Pirate candidate Mad Cap’n Tom Scott has won the YUSU Presidency after securing 40.3% of an unprecedented 2,986 votes. His unexpected victory has provoked an immediate backlash on campus.
Scott, who dressed and spoke like a pirate for his entire campaign, has stated that he will take on the position, despite his lack of original intent to win. “I was trying to get a quick laugh. It was never about anything. It were never about anything but comedy. I thought it be fun to try, I thought I be putting up some funny posters and getting a few laughs,” he said.
The President-elect has also confirmed that he will continue with his pirate persona throughout his one-year term. “Whenever I be on official duties matey, I be a pirate – that’s what I’ve been mandated to do,” he said.
Current YUSU President Anne-Marie Canning has endorsed Scott, saying: “I think Tom’s going to do a great job, I’m not going to lie. I think he’s got his head switched on, he’s intelligent, he’s perceptive, he knows what he’s doing… I think he’s going to be a great President.”
However Canning insisted that Scott would need to drop his pirate persona as President, saying: “He’s not going to be a pirate. He’s going to have to accept that he can’t be a pirate for the rest of the year. It’s not going to happen.”
Environment and Ethics Officer Tom Langley, commenting on the Nouse coverage of Scott’s election, said: “That this was the choice of the student body tells us a lot about what many students are like: shallow, ignorant, selfish and short-sighted. I can only hope that this serves as a wake up call, and that intelligent young people realise what they’ve become.”
“I don’t think I have ever been so ashamed to be a student as I am at this time,” he added.
Laura Payne, who was defeated by Scott after the second-preference round of voting for the Presidency, echoed Langley’s view of the student body. “I don’t think this reflects well on the electorate, if I’m honest,” she said.
Scott has also been criticised for writing “this is, in the end, just student politics. It’s not important, despite what you can start believing if you stay near it too long,” in a statement released in response to the backlash.
Canning said she believed that Scott will need to change this view if he is to be the primary representative of the student union. “In saying that, he is disregarding all the hard work that we have put in this year. Student politics is definitely important,” she said in response.
Two Facebook groups condemning Scott’s victory have also been created to lobby support for his resignation.
The group ‘Petition for Mad Cap’n Tom Scott to Resign as YUSU President’ states in its group description section: “This group calls on Mad Cap’n Tom Scott to resign as YUSU President, to recognise his idea of a ‘joke’ will cost every student dear and to hold a by-election between Laura Payne and Nadeem Kunwar to instate a President committed to working for the best for the students of the University of York.”