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“A travesty to democracy”: student urges YUSU to annul referendum result

Image: The Yorker

Jack Worrall, a student at York who had a brief involvement in the recent YUSU campaign for electing a Working Class officer, has recently published his criticisms of the campaign with an open letter to YUSU on his Facebook page. Jack (initially part of the ‘No’ campaign, but resigned in disgust) claims that “this election is illegitimate” and should be rejected by YUSU. 

Jack claims that both sides of the referendum deployed “dirty tactics” and the extension of the voting period was only decided to reach the minimum that was required for the votes to be valid. He also critiques the ‘No’ campaign for their treatment of Connor Drake, in attempting to smear the campaign – this type of campaigning is against the YUSU election rules and is hence, why the result (in Jack’s view) should be considered as void. Jack also claims that it should be considered void due to the nature of the campaigning – he claims the ‘No’ campaign exceeded their budgets and produced high quality leaflets that they plastered all over campus to receive extra attention and votes. At the same time, he argues that the ‘Yes’ campaign also covered campus in “illegal stickers.” It seems that both sides of the campaign were committing referendum ills according to Jack and in this respect – he believes the student body were falsely deceived and thus, the result should be scrapped.

Although Connor Drake was smeared by the, ‘No’ campaign, his response to Jack’s post was as follows:

“I think some people don’t really have any idea how much of a mental, emotional and physical strain this campaign has taken on quite a few people, including myself. To compare a few “illegal stickers” to sustained explicit personal attacks on a campaigner on multiple student media platforms, is, at best, absolutely ridiculous and at worst, utterly crass.”

Jack’s open letter brings to light many potential wrongs of the campaign but possibly fails to recognise the extent of emotional harassment it entailed on many of its key figures. If student politics here at York is meant to be fully democratic, then it is possible that we should be reviewing the current YUSU referendum results.

The Yorker has contacted both Jack Worrell and YUSU’s President, Alex Urquhart for further comment. Updates will follow.