The LSU Union President has announced that Thomas Young, the Education Executive Officer-elect, has resigned from his position with immediate effect.
Thomas will no longer take up the position at the end of the month, with a by-election to fill the role likely to be triggered within weeks.
He was elected just two months ago in a nail-biting race with competitor Eleanor Bishop, with just 79 votes between the pair in the final round.
He was due to replace current office-holder Ana-Maria Bilciu starting August 2nd, with the handover period commencing in just one week.
Union President Matt Youngs and President-elect Freya Mason stated that both “members of our Board of Trustees and elected student body (Democracy & Representation Committee) have been informed of the situation and our colleagues in Governance are determining the most appropriate course of action to elect Thomas’ replacement.”
Thomas recently won a Loughborough Experience Award, both recognising and rewarding his outstanding contributions to the Loughborough Family over his four years at the University.
“On behalf of Loughborough Students’ Union we would like to thank Thomas for the incredible contribution he has made to the student experience during his time at Loughborough and wish him all the very best for the future”, the two Presidents said in a joint statement.
The former Executive Officer-elect had been “involved in department committees for four years”, starting out as a Student Involvement Officer (SIO). He told Label back in May that he was then “fortunate enough to be elected as Department Chair”, subsequently sitting on the “Department Students Federation (DSF) Executive for the past two years as Vice President and [then]as this year’s Federation President.”
Thomas campaigned on a variety of initiatives during his election run, namely to “spread the awareness of … schemes and services that are available to students and researchers” on campus through an event during Freshers called “Education Day” which would also have aimed to raise the visibility of roles such as Course Reps.
He told Label that he believed the Education EO role was vital not only to liaise with the University, but also to “fight for students rights and voices effectively”, whilst also “listening to the University and striking that balance”.
‘There was no real decision here’
Posting publicly on his Facebook Page, Mr Young said that “this was a decision that I didn’t really have much input into making. Due to me not being able to graduate this year, my studies are being terminated and I was called into a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor last week to discuss this.
” I was told that I was unable to fulfill two major commitments of the Education EO role, University Senate and Learning & Teaching Committee. This was because I am not due to graduate and I wouldn’t be classed as a student (sabbaticals are still technically recognised as students as they are elected student representatives).
“As these are the two biggest University committees for Learning & Teaching, having an EO that cannot be present in these meetings means it is almost impossible for me to ensure the student voice is being heard at the highest level. As such, there was no room for me to dispute the matter as the reasoning was all perfectly valid.
“I was told by the Vice-Chancellor I either step down immediately or oppose them and things wouldn’t turn out well at all. There was no real decision here, as much as it was presented that I had a choice.”
A Loughborough University spokesperson said: “This is a matter for Tom and the LSU. We wish Tom well for the future.”
An imminent by-election?
According to the Union’s governing documents, a by-election will need to be called to replace him as soon as suitably possible, although elections for Union Sabbatical Officers cannot usually be run outside of university term-time meaning that the election may have to take place in October, leaving the Union without an Education EO for two months.
The Education Act states that all sabbatical officers must be elected by popular vote, meaning that Union is not able to appoint an individual to fill the role or choose the individual who came in second-place.
This will be the second by-election in the 2021 cycle, with the unpaid Media Chair position remaining unfilled after both nomination periods. The Vice President (Finance & Development) was the most recent paid role to go to a by-election, with Rory Pears winning that race in 2018.
LSU Media will cover the Education EO by-election in full, once the election is announced by the Returning Officer.
Article Updated by Chris Leroux at 11:24 20/07/21 to include a statement from Thomas Young.