UPSU sacks VP Welfare for ‘insubordination’
She has already launched an appeal
UPSU has sacked the Vice-President of Welfare Jessica Small for allegedly breaching the terms of her contract.
The Union released a statement saying Jessica had “brought the UPSU into serious disrepute” after she created a crowdfunder page to send her to NUS Zone Conference earlier this month.
After being informed that the Union couldn’t afford to send her up to NUS Zones, Jessica started a crowdfund, to raise enough money to attend and represent Plymouth students.
But uni bigwigs said this was an act of “insubordination’ and added Jessica had fallen foul of providing “unauthorised use or dissemination of confidential information, serious acts of insubordination and the deliberate manipulation of facts in order to damage another employee’s reputation.”
Jessica feels the entire process had been kept hidden behind curtains and away from the eyes of these very students who elected her.
In a statement, she cited how the decision to fire her had been made by two unelected external trustees of the union:
“In sacking me, the students’ union have ignored the no confidence procedure for officers laid out in the union’s governing documents and used staff disciplinary policy instead – a policy clearly designed for unelected staff members.
“As set out in my employment contract, elected officers are held directly accountable by the membership of the union. It is therefore abhorrent that I could be considered guilty of ‘insubordination’ by a panel which did not consult these students.
It seems that Jess’s responsibilities have been spread out onto the other Sabbatical Officers of the Union, but we will still have to forego a dedicated VP Welfare until the next Elections take place in February and would not start in office until June.
Jess has launched a petition to have her reinstated into her role, with the initial campaign using the hashtags #BringJessBack and #JessWeCan
When asked for a statement, University of Plymouth Students’ Union said:
“The University of Plymouth Students’ Union can confirm that Jessica Small is currently not working with the organisation subject to ongoing internal procedures.
“Our Executive Officer team will be picking up the duties that Jessica’s role as Vice President of Welfare entailed. As this is an internal staffing matter it would be inappropriate for UPSU to comment further.
“As an Investors in People Gold awarded organisation, putting us in the top 1.5% of UK employers, we fully and proactively uphold the principles of employee rights, wellbeing and inclusiveness at UPSU.
“As such we have robust procedures to ensure our members of staff have a safe route to raise issues and receive support to have them resolved.”