LUSU VP Welfare and Communities RESIGNS
The latest in a series of resignations
Lancaster University Students’ Union has today announced that the Vice-President Welfare and Communities, Grishma Bijukumar, has tendered her resignation.
This comes as the fourth member of the Full-Time Officer board elected to serve the 2019/20 academic year has left the board. Following resignations from former VP Activities Ben Evans, and ex-VP Union Development Hannah Prydderch, LUSU President George Nuttall was dismissed on the 1st May.
Bijukumar’s departure marks the third FTO resignation in under 12 months. Her tenure as VP Welfare and Communities was not without scrutiny, having faced backlash for leaving the review of a sexual misconduct policy until the night before submission.
Lancaster University Students’ Union followed with this statement: “Lancaster University Students’ Union VP Welfare and Community, Grishma Bijukumar has resigned her position at the Union.
“The Students’ Union would like to place on record its thanks to Grishma for the work she has done in her time in office and the commitment she has shown to the student body during her time in post.
“We would like to assure students that the responsibilities of VP Welfare and Community will be covered in the interim, in what is a very difficult time for students at Lancaster.”
This marks the fourth departure from LUSU today, with two PTOs resigning earlier, alongside Nuttall’s dismissal.
Bijukumar’s resignation statement reads: “Firstly I want to thank the individual staff members both within the SU and University who have always been there for me and always had the students interest at heart. You have empowered me to do the same in my role and overall have helped me grow so much as an individual. I’ll forever be grateful and this is definitely not a goodbye.
“There are so many issues within the organisation, which I am so proud to say that the officer team have always stood up for. However every time an officer has spoken out, we have been undermined, disrespected and in some cases sacked. The decision to resign was not an easy one nor did I ever think my year in office would end this way. I came to this decision for a number of reasons. The SU has a toxic culture which isn’t just down to the FTOs or even senior management, there are some serious issues which flow through the entire organisation which I really don’t see being resolved in the near future.
“I’ve been a victim of racism within the SU and instead of the SU reflecting, Officers are used as scapegoats and it seems like the issues which we have flagged up during the entire year are only heard once we resign. I do want to formally thank George, Lewis and Bee. Only we know what we’ve had to go through this year and I’m really proud of everything we have fought for and achieved for students. I’m sure all our futures are going to be bright. I also want to reach out to Hannah and Ben. We all started this journey together this time last year and if anyone had told us this is what the year would bring, we all would’ve probably laughed.
“The year hasn’t been easy for anyone of us and in hindsight if we all had a choice we would do things so differently. I wish you both the absolutely best for the future as well and I hope we can all move forward in our bright futures instead of dwelling on the past. I’m very proud of the work I’ve done during my year as officer, however, it has been increasingly difficult to carry out positive work in an unhealthy working environment. Especially when past mistakes are never forgotten both from staff and students, there has been so many times where I have thought if everything I have done this year is even worth it if that one mistake will always be held over my head.
“Coming to the decision to resign was difficult, but for my own mental health, I know that now is the right time for me to take a step back and to move onto a more positive chapter in my life. I really hope the SU and the Trustee Board takes this year as a learning curve. I have firsthand witnessed and been part of all the amazing things the SU does which have been overshadowed by negativity. I also wish the next year’s team all the very best for their year in office and to not allow this years events impact what they want to achieve. Lancaster it’s been a pleasure #FTOut”