Crossing the line

The main and vital function for any YUSU Officer, as with any politician, is to stand primarily as a representative for those who elected them. Whilst it is a system sadly abandoned in most of Westminster, here at York we have a better ability to hold our elected officials to account. Emma Brownbill’s actions, as the major LGBT representative in campus, have instead evidently proved alienating and militant to the very people she is supposed to speak for. Her overt political opinions are aired very much in public, which is laudable until they start to impede upon her role as Officer. As she will testify more than anyone, the issues handled by the LGBT Officer are extremely sensitive, yet her actions have appeared to drive a chasm into the LGBT community at York.

As always with student politics, a fine balance needs to be kept between pushing your own forceful political agenda, without forsaking the very people you represent. Overreacting to all issues big or small, of which Brownbill has been accused, will simply serve to undermine all the work the LGBT community do across campus to promote inclusivity, promoting rather than undermining narrow-minded stereotypes. Militancy will get you nowhere, and whilst Officers should be free to express their opinions, they also need to be aware of the line. It was one that Lawrence Binitie crossed, and his dismissal, be it right or wrong, proved that such actions are not without consequences. It is a line that Brownbill, in her role as Officer, is apparently drawing very close to crossing. As soon as you lose the confidence of those whom you represent, your role becomes essentially annulled.

One comment

  1. The original news article contained:

    * Very little detail of whatever it was Emma was accused of.

    * No evidence whatsoever to back up the accusations – before she can be “evidently” proved alienating, there needs to be some evidence from which it is evident!

    * Half a page worth of attempted character assassination based on two anonymous statements.

    * No attempt to talk to students supportive of Emma to actually add some balance to the story.

    You’ve written the entire article, and this editorial, as if the fact that complaints were made proved her to be in the wrong – and as if she was escaping a severe reprimand based merely on a technicality, not because the allegations made against her remain unsubstantiated. This is the sort of “journalism” I’d expect from NotW, not Nouse.

    Since you state “a fine balance needs to be kept between pushing your own forceful political agenda, without forsaking the very people you represent.”, perhaps you’d like to tell us what this agenda is and what Emma has supposedly done to push it? Or how it is that Emma’s “overt political opinions” have interfered with her role? Or what it is about her “political stance” that exempts her from freedom of expression and opinion?

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