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By Editor Ruth Walbank & Associate Editor Olivia Kenny
Vice-President Hannah Prydderch has resigned from her role as Vice-President Union Development. The news comes on the same night as the election results for the new 2020/2021 FTO officer team at the Sugarhouse.
This is the second resignation of the 2019/2020 FTO officer team, following former Vice-President Activities Ben Evans’ decision to step down in November of 2019.
A spokesperson for the Students Union said:
We are aware that Hannah Prydderch, Vice President (Union Development) has announced her intention to resign her role with immediate effect.
Naturally we are very saddened by Hannah’s decision, but we will respect her intention and support her in any way we can. We will ensure that Hannah’s duties are fully covered until the new elected officer team takes up office.
We understand that Hannah has explained her reasons for resigning her post. We will not be making any comment.
We would like to thank Hannah for her work for students at the Union since her election and the contribution she has made to the team during her time here. We wish her well for the future.Students’ Union Spokesperson
Hannah has released the following statement:
I would like to thank the Staff, Students, PTOs, JCRs/PG Board and student media teams at Lancaster for all their love and support throughout these past few months. Furthermore, I would like to congratulate all the candidates in the elections, they all did a brilliant job.
It breaks my heart to resign from this role. However, there have been circumstances that have made the SU an inhospitable and unwelcoming environment and with serious detrimental impacts on my mental health.
I had previously gone to resign back in October,
howeverthe love and duty towards students made me stay despite trying circumstances. I hope studentswill forgive me and understand that being your Vice President Union Development has been the greatest privilege of my life and I wish Atree all the best for next year.
I’ll be releasing a full statement in the upcoming days once I have had time to reflect and focus on myself.Hannah Prydderch
On Monday the 9th March, Hannah released a further statement via her Facebook page. She said:
allI would like to say a huge thank you everyonewho sent me lovely comments and messages, your kindness and support meansthe world to me.
Resigning as your Vice President Union Development at Lancaster University Students’ Union has broken my heart and I would like to say that it was not due to any students, College or Part-Time Officers, staff or Trustee Board. However, there is a toxic culture in the SU, which despite everything that has happened this year, hasn’t changed from how it was when I started in June.
Throughout my time in office, I have tried to always act in the best interests of students, which should be the guiding principle of any Officer. However, I discovered early on that some only care for their own agendas or status. I was treated as an inferior Officer from the moment I arrived, with my work hampered and my achievements disregarded. Some have actively blocked me from succeeding in achieving my manifesto objectives and berating me for wanting to work with certain students and
officers,because they are under them and in charge of them; of which I believe is not okay. You elected us and should shape our work, not the other way around.
They have also been increasingly rude and unkind towards me, making it an extremely hostile and unwelcoming environment towards myself and other people.
InitiallyI tried to bond with the others and joined in with their jokes, howeverit got to a point where I could not continue to do this and tried to actively call out the behaviour but was too afraid as I frequently felt ganged up on and brow-beaten into being silent. I’ve painted a smile on my face for months, being told to repeatedly forgive and forget.
I know there will be some of you out there that do not believe me and that’s okay, everyone is entitled to their opinion. As I’m sure you’re all aware, I’m by no means the first person to resign their position at the SU due to this toxic workplace culture and I’m sure I won’t be the last, so long as things continue as they are.
I implore you, don’t let the Sugarhouse victory blind your ability to hold Officers to account for their decisions and behaviour.
I’ll miss the SU and all of you at Lancaster and I wish there was a way I could have stayed.Hannah Prydderch
On Friday evening, following Hannah’s resignation, changes were made to the Sabbatical officers Facebook page.
In response to this, the Students’ Union said:
On Friday evening changes were made to the Sabbatical officers’ Facebook page to remove details of Hannah Prydderch, VP (Union Development) following her resignation.
This change was not made or instigated by the officer team. It was made by a staff member with the best of intentions, given the nature of Hannah’s resignation.SU Spokesperson
This is an ongoing story.