Students Union (SU) elections might be over, but it hasn’t stopped me from chasing up an “accusation” made against me which could have jeopardised my run for Vice President of London College of Communication (LCC).
When I received an email from SU engagement manager Penny Jerrum on the 19th of February regarding a complaint that I had been taking down other candidates posters – a direct breach of the rules – I immediately responded, sure it was a misunderstanding. Penny’s response was that the situation was being ‘investigated’. I was curious to know the outcome – my name doesn’t get dragged through the mud without me knowing what evidence there was against me. And rightly so (and unexpectedly for Penny), I chased up the investigation.
Last week I made a complaint about how SU staff (Penny) handled the “investigation” against me. I hadn’t been given any evidence of why I was (wrongly) accused expect on the unsatisfactory grounds that the accuser “believed” I was taking down posters. Why hadn’t more questions been asked to clarify the accusation? This highlighted obvious game playing amongst candidates – paranoia that the very candidates I befriended could be ‘backstabbing’ me, is the last thing I needed added to the stresses of campaign.
Thankfully a meeting with Dave Lewis – Head of Engagement and Advocacy, earlier this week went really well. And as promised, Dave put in writing a few pointers that SUARTS will amend regarding how candidates are ‘investigated’ for future students union elections;
· In the review of elections, ensure conversations about
o Clarify what the process will be for people submitting false accusations and whether this could be tightened
o Increasing threshold for what triggers an investigation
o Introducing new copy into the rules to demonstrate what the investigation stages are
o Reintroducing investigations via phone rather than email
· Will also speak to Penny about the tone used in person and via email
I’m still waiting for an apology from Penny who walked out of our meeting saying I was accusing her(!) I should be allowed to speak out and question things without staff throwing “reverse-psychology” of being victimised back at me. This was a classic case of portraying the “aggressive angry black girl.” against the “innocent white female”.
Being wrongly accused shouldn’t be the “norm” and I’m glad that steps will be put into place to minimising “game playing” from candidates.
Now that’s a triumph worth celebrating!
p.s no ‘angry black girl syndrome‘ involved! We have a right to complain without coming across as ‘aggressive‘.