Sanchita Chasla, YUSU Entertainment Officer, has accused YUSU of taking down her second blog entry in “the name of dirty politics”.
The Entertainments Officers posted a blog on Thursday 29th November at 20:49. This broke campaigning rules, as only YUSU Officers and other elected chairs and representatives of YUSU can blog on the website, and campaigning activity must be done through means accessible to all.
After a complaint about the blog, it was felt by the Returning Officer, that rather than removing the Ents Officer’s blog and restricting the means by which they could express their views, each side would be allowed to post one blog putting forth their arguments.
The Returninng Officer commented: “There was as a campaigning tool that not all can access, however I am happy for each side to have one blog presenting their view, as now that there is a blog in response, what is presented is balanced.”
The post was made in response to YUSU President, Kallum Taylor’s, referendum on the proposed overhaul of the position of Entertainment Officer.
Taylor, “came up with the idea to change how YUSU support College ents after talking to the the College Ents teams themselves; they’re the ones who put on the events, and they’re telling me we need to change the system.”
On Saturday, 1st December at 16:35, Kallum Taylor posted the blog putting forth the arguments for the motion.
At 20:09 on Saturday, the Entertainments Officers posted a second blog, restating their arguments against the motion, which YUSU has confirmed “contained a number of personal comments, which is outside the campaigning rules, which specify that campaigning must promote or criticise the motion itself and not those campaigning for or against it.”
This action contravened what had previously been agreed and the blog was removed.
A further blog was posted by the Entertainments Officer at 20:31, before contact could be made outlining the reasons for removal and how to proceed.
Following a discussion between the Deputy Returning Officer and the Entertainments Officer, it was agreed that only one blog could be posted, and that this must not feature personal comments, but rather should focus on arguments intended to persuade people to vote either way on the motion. It was agreed, that the blog would be amended by the Entertainments Officer, which was done within the hour.
The original post was removed and the second post has been edited. In the re-posted blog Chawla had claimed the removal of her words threatened her democratic right to voice and expression.
In the second post that was edited, Chawla had written: “Looks like someone just took that right away from me by deleting my post in the name of dirty politics. So here I am… once again posting to make my views heard after having been silenced once.”
Chawla told Nouse that in deleting her blog post, YUSU had actively undermined the credibility of YUSU as a democratic union, by “taking away the right of free speech and expression”.
When asked what this indicated about the relationship between part-time officers and sabbs, she suggested that it showed YUSU to be a clique, closed off to most students.
Ankita Chawla, International Officer, told Nouse: “When you reported that YUSU was a clique, you were absolutely spot on as they only want to seem as if they are doing something beneficial when in reality, they are only telling the student body what they think the student body wants to hear – they can talk the talk, but they can’t walk the walk.”
Chawla’s position on the referenda remains on the edited blog: “The need for Entertainment Officers role is pertinent because we definitely help societies, so to prioritize colleges over societies is neither fair nor democratic in a representative institution.
Taylor said, “In the past, YUSU hasn’t always been great at keeping up with the changing needs of our members. The role of Ents Officer might once have been important, but now there simply isn’t a role there for a student representative.
“It’s not the fault of the current Officers that there isn’t enough to do, it’s the fault of the role, and its time we sorted it out.”
This article was updated at 15:11 in order to match the version in the print edition.