Campaign posters vandalised

Kallum Taylor's banner was found cut in two

Kallum Taylor’s banner was found cut in two

At least eight YUSU elections candidates have fallen victim to vandalism of campaign posters across campus.

An anonymous source told Nouse that around 8:30am yesterday she spotted YUSU President Kallum Taylor’s ‘K’ posters had been pulled down.

Throughout the day other candidates discovered material from their campaigns had vanished or been destroyed.

The worst affected areas were inside new Derwent and around the courtyard, along the walkway to Vanbrugh and Vanbrugh College itself. Central Hall, the library and the bridges crossing central lake were also targeted.

The source said she had witnessed two people tearing the black tape on banners over central hall as late as 2:30pm yesterday.

Taylor has been hit particularly hard with roughly 100 ‘K’ posters removed all over the University. They were later found in a pile outside Derwent College.

Taylor’s large red banner over central hall was found cut in two yesterday morning, whilst another was discovered on the floor in Derwent.

Taylor told Nouse, “The campaign is one thing, but the main gripe for me is the sheer amount of hours that our volunteers and supporters have put into making our material have been pretty much wiped out. I suppose I’ve just got to go out there now even more and make their time still mean something.”

Jason Brandwood, who had two of his large fabric banners by Market Square and Vanbrugh Paradise stolen, said, “It’s not nice, but you wouldn’t want it to overshadow everything else. Most people have had stuff taken down and you just get over it. Its almost a compliment, they seem to have ripped down the most noticeable stuff.”

Many of candidate Anna McGivern's posters have been vandalised

Many of candidate Anna McGivern’s posters have been vandalised

Nick Hall told Nouse that his Courtyard banner was ripped down as well as a large part of his Central Hall poster. Many of his ‘tick’ symbols have also been stolen.

Matt Stephenson, George Offer, Anna McGivern, Sam Malone have also had posters taken down or vandalised, with some found floating in central lake.

Stephenson said, “Most candidates have been affected. We’ve put in hard work over many weeks and I think it’s really disappointing that some people have gone out of their way to harm people’s campaign.”

Candidates are worried about how this will affect their campaign finance. Rules state full time officers may spend up to £35, and part time officers just £20.

The Returning Officer has confirmed to Nouse that candidates will not receive any extra allowance to account for it.

Those responsible are yet to come forward.


  1. 22 Feb ’13 at 12:31 pm

    Steve Brookstein

    To be fair, if I was going to tear down a rivals’ posters I’d be sure to do a couple of my own as well, and a couple from other races to obscure the main target.

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  2. Ridiculous. Maybe my #BanksSegways would have to be locked away during election times, imagine the speed of a getaway after ripping a poster down?!

    On a more serious note, despicable behaviour. Such a shame that it ends up like this every year.

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  3. Over the past week, YUSU election candidates have been vandilising our campus with cardboard signs, chalk graffiti and distasteful banners. This year more than any other, I have been completely overwhelmed by the state campus has been left in after the attack of candidates and their budding volunteers. Frankly, it’s disgusting. I think I speak on behalf of the majority of students when I say that the campaign posters (if you can call a felt-tip slogan on the back of a cereal packet a poster) really put me off voting for a candidate. Personally I will vote for those who really show what they are worth through their manifesto and through making the effort to talk to people – certainly not those who make campus look such a mess. When we’ve had a ban on posters stopping clubs and societies from advertising their events, this sort of behaviour should not be tolerated. Let’s just hope their are no open days or UCAS events going on at the moment. As a University, we should be embarrassed – I know I certainly am.

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  4. 22 Feb ’13 at 1:54 pm

    Voice of the past

    @anon – so you’d hope that people coming to an open day/UCAS day didn’t see a campus engaged with its Union, and that loads of people wanted to change it.

    Good one…

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  5. @anon – Campaigning for YUSU elections is only 2 weeks of the year, the whole point of the banners and posters is to advertise all the hard work and dedication that people are willing to put in for a worthy cause. The point of these elections are to make our campus and university life better, don’t you think that is worth putting up with what you feel is a ‘disgusting mess’ for 2 weeks?

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  6. 22 Feb ’13 at 2:59 pm

    Lord of the Dance

    It’s only a “disgusting mess” if people proceed to rip up each others banners and leave the remains strewn across the pavement.

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  7. 22 Feb ’13 at 3:16 pm

    Will Duckworth

    No, I agree with anon for the most part. Whilst I admit that a union engaging with its students is important, the sheer quantity of campaign adverts, in particular the chalk graffiti covering large areas of concrete floor and walls, is an eyesore. It was a disgusting mess before they were vandalised (I don’t condone the vandalism in any way) and now it’s a slightly beaten up disgusting mess. You don’t need to put an advert for the same candidate on every other post in a walkway, for example.

    If candidates only get £35/£20 to spend on postering, why can’t there be more effort put into a smaller number of posters that actually make a convincing argument, rather than thousands of one-line ‘Vote 4 Mike’ adverts that neither inform me what plans people have nor why I should vote for them. I get that YUSU try to make things better for all of us, I just wish they didn’t trash campus in the process with covering every available post and surface in banners.

