Academic Officer Thomas Ron has defended his actions today after it was discovered that he contacted a potential YUSU President candidate for the upcoming elections and advised them to run for another position.
The messages were sent in November last year, and seem to show Ron encouraging a third year student (who prefers at present to remain anonymous) not to run for YUSU President because, according to Ron, he had ‘heard of a candidate who will win VERY easily’. Ron instead suggested that the student alternatively run for Welfare and Community, which is the YUSU Sabbatical position currently held by Scott Dawson. The anonymous candidate is rumoured to be a black female, which adds further dimension to the scandal in light of the election’s marked domination by white males.
In the wake of the discovery, Ron, who is known as Tron by the majority of the student body, said,
It’s in the interests of students for YUSU elections to be accessible and open to all, they are and that’s what I want to continue, I believed this to be a private conversation with a friend where we discussed our own politics, this conversation does not influence the process or the outcome of the elections and was never designed for print in the run up to the elections. With all this in mind, I will now refrain from discussing the election or potential candidates with anyone.
He also stated that he had not intended to cause offence and apologised when he realised he had done so. Students on Yik Yak have gone as far as to suggest that Ron should be subject to a vote of no confidence despite his assurances that his actions were not detrimental to the running of the elections. The debate continued in the comment section of York Vision. Brian Hatfield wrote,
Everyone needs to chill out, Tron was acting in the best interests of the students and I for one trust his judgement.
The Yorker’s Politics and Comment Editor, Jack Harvey, said,
Sure, Thomas Ron blundered. He made a slapdash ‘compliment’ and did it with the official Facebook account rather than with his own personal one. But without any solid evidence that Ron was secretly defending Dawson, these comments are not “scandalous,” they’re just clumsy.
Whether Ron was acting in the best interests of the student body or otherwise, his chances for potential re-election may well be affected by this discovery. This is especially the case considering the rumoured gender and race of the potential candidate. Despite the controversy, current YUSU President Ben Leatham issued a characteristically positive comment. He said,
YUSU is committed to open and fair elections. I’m confident we’re going to have an exciting, engaging campaigning period that will inspire the student body and ensure a great new team who are, most importantly, selected by their fellow students.