A motion of censure, a political form of reprimand, has been brought against Tim Ngwena and Ben Humphrys, YUSU President and Welfare Officer respectively, for their “lack of commitment” to YUSU’s ongoing portering campaign.
The motion, proposed by Miles Layram, states that, “Tim Ngwena and Ben Humphrys gave the management YUSU approval over the portering cutbacks, despite being under an extremely strong and explicit UGM mandate to do the precise opposite” and that they “deceived students”.
Layram also accuses Ngwena and Humphrys of only organising campaigns against the portering cuts after outside pressure from YUSU, and that they made a “breathtakingly careless and counter-productive job of the Autumn welfare dossier,” that was purposefully vague, and unlikely to persuade the University to find the funds to reinstate 24 hour portering.
This comes after a new proposal to find funding to extend the recently cut portering hours was submitted by Layram. It stated that the costs for portering could be brought down, and that these costs could be covered through the surplus to budget profits made by The Courtyard along with a small increase in rent banding costs.
Layram suggested in the proposal that an increase of 9.5p in rent banding would enable portering hours in Derwent and Vanbrugh to be extended, ending at midnight rather than the current time of 6.00pm.
The censure motion also raised the issue of the overall rent banding increases that are to be implemented from next year, arguing that: “Tim Ngwena and Ben Humphrys have failed to campaign against the year-on-year five per cent (£4.50/week) rent increase – which by the end of the next three years will mean all students paying about £550 more per year.”
In the motion of censure, Layram argues that both of these issues, and the failure of Ngwena and Humphrys to produce any tangible results in the subsequent campaigns, is evidence of their lack of commitment in defending the views of the student body. He stated that “a signal needs to be sent out to all of the current and future sabbaticals that YUSU must campaign effectively, and must become something other than an irrelevant, self-regarding outpost of Heslington Hall.”
Ngwena, on his own part, answered these accusations, stating: “I object to the claims made against me, I have dedicated my time and commitment to this campaign from leading the protest all the way through to continued negotiations with the University, as recent as last week, at the University Student Services Committee. As President, I also have a mandate to look out for the interest of all students and so my time has to be spread across all campaigns, to ensure the union focuses on a range of issues.”