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ICU Implosion to Delay Election Results?

Feb 26 2007 20:49
Election results look to be delayed and speculation is rife, as emotional outbursts and secret meetings occur in Beit Towers.
Beit Towers

Members of ICU Council were told earlier today that election results are unlikely to be announced as planned on Thursday, with one election complaint still unresolved and an unsettled atmosphere in the Union offices.

Last Thursday evening saw an emergency meeting of the ICU Executive Committee called after the Rector's forum. Shortly afterwards, Live! has been told, ICU President and Returning Officer John Collins was seen "having a real go at exec members", appearing to be extremely upset. The atmosphere in the Union offices the next day has been described as "stony", with discussions held behind firmly closed doors.

When asked about this, Eric Lai (the deputy Returning Officer) told Live! that he was "unable to disclose the content of the meeting", and Mr Collins himself did not reply to Live!'s email at all. However, on Friday, the day after the meeting, candidates received an email re-affirming instructions that any elections queries should be emailed only to the "[email protected]", and to no other address.

Since it is known that one presidential candidate incurred a fine earlier that same evening, it is possible that the meeting concerned election complaints - one of which, it seems, greatly incensed Mr Collins. The large number of Union Officer candidates, coupled with that of NUS Delegate candidates, means that a number of the Executive Committee have a conflict of interest in any elections matters, either by standing themselves or by the action of seconding. This brings the integrity of any elections-related decisions taken by the Executive into question, with appeals seeming likely.

There is almost certainly more information come, though; Live! Was also told that, out of the six complaints that have been made, four have been upheld and one is still "pending further investigation". It is almost certain that, yet again, elections results will not be announced on time and, given the severity of the Returning Officer's reaction, may be delayed by quite some time.

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Discussion about “ICU Implosion to Delay Election Results?”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Feb 26 2007 22:44

so..... what does this all mean? is Collins still Returning Officer?

are we going to see the Court being brought out on this one, or what?

help me out here people.

2. pg   
Feb 26 2007 23:10

I think it means that rather than being a transparent democracy, here for the members, someone has thrown their toys out of the pram and screwed the elections process up.

Feb 26 2007 23:25

so why all the secrecy? i thought we were "open and honest at all times" now.

4. Ha   
Feb 26 2007 23:32

Looks like ICU exec are just a bunch of opinionless, decisionless, actionless, self-protecting, current and ex-students.

This just shows how one person can bring the whole democratic election process to a halt by involving the so call ?Court?.

Feb 26 2007 23:47

Exec meets in closed session to discuss disciplinaries (includes elections issues) and staffing matters. If a disciplinary is sent to the court, as 'Ha' implies, then the whole thing snarls up until court can meet and rule on it.

See also the election regs:, in particular section J.

Feb 27 2007 01:00

I overheard a conversation on Saturday which almost certainly confirmed the suspician that JC is no longer Returning Officer. Being a close friend of one of the candidates I asked them if they had heard anything about this and they said no. If this is true then surely the candidates should be informed. Preventing emails from going to personal accounts is one thing but sometimes people do actually speak in person. Leaving question as to who the RO is in the candidates minds is unfair and could cause further problems.

7. Seb   
Feb 27 2007 01:02

Er... Ashley, I think you will find that the constitution says nothing about meeting in closed session for this.

Exec would be meeting in it's capacity as the supervisory authority for the election, *not* as a disciplinary hearing for the returning officer. (J.65)

Council, of course, is the ultimate supervisory authority. I wonder why it doesn't bloody well deal with it.

Feb 27 2007 09:13

I agree with unnerved - I had/have no idea what is going on and I think that we have a right to know - even if it is just a brief email.

Feb 27 2007 09:17

"Looks like ICU exec are just a bunch of opinionless, decisionless, actionless, self-protecting, current and ex-students."

Thanks, but the problem surely stems from the fact that a decision has been made. i wish I could say that the members of Exec involved were "decisionles", that would have made it very easy!

If there WAS an elections complaint dealt with by Exec, then it would have to be closed session because the minutes could influence the course of the election.

Finally, Council can't deal with something untill an appeal has been made to it. I have no idea whether the Council Chair has recieved a complaint, or if he has if he has accepted it.

Can you really imagine a large elections complaint going to COUNCIL and what is discussed, even if in closed session, not influencing the vote?

Feb 27 2007 10:14

James - actually, elections don't seem to come under automatic closed session, as it is not a discplinary or appeal.

So it falls under:

"In all other circumstances, a meeting may only be held in closed session with the prior approval of the Council or the Executive"

So, can exec give itself the right to meet in closed session? Did it? At the start it was told the meeting was closed, but did exec ever decide. Should Council have to give permission for exec to meet in closed session?

If exec didn't give itself permission, the minutes should be released (and released immediately). In any case, they should be released when voting closes...

Disclaimer: I attended part of the meeting in a personal capacity.

Feb 27 2007 12:51

"Mr Collins himself did not reply to Live!'s email at all"

I don't recall receiving an email from Live! since Thursday's Exec. I've double checked and can't find one.

PS: those of you critising the Court should bear in mind that it was the Court Chair who released this information to the media, arguably making the whole thing more transparent than it was a few days ago.

12. Editor   
Feb 27 2007 16:09

An email was sent to [email protected], which as far as we were concerned still included you. Apologies for this, but we were not informed of the result of the meeting.

Feb 27 2007 16:18

OK fair enough

14. pg   
Feb 27 2007 16:25

Court isn't being criticised. I think you'll find a perceived over-use of it is.

15. Simon   
Feb 27 2007 17:53

Over-use of Court?

"The Union Court's function is to make sure that Union Officers and Committees follow the rules and regulations of the Union


It oversees elections and referendums


In theory the Court can block any decisions that are made against the rules and regulations of the Union."

How is a contested elections dispute that resulted in the removal of the RO an "overuse" of Court? Surely a independant body is exactly what you need when Exec is packed full of people personaly involved in the elections (not supprising when a number of hardcore "hacks" are candidates)

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