VNC the VP? Petition calls for vote of no confidence against VP Activities

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A petition which calls for a referendum to hold a VNC against VP Activites Ben Evans reaches threshold for consideration

A petition which requests “a referendum for a vote of no confidence in the VP activities due to their failure to uphold their responsibilities” has received over 200 votes, putting it over the 150-vote-threshold for consideration by the Union.

A Students’ Union spokesperson said: “The Students’ Union is aware of a petition that has been launched on the Union website. We will follow the correct procedures stated in our Articles of Association and Bye-Laws. It would be inappropriate to make any further comment that might prejudice the outcome of this process.”

Atree Ghosh, who wrote the petition which recommends “A Trustee Board With A Majority Of Student-Elected Representatives” is also responsible for writing this petition. I asked him why he wanted a vote of no confidence in the VP Activities Ben Evans.

This is what he said:

“He should be supporting societies and spending equal time on sports and societies, yet there is no mention of it in his manifesto.

“Societies and sports should be equal, yet the Sports committee is confirmed, why is society committee only just recruiting? Another example of societies being second best to the officer.

“Society reaffiliation this year has been the worst experience for execs in a long time. His lack of presence during reaffiliation, resulted in this officer alienating frustrated executive members who are struggling through long, complex and not fit-for-purpose training. Having stated that mental health training for groups was a key priority, it is clear this was never actioned as training even included a section delivered by another university so the officer can’t have cared about this.

“I have personally been to the SU in the last two weeks multiple times for a variety of reasons and his desk is gathering dust, why shy away from the student body when this is a public facing role? Students can’t come speak to their officer as he’s simply not there, which was particularly hard for groups during the problematic reaffiliation, or any other issues they may be facing?

Image by Lewis Marriott

“In week 2 he failed to publicly post his objectives on the FTO whiteboard, how is this transparent? His social media presence, in general, is very minimal compared to the rest of the team, regularly missing at events, his transparency is lacking. Take the example of an Instagram post from the President thanking all the officers with the exception of Activities for helping prepare for freshers fair, or a post by the Sugarhouse featuring the rest of the FTOs thanking them for helping on the welfare stand during welcome week while he was on a night out with the Rugby club (welfare being a key issue in his manifesto).

“‘Make the Carter Shield an event people want to attend’ – he has instead just rebranded college bar sports leagues into this; and has not communicated at all with JCRs to involve them into the discussion which his manifesto stated he would.

“At the first executive committee, where key the contentious Sugarhouse issue was to be debated, he failed to attend. The chair cited “being on holiday”, however he was present in the SU that day and was watching the live stream, how does this add up? Apparently, he was on annual leave, however, as he was watching the live stream, he could have made votes by proxy but this was not done either? Especially on a case which has had such a response from students. This genuinely leaves students thinking he doesn’t care.”

Is it fair to call for this referendum so early in his term?

“I think it is fair, purely because even though he is failing in his duties, he has not even made himself available to face criticism. Meaning there is no way he can talk to students to see what he is doing wrongly.”

What could Ben do to make you reconsider the petition you made?

“I think if he returned to his desk downstairs in the SU, and actively took part in the deficiencies I have mentioned and actually be active on issues students are concerned about, I could reconsider it.”

VP Activities Ben Evans was contacted for a statement but did not respond.

Update: 7:10pm 21st October.
VP Activities Ben Evans has released a statement, which can be read here.

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