YUSU Women’s Officer resigns citing Working Class Referendum smear tactics

Controversy and Political Machinations in York Uni’s Seat of Power


Michaela Tharby has tendered her resignation of the position of Women's Officer for York University Student's Union. In a Facebook status posted earlier today she wrote that she could no longer work within an organisation that is "terrified to make any actual decisions" and would be leaving her official role effective immediately.

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In the wake of the recent controversy surrounding YUSU's Working Class referendum, Michaela has criticised the Union's response to the running of the 'No' Campaign. Held to determine whether YUSU should introduce a part time Working Class and Social Mobility Officer, the referendum resulted in a positive outcome for the Yes campaign, in which 990 students voted in total, a turnout of just 5% of the student body.

Despite achieving victory for the 'Yes' campaign, which Michaela represented and lead alongside Jacob Webb, she still felt it necessary to resign her post after YUSU's failure to implement any repercussions for the conduct of the 'No' campaign during the referendum.

Initially citing personal reasons for her decision, the Facebook post accuses the 'No' Campaign of using smear tactics, harassment, setting up voting booths and obtaining third party endorsement. The latter two are stated explicitly on YUSU's website as against their referendum rules.

Michaela went on to state that YUSU's conduct "implicitly endorses [such] behaviour" and "sets a dangerous precedent of the future". Further criticising the Union's inaction and unwillingness to take any punitive measures against the unsuccessful campaign, "I can't represent an organisation which fails to act and hold those wrong to account."

Her post ended by warning that the only lesson to take away from the referendum is that "you can run a smear campaign and get away with it."

YUSU have so far not acknowledged her resignation on their Twitter or Facebook pages.