Candidates for YUSU by-elections stand at hustings

The by-elections for the roles of York University Media (YUM) Chair and Racial Equality Officer got underway yesterday with the pre-campaign hustings

The YUSU by-elections got under way yesterday with the pre-campaign hustings.

Candidates for the roles of York University Media (YUM) Chair and Racial Equality Officer addressed those present at the YUSU Council meeting on Wednesday.

Anna Bucks, Mike Regan and Richard Mitchell filled the candidate list for the re-created YUM Chair, while Deniz Ekren and Abrafi Kusi, Sam Westrop and Michelle Osei-Owusu ran for the position of Racial Equality Officer.

Bucks opened by describing her experience with campus media groups including positions on YSTV, URY and Nouse. She is the NUS Awards finalist for Student Broadcaster of the Year and has worked at Sky News for the past three years.

 
Anna Bucks

Richard Mitchell, a director of The Yorker, has been a student at the University since 2004 and was a committee member of Film Making Soc.

 
Richard Mitchell

Both candidates described what they would do if elected. Bucks intends to improve the YUM awards, increase cooperation between various student media societies and pledged to improve grants and funding. Mitchell and Bucks both agree that the media charter needs to be reviewed.

Regan, who was not present at the hustings due to family reasons, has been sent a cautionary email from Returning Officer Matt Burton about the creation of a Facebook campaign group almost three days before campaigning was allowed to begin. Burton stated: “I’m considering whether sanctions should be given and have formally asked him to pull the Facebook page. Mistakes do happen.”

In the by-election for Racial Equality Officer which saw Deniz Ekren and Abrafi Kusi, Sam Westrop and Michelle Osei-Owusu all running for the position. Ekren and Kusi are running together with extensive experience dealing with minority issues. Westrop believes his grandparents’ role in fighting Apartheid in South Africa has given him the necessary motivation for running. Osei-Owusu stated that her own experience of racism around York has led to her desire to assist others facing similar problems.

Ekren and Kusi wish to address the underlying issues of the lack of support available for students from the University. Westrop believes that all discrimination, both positive and negative must be stopped to prevent feelings of resentment and cultivate a bottom-up approach to ending racism. Osei-Owusu cited a poll demonstrating that students were concerned with racism from outside the University and wants to create a online forum to provide support and advice for those who feel they were victims of discrimination.

 
Deniz Ekren and Abrafi Kusi
 
Michelle Osei-Owusu
 
Sam Westrop

Questions were asked about how the candidates believed the University should react to the BNP and other fascist parties on campus and how they would go about increasing participation in minority and international events. Osei-Owusu believed that hands on involvement is the most important part of being an officer while Westrop warned that banning fascist political parties such as the BNP could lead them to obtaining martyrdom status among students. Ekren and Kusi don’t believe that the BNP should be banned and think that targets are too general to address the specific problems that minority students face.

Voting opens Monday week 5.

16 comments

  1. No-one stood at hustings for the positions of Student Trustee, if you want something great for your CV (ultimate responsibility for a charity with more than a million pound turnover) and to get involved in student politics or charities, please pick up a nomination form from the YUSU office and submit it before noon on Friday.

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  2. Seriously, the student trustee role is great (assuming you can tolerate meetings! :P) – you are, in the end, making sure that the Sabbs do their jobs properly on a number of (ultimately, the most important) issues and I don’t think that anything you do in your time here, bar your degree, would count as much to your CV as “trustee of the Student Union” would!

    I would do it again if I wasn’t banned constitutionally :P

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  3. I didn’t realise that YUSU put in a constitutional amendment to ban Jason Rose for standing for a position.

    Best thing YUSU has done all year if you ask me.

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  4. Not being an arse but can you change it so my name is spelt right please (No e in it). And as for the facebook group the original election literature said campaigning could start on Wednesday, that was why the mistake was made. The group was taken down as soon as Matt contacted me.

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  5. Oops, I meant no A. So Regan.

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  6. I’m not entirely sure that I meant just me :P

    Anybody with a YUSU committee position is unable to hold a trustee role (excluding the Sabbs who are trustees)

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  7. “Ekren and Kusi don’t believe that the BNP should be banned ”

    I am sure that no candidate will be knowingly defying active policy, so personal beliefs are somewhat irrelevant on that matter, but that was not really my question anyway.

    “Questions were asked about how the candidates believed the University should react to the BNP and other fascist parties on campus”

    They were in fact asked ‘do you believe that YUSU should be raising awareness of antiracist and antifascist activities to the extent of its legal powers’. One candidate answered positively, while the others effectively said that the union shouldn’t be political.

    Finally, let me clarify that international week and international events are in fact the responsibility of the ISA, not of the racial equality officer(s). There was clearly some confusion there.

    That said, help is of course always welcome and most appreciated, and we’d obviously love to cooperate with the new racial equality officer(s).

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  8. ““Ekren and Kusi don’t believe that the BNP should be banned ”

    I am sure that no candidate will be knowingly defying active policy, so personal beliefs are somewhat irrelevant on that matter, but that was not really my question anyway.”

    Once again….which bit of active policy would that be? The NUS has a no platform policy, YUSU definitely does not. I assume you’re referring to this (http://www.yusu.org/union/motion/159/) which resolves ONLY to condemn the POLICIES of the BNP. (Capitals for clarity…). It absolutely stops short of ‘banning the BNP’ (whatever that might mean).

    If you want to ‘ban the BNP’ (I assume you mean from campus), then absolutely go and submit a motion about it, and lets have a proper debate, but stop pretending that that motion does anything other than condemn the policies of the BNP.

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  9. Personally I do not want to ban it from anywhere – as I said it wasn’t even my question.

    But now that you mentioned it, I would imagine that an equivalent of the NUS no-platform policy applies to YUSU as well, don’t you think?

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I think that organisations that have been recognised as extremist and racist are not allowed on campus anyway – to take it to the extreme, would you expect YUSU to allow a Hizb ut-Tahrir student society?

    If I am not mistaken, which I could be, then this is exactly what this particular UGM did – recognise the BNP as a dangerous, extremist and racist organisation.

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  10. I think that there’s a policy to refuse speakers who could be of welfare concern, and this could be seen to stretch to the BNP? Check with YUSU though.

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  11. Apologies for the delay – the Racial Equality Officer hustings videos are now online!

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  12. I’m sure Sam Westrop cares about the issues of racial equality, but I’m hard-pressed to find much respect for someone who tries to use the achievements of relations in his or her own election – the experience of the candidates is the important issue, not that of his grandparents. The family of a candidate is irrelevant to an election, and trying to sway an election in that manner is decidedly unethical. It is also disrespectful, in Westrop’s case, to his family, to take their own actions in the fight against Apartheid, and enlist them in the cause of winning a student election.

    But then, I disagree in general with the notion that an individual can be elected on the basis of family background – any theory that would place Carol and Mark Thatcher on the Conservative front benches must be of questionable validity.

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  13. You forgot Riku and Harin who are also running for Racial Equalities Officers.
    x

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  14. They weren’t at hustings, this article was written before the official list was published, so at the time the only thing we had to go on was those who declared they were running at hustings.

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