Recent events surrounding the VONC of the VPE

Obviously there has been a lot of speculation, mixed messages and false information released around a meeting of a potential vote of no confidence into the VPE by the student and sabbatical trustees. Due to this, I feel it necessary to break any silence or confidentiality on this matter as I believe that the information in the current domain is an inaccurate reflection of my involvement and I do not want my integrity questioned when I value it extremely highly with students.

Furthermore, after the appalling way that this has been handled by the Guild, I believe it is owed to students for me to document my recollection of events, especially if it goes any way to helping clear up some of this monumental mess.

A meeting did take place with the student and sabbatical trustees, of which I was present at, and information was tabled about the conduct of the VPE. Both myself and a number of other trustees at the meeting made it very clear that we were looking at all these allegations in the VPE’s capacity as ‘a trustee only’ and that any discussion as an Officer should be had in Guild Council and not by us. We then went through each point and decided if we would like to question the VPE on his behaviour AS A TRUSTEE and there were some points where we thought it was ludicrous that he should be punished for. One allegation was his removal from University Committees. At this point it was made known that the Sabbatical team condemned this decision by the uni due to the precedent it sets and we were waiting on further evidence from them as to why they had made this decision.

This is a truthful account of my recollection of that meeting and the approach that was taken on my part was that we should allow Edd the opportunity of speaking to us about his behaviour on a number of incidences. I wanted to do this to have some dialogue with Edd on these issues and hear his viewpoint as opposed to choosing to have the meeting as a mere formality before removing him.

In the meeting it was brought to our attention that the legal interpretation of the bye-laws suggests that there are two votes – one as a trustee and one as an officer, which you would take in parts. I have questioned this interpretation previously as my understanding of the Memorandum and Articles of Association is that Article 22 only discusses trusteeship.

Following this, we then categorically stated that the meeting we agreed to schedule with the VPE would not involve a second vote, particularly because we had just gone through every single allegation with only trusteeship in mind. If the rest of the trustee board insisted that we had to have a later discussion about a second meeting as an officer (due to legal advice on procedures) then it was my understanding that that would be had at a separate time after we had discussed ‘the part’ as a trustee. If this were the case, i would have 100% voted against a second meeting for the role as an officer. In my opinion it should only be discussed by students in Guild Council/Referendum.

I then went to the Board meeting that evening where we discussed the previous conversation outlined above. It was again made clear to the rest of the board that this meeting was just to discuss trusteeship. Having since spoken to other board members, that too has been their recollection.

After this, it was my understanding that a letter would be sent to the VPE documenting the allegations and that he would be asked to attend a meeting. Due to my understanding of both the student/sabb meeting and the board meeting itself I trusted the letter that would be sent to the VPE would be an accurate reflection of what was discussed. After both these meetings I was then not included on ANY correspondence internally in the Guild regarding this letter or the meeting. Some people may question why I didn’t ask to see this letter before it was released. In response to that, I would respond that I was not told when the letter would be sent and also as I was so certain in my understanding of the meeting I had no reason to doubt why the letter the VPE received was so different to my understanding of this. I can categorically and wholeheartedly state that I did NOT sign off that letter and the first that I saw of it was when the VPE put the letter online.

Some of you may have seen some comments on a facebook link to Edd’s blog where he stated he was being removed as an Officer. My comment of ‘Don’t believe everything you read’ was written because at that time I genuinely did not know Edd had been sent that letter with so many inaccuracies in comparison to my understanding of the meeting. It was only when I saw the leaked letter in full that I realised how different it was. Because of this I feel it necessary to publish this blog. This is because I do not want students to think that I condoned this letter or indeed had any part in it. I felt completely stupid in my online comments when faced with the leaked letter and it was only when I returned to the office that I was able to work with other Officers to get my understanding of the original meeting made clear in the public domain.

I know the whole thing appears ridiculous but I promise to you all, for what it’s worth, that everything I have written above is my understanding of the truth. I would also like to express my deep regret for the undue stress that has been caused to Edd at this time and welcome an investigation into all of this as I am certain it will then reveal the truth. For now this is a faithful narrative of my dealings in this affair.

Fliss