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Monday Week Seven was an eventful day in Cartmel politics. Social Secretary Bex Hamilton resigned after being issued a Vote of No Confidence (VNC) by the Cartmel JCR Executive.
The VNC was proposed by two members of the Cartmel JCR exec and was voted through by 70% of members that evening. Hamilton chose to resign, rather than take the option of an appeal in front of a general meeting of the College, which would have taken place on the same night as the JCR election results.
The college conflict escalated from the JCR meetings to Facebook. A note entitled A formal response, from Mark Lord, Cartmel JCR President, 30/11/10 was published, along with a response from Hamilton, entitled The Last Word.
Many, including friends of Hamilton, jumped to her defence on Facebook and on her Facebook wall. Concerns were made that the Vote of No Confidence was issued for personal reasons, as opposed to reasons related to her role and level of work. These beliefs were strengthened as the VNC came only two weeks before the end of term, and the end of Hamilton’s role as Social Secretary.
Cartmel President, Mark Lord, responded to these concerns in his Facebook note, saying, “the two officers who proposed the Vote of No Confidence did so purely based upon matters of JCR work and any statement that there was a personal element is definitively wrong”.
The Vote of No Confidence was put forward by two JCR members, James Davies and Chris Palmer. They proposed the measure in response to the level of work and effort Hamilton offered in the role suggesting that failing to contribute to the weekly Sunday Quiz and Tuesday Revolution events were influencing factors. This was combined with her lack of preparation for the upcoming Canal Street social which she had volunteered to organise.
However in her Facebook note, Hamilton, who is also a LUSU officer, felt “maybe not being sociable enough and other people not realising the effort that goes on behind the scenes is a reason why some people have formed opinions of me that I think are pretty way off the mark”. She added: “Being a social sec is about being organised and doing the behind the scenes stuff to make sure that others have a great time.”
In response to rumours that he didn’t propose the Vote of No Confidence himself as he was running for election as a LUSU officer, Lord said: “As for personal comments made over Facebook regarding why I did not personally propose the Vote of No Confidence, I never intended to propose the Vote of No confidence, nor did I attempt to persuade others to do so in my place.” Lord told SCAN that he was hurt that people would assume he had acted in his own interests, as opposed to Cartmel’s.
Hamilton was offered the opportunity to defend herself, both in front of the JCR in the emergency meeting called to discuss the VNC, and through an appeal in front of Cartmel College. Hamilton said: “I found the [emergency] meeting very difficult as did other JCR members. It was upsetting and I made an attempt to outline what I had done this term, but it seemed that the JCR had already made its decision.” Hamilton chose to resign, rather than to appeal the VNC, commenting that “the general meeting would have been on Friday when the college should be celebrating results night and the success of incoming officers. Instead, it would have been a night that was remembered for the wrong reasons- the night a Vote of No Confidence was decided upon.”
She also said that her belief that she had been “betrayed by them” was a reason for her resignation.
Talking to SCAN, she said that she’s very upset by the whole thing: “I understand that constitutionally, Cartmel’s JCR Exec did not do anything wrong. However, I felt it was unnecessary to suggest a VNC at this time in the year in any case, and especially after the hard work I had put in.” She added: “I feel that there should have also been a clearer warning, particularly as it was not expressed beforehand that anyone was displeased with my input.”
Commenting on whether he should give Hamilton an apology, Lord said that “no apology will be given for a decision made by a large majority of Cartmel JCR Exec”, commenting that “full procedure was followed and further chance was available for the officer to defend themselves to the college through a general meeting which all members of the college could attend”. Talking to SCAN however, Lord commented that the whole situation has been very regrettable, with the Facebook response being “blown out of proportion, and out of hand”.
He added: “When I first became Cartmel President, I did not envisage or want any VNCs being passed against any of my executives”. He added, “I would like to go on record now and say thank you to Bex for all the work she has done as Social Secretary”.
Hamilton finished by saying, “I believe that the situation has been handled maturely on both sides. All credit to Cartmel JCR Exec- they have remained civil and mature throughout and with some of them, I am still great friends”.