EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Us. Chief Exec email SLATES student opposition to rebrand

The Union is sticking to the £32,000 rebrand despite student concerns.

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In an email leaked to the Soton Tab, it was revealed Union Southampton intend to stick with the rebrand roll out over the coming weeks.

Chief Executive of the union, Scott McCarthy, said in the email “The Union will continue to roll out and promote our exciting new identity as per the original timeline.”

The union and sabbatical officers have come under heavy fire after the rebrand was revealed several weeks ago.

McCarthy also said the Union has “committed circa £32,000 to this project so far.  We spent £20,000 on external consultants and another £12,000 on changing signage.” He does clarify all this money came from existing marketing budgets and funds were not diverted from elsewhere.

He also says that students had plenty of opportunities (“no fewer than six”) to engage with the rebrand process, and the project “was actually launched in January of 2015.”

He refers to those who have issues with the rebrand as “relatively small group of students” who started a movement to stop the progress of the rebrand. This is after a petition to stop the rebrand gained nearly 2000 signatures. He writes “this pocket of resistance should not be allowed to dictate policy for 23,000 members in a brave, student led organisation”.

McCarthy also claims  “Since the anti-change movement started we have answered every question professionally and politely.”

He goes on to criticise the decision of Union Council to ‘force’ democracy zone to reconsider the date of the referendum after it was decided (by a vote of 2-1) to hold the vote in September, rather than before the end of term. The Union Chief Exec said Union Council has no legal ability to force this kind of motion but points out:

“The [referendum] decision could be re-visited if any of these three conditions were alleged or proven:

1.       The Democracy Zone did not follow proper procedures or did not have the authority to make the decision

2.       There was bias in the process (ie one of the voters was influenced by an external force or paid off, etc.)

3.       Significant new evidence  has been introduced that would potentially change the decision

No information that would fall into the categories listed above was brought to the meeting.”

In the email, McCarthy also talks about how there is a “need to engage students and to some extent this launch has certainly done that.”

This email comes as another blow to the union as frustration grows with student groups after Democracy Zone again voted to postpone the rebrand referendum until September.