Yes I know, it’s Guild politics and there’s a good possibility you couldn’t give less of a shit unless you mainlined Imodium, but what’s going on right now is actually something you really should give a damn about. To help you understand why, I’m going to try to explain it relatively succinctly, using our old friend, copious amounts of profanity, here goes:
While most of us have left campus for the Easter holidays, the Guild’s Trustee Board, that is, the folks who sit at the top of the Guild power structure (and who aren’t majority elected, though we’re working on that) have been busy. In the past few days, they’ve secretly handed the guy students elected VP of Education last year, Edd Bauer, a “Resolution of No Confidence”, which is Trustee speak for: “YEAH, SO WE’RE PLANNING TO VOTE ON FIRING YOU”.
We know about this because Edd is understandably pissed off enough that he’s posted the entire thing online, including thorough point-by-point rebuttals of all the astoundingly flimsy/ridiculous justifications to fire him that our merry bunch of Trustees have put together. This is despite the DIRE WARNINGS in the letter that say it must all be kept secret from people OR BAD THINGS (them being even more inclined to fire him) MAY OCCUR.
Update: A few of minutes after I published this post, Mark Harrop, the President of the Guild, posted a note on Facebook telling us that due to an “admin error”, the letter the VPE received on paper and electronically saying that they were planning to fire him from both his roles as VPE (the VPE is both an Officer, and one of the few elected student Trustees) was wrong. In reality, they’re apparently ‘just’ planning to fire him from one of his elected roles (Trustee), not both.
See, admin errors often lead to 17 separate and explicit references on the first three pages of a very important and serious document that entirely changes its meaning. Yup, this clearly happens all the time and isn’t at all an attempt to make this look slightly less bad after the fact, nope…
Still with me? Good job, have a cookie, or at least, a photo of a cookie I found on Flickr.
What’s fucked up here:
- Someone students elected is being fired in secret by a small, mostly undemocratic group. To make matters worse, this is being done when most students aren’t even in Birmingham due to the Easter break.
- The justifications for firing the VPE are ridiculous and insulting to students. While there’s the weird grab bag set of tiny complaints, like OMG, HE MISSED A COUPLE OF MEETINGS THAT OTHER OFFICERS FREQUENTLY MISS, the main thing they cite relates to the protest against our University’s ludicrous injunction against occupation-style protests.
During said protest, Edd went a different route around campus than was talked about earlier, and apparently Jedi-mind-tricked hundreds of people into following him despite the other Guild Officers and a load of stewards yelling at them to not leave the pre-planned route. The idea is essentially that nobody who followed him chose to do so, had the power to resist, or was able to decipher the stewards/Sabbs efforts to get them to go a different way. and that because of this, he “put students at risk” as a result of them following him around our apparently treacherous campus, with students suddenly unable to judge risk for themselves.
What you can do about it:
- Spread this to as many people as you can. This was supposed to be happening in secret while students weren’t even in Birmingham. Use the power of the little “Like” button at the top of the page and on the VPE’s post to further scupper that plan and put pressure on the Trustees not to do this.
- Contact the Trustees who’ll be deciding on the 23rd of April, whether the VPE Birmingham students they elected, will still truly be their VPE, using the email addresses below. In short, make it (politely) clear to them you aren’t exactly happy with them secretly firing people that students elected, even if it’s “just” his place on the Trustee Board. The VPE’s point-by-point might be helpful if you want to bring up the ludicrousness of the specific allegations, while Ben Aylott’s excellent letter to the Trustee Board pretty persuasively makes the case that if there’s going to be a Vote of No Confidence, it should at least be via the representative and fully-elected Guild Council.
- Contact the Open Place Guild Councillors listed below and urge them to sign Ben’s letter.
- If your department/hall is one of the ones at the bottom of this post below, contact your Guild Councillor/RA and urge them to sign it as well.
- If you think it’s just a bit nuts that we’re the only Russell Group university to have a Guild/Union Trustee Board that’s not even majority student, nor majority elected, sign the Reclaim The Guild petition to force a General Meeting where we can fix this.
Student Trustees (the ones who’ll be voting on the 23rd
- Mark Harrop (President) – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hugo Sumner (VPDR) – email@example.com
- Fliss Cross (VPAD) – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hannah Coakley – email@example.com
- Will Hawkins – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emily Halford – email@example.com
Open Place Guild Councillors (these people represent all students):
Eytan Halon: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicola Levy: email@example.com
Departmental Guild Councillors:
Biosciences – Anousnka Lester: firstname.lastname@example.org
Business School – Monicca Maran: email@example.com
Clinical & Experimental Medicine – Michael Blank: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dentistry – Hadil Abuwarda: email@example.com
Education – Gina Gerstein: firstname.lastname@example.org
English, Drama, American & Canadian Studies – Alex Fenton: email@example.com
Electronic, Electrical & Computer Engineering – Shai Revivo: firstname.lastname@example.org
GEES – Camilla Be Kare-Silver: email@example.com
Health & Population Science – Olivia Goodman: firstname.lastname@example.org
History & Cultures – Sophia Miller: email@example.com
IAA – Matthew Rolfe – firstname.lastname@example.org
Immunity & Infections – Helen Roberts: email@example.com
Law – Alex Lane: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mathematics – Oliver Ingamells: email@example.com
Mechanical Engineering – Ian Kafka: firstname.lastname@example.org
Metallurgy & Materials – Jonathan Kenny: email@example.com
Psychology – Dean Shannon: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sports and Exercise Sciences – Avital Aaaron: email@example.com
Jarratt Hall – Celestina Rowaiye: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shackleton – Anjali Thanki: email@example.com
Aitken and Chelwood – Holly Kirkham: HXK118@bham.ac.uk
Beeches – Hem Hazar: HXH053@bham.ac.uk –
Fresher Guild Councillors:
Ariella Grose: firstname.lastname@example.org