    Plus, every year, the people who put in the hard work, genuinely commendable as it is, to make the adverts neglect to take them down again once the election is over. Which also looks disgusting.

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  8. 22 Feb ’13 at 3:40 pm

    Anon (nah! Just kidding, its Ben McG)

    Campaigns are a one off event once a year. The effort that goes into them by the candidates and their supporters is phenomenal.

    To moan about them as an anonymous voice, without having experienced it suggests to me that you don’t care about how you’re represented by your union and that’s a shame. I don’t believe the vandalism is justified but it to happens, its life, and if someone is caught they should be punished, and that the candidate should receive extra money.

    The marketing effort on £35 is so difficult. Often £20 buys a pitiful number of posters. I love them around campus. I look back with nostalgia at the season, and I’m sure you will too, despite your belly aching.

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  9. @anon

    I disagree wholeheatedly, campus is usually barren concrete which blends into a monochromatic hell alongside the constantly grey sky – it is uninspiring and dull. Conversely, a campus which is visibly alive with activity and people actually engaging with issues and organising is heartening; this is what I expected prior to coming to university – an actual community of people doing things.

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  10. @anon

    “Let’s just hope their are no open days or UCAS events going on at the moment. As a University, we should be embarrassed – I know I certainly am.”

    Why? It shows people actually do things at York and there is at least some fruitful social activity.

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  11. I don’t think there is a problem with the quantity of posters on campus, but rather the quality. I’d rather vote for someone with a clear manifesto who is actually detailing what they will be offering in the future. Right now, candidates are simply bold colors and big banners, not big policies and bold movements.

    I am still sticking to my view that very few of the candidates are appealing to real issues.

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  12. 22 Feb ’13 at 5:19 pm

    Viva La Resistance

    I think this just goes to show how students are sick with these wannabe YUSU hacks and their crappy campaign slogans students are. I want to go to my seminar, not be tormented by some kid telling me why he’d make a great student activities officer, thanks.

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  13. @anon

    While I can see that campus does get awfully cluttered at this time of year, I have to disagree with you over how it is received by prospective students. I count myself lucky that my interview for York was during election time, as I found the campaign posters helped make the campus feel bright and alive and honestly, that contributed to my decision to come here. I doubt many prospective students will be put off by the posters, all they showed me was that the union wasn’t some remote building on campus, and at least some of the students cared about the experience as a whole.

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  14. I think it’s great that people are getting involved and want to be part of their union etc. However, my main problem with the campaigns is that YUSU candidates are allowed to cover campus in their advertising whilst societies are not for the rest of the year.

    Performance societies produce high quality posters with original designs which look a lot better than the cardboard stuff that’s everywhere during elections. Yes societies spend more money on these posters than the candidates are allowed to but part of that reason is because every time you put up a poster porters walk round and through them away. A central hall production has to order over a thousand posters just to get enough advertising round campus for two to sell a reasonable number of tickets. Societies have also previously been threatened with fines from the university for doing things like chalking the floor.

    The real part of the student experience is being IN the societies and the YUSU Officers are just representatives of them and should not be considered as more important than the students that they represent. How can it be one rule for societies and a different rule for officers?

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  15. @Clare

    I concur, the campus-wide poster ban is utterly destructive of student life.

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  16. I agree with anon, I think the posters should be banned. I don’t really see how single letters and slogans are supposed to help anyone make an informed choice. Some of the advertising is very impressive, but that’s not what I think anyone should vote for. I’m so sick of all this, it puts me off voting more than anything else.

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  17. Campaigning budgets are really tight as mentioned above. the candidates are doing the best they can to get their names out there. Its only for 2 weeks, stop being ridiculous, it doesn’t “litter” the campus because they have to clean it all up at end.

    a candidate can’t be writing their manifesto on walls all the time, again a ridiculous suggestion. They have to get their name out there, then it is up to voters to check their manifesto once they are online to vote.

    For example:

    Anna McGivern is the most visable SA candidate out there- brilliant policies, brilliant girl. Her chalk and posters are every where but that doesnt detract that she is by far the one with the best policies.

    Mike Anstey has done such a visible campaign. Again, the candidate with the best policies. He’s done a great job last year for internationals and hopefully will continue in the role. So what if he chooses chalk- it works.

    Same for Kallum, his K’s are powerful and identifiable. His policies are the best for president as well. he has done wonders for YUSU over the past year too, raising the visibility of the union etc. People need to get over themselves, stop complaining about a little mess for 2 weeks in a year.

    @ANON @willduckworth – honestly guys, i get what you’re saying, but it shows engagement. a K is a marketing gimmic for Kallum. “vote 4 mike” will get the name out there. “Anna 4 Activities” does the trick too.

    i honestly think it is a great job by all candidates. really great marketing and good to see them engaging with the Union and students through different techniques.

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