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VPDR Claims University ‘Interference’ in Upcoming Officer Elections

The Guild of Students building, viewed from Edgbaston Park Road
The Guild of Students building, viewed from Edgbaston Park Road • Photograph: Redbrick

Tom Wragg, the Guild’s Vice President of Democracy and Resources, has criticised the University’s role in administering the upcoming Guild Officer elections.

In a note posted on Facebook, Wragg accuses the University of committing ‘a clear violation of democracy and the independent, autonomous nature of students’ unions.’

Deborah Hermanns, one of the five students suspended following last month’s national demonstration, has allegedly been barred from competing in the election of Vice President for Education. Wragg argues that the suspension, which means Hermanns is not currently a recognised student, is ‘clearly politically-motivated and pose significant interference with the Guild’s democratic process.’

Lee Sanders, the university’s registrar and secretary, fulfils the role of returning officer which includes making the final decision regarding candidate eligibility. However, Wragg argues that this work is usually undertaken by a staff member from the National Union of Students (NUS) and, by choosing to personally fulfil the role this year, Sanders ‘has actively intervened to suspend a candidate from running.’

The Vice President calls for the Guild to postpone the election for this position until Hermanns is able to stand or for the candidates – currently unknown – to withdraw their nominations so that the position is left unfilled.

The list of candidates for all Guild Officer elections will be released on Friday 21st and voting will take place between 3rd and 7th March.

Read more in Guild of Students