Union council has voted to reassess the role of York University Media (YUM) Chair in Union Council in the next constitutional review. If this passes, YUM Chair will be removed from its seat on Council.
The motion, proposed by YUSU President, Tim Ngwena, was passed on Wednesday by 16 votes to four with one abstention.
Since being announced, the proposal has been met with criticism from students and graduates alike on the website ‘Twitter’. Scott Bryan, ex-Station Director of URY, tweeted: “People have committed so much time and faith into media, they don’t want their rep swept under a rug.”
When asked about his feelings on the matter, YUM Chair, Chris Young, stated: “This sets a dangerous precedent for the political freedoms that York media traditionally has.
“Although the media charter is in place, if there were to be a political debate as to the political stance that YUSU has to the media societies, there then wouldn’t be someone to represent this unique sector of York societies.”
Ngwena said: “The proposal I put forward to council outlined the operational role of YUM and YUM Chair as defined in the constitution. The Articles also outline that the YUM chair as not an officer as suggested in the articles.
“The motion Union Council passed seeked to address the conflict of interest between the existence and representation of a group that clearly publishes material as a press and media basis and the political integrity that it is needed when holding officers and members of council to account.
“It also seeked to move YUM as sub-committee of the reach of Council. As it stands, Union Council can pass policy and impose it on YUM, a clear threat to their freedom of speech.”
In response to Ngwena, Young continued: “The informal institution of the media has been proven to be more effective, through website hits, and comments from the student body, than the formal ones such as UGMs, which often don’t even reach quoracy.”
Regarding the YUSU proposal to have the media societies represented purely by the Student Activities Officer, Young stated: “One of the main roles of the media as an informal institution is to hold YUSU Officers to account as to their actions and decisions.
“There is therefore a direct conflict of interests when it comes to the Student Activities Officer having a role as to the limits that this autonomous scrutinising body can have.” The proposal, due to be implemented in the constitutional review next term, will have to pass at a Union General Meeting.