, during an argument over whether YUSU should use ethical merchandise. Taylor proposed a motion of no confidence the following week, which was discussed at a Union General Meeting on Januar 30, and voting was carried out subsequently online. Despite losing by only eight votes, Fletcher-Hackwood has decided not to appeal at an Emergency General Meeting, on the grounds that “It would be too messy”.

Though Fletcher-Hackwood has questioned Taylor’s motives for proposing the vote, she acknowledged that the result was ultimately decided by the student body. “I know there aren’t 656 people who hate me personally. It’s obvious that a lot of people voted because they genuinely thought that someone who hits a student isn’t a suitable welfare officer, and I can’t blame them for that. But I think a lot of that was due to manipulation by Dan. He was always going to use this for personal and political capital,” she said.

Taylor denies that his decision to propose the vote was motivated by personal dislike. He said: “I believe that the decision should be in the hands of students as to whether they wish to keep an Academic and W­elfare officer in her position after assaulting a student. That is what the incident boiled down to when one was sensible and removed the personalities involved. I hoped that Grace would have the self-respect after the incident to resign. Clearly she saw her position as a right and not a privilege, and her lack of integrity shone through.”

Having resigned her position, Fletcher-Hackwood plans to move to Manchester, where she will take a law conversion course. She said: “Dan Taylor doesn’t appreciate what he’s done. He didn’t care what happened to YUSU, and he probably finds it very funny that he’s taken away something so important to me. But to me, and to YUSU, this is not a game. It’s something really quite serious, and it has been very upsetting.”

YUSU President Anne-Marie Canning, who will take over the Academic and Welfare brief until the end of the year, said she accepted Fletcher-Hackwood’s decision not to appeal. 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. 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.”

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


  1. Great. Good to see she’s really risen above it and isn’t bitter….I wonder whether it was really her decision not to appeal. The fact hasn’t exactly let it go would seem to suggest otherwise…..

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  2. Surprised you didn’t include the ‘this is our chance to get her’ comment – that would seem to sum up the entire story…

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  3. She was made a hate figure, it’s a shame.

    She was a great officer and we’re left with nothing now.
    The people behind the campaign should be ashamed of themselves.

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  4. *yawn*
    This story really is old. It’s been blown completely out of proportion and her resigning/being fired, whatever you want to call it, isn’t going to affect that many students anyway.

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  5. Yep; old news now. Lets get on with it and mov on.

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  6. We have no Academic and Welfare officer… for some people it might be difficult to move on.

    I’m in need of some support at the moment and i’m in a position where I don’t have an Academic/Welfare officer to turn to anymore.

    She was a bloody brilliant officer and the treatment and hatred she received was disgusting. There was no need to blow it all up, no need at all.

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  7. With respect, I’m sure you will get by without relying on a centralised and unionised organisation for your support. Anne-Marie is the A&W Officer now so go and cry to her with your problems.

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  8. Ashley,

    Yes you do. You have your College Welfare rep, or Mel (the YUSU welfare co-ordinator), or any of the sabbatical officers, or Nightline, or indeed the University Counselling service. Fair enough there is no central point of contact (although arguably Mel would be that) but there are still a multitude of services on campus.

    Oh, and when you say “The people behind the campaign should be ashamed of themselves” do you mean all of the people who voted? Becuase obviously its them, not “the people behind the campaign” (whoever that is) who sacked grace.

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  9. Sorry, but this whole thing is just a damming inditement of university Politics. Miss Fletcher-Hackwood assumed a position with responsibility and then went onto assault a student.

    From her comment’s it seems she regard’s that as being unimportant and does not show any remorse but only in the face of a personal fall from Grace(unintended). Frankly this whole thing just demonstrates the arrogance of some of the SU figures and is the reason why most students are turned off by Campus Politics.

    If she did genuinely assault Dan Taylor, which I see she does not deny. Then instead of putting the whole of York SU though this highly disruptive process, then she should have offered her resignation and accepted that it’s unrealistic for her to continue. But her ego drove this whole thing and she decided she was more important that the rest of the SU, despite it being obvious she had committed Gross Misconduct.

    Ultimately if your going to step up and take on responsibility then you have to accept it, equally if your behaviour falls below the standard expected then you have to accept that and act accordingly.

    P.s, Dan Taylor should report her assault to the Police, it look’s like she wants to be a Lawyer, she is clearly unfit to hold any position of responsibility and a criminal record should stop her being admitted.

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