We are writing to you to express our deep concerns regarding the decision by the Board of Trustees at Lincoln Students’ Union to reject both the ‘Free Speech’ and ‘Disciplinary Reform’ motions passed by the student body at the emergency ASM earlier on in the year.
The decision to reject these motions has been poorly communicated to the student body, the justifications as to why the decisions were made are unclear, and action on these issues moving forward appears unclear.
We, the undersigned, specifically wish for the following:
1. For a full explanation of the reasons why the disciplinary reform and the free speech motions have been rejected by the Board of Trustees, including any legal advice this rejection is based upon. This is to be communicated properly, to the proposers via email and to the wider student body via social media, to ensure the student body is made as aware as possible about both the fact that these motions have been rejected and the reasoning why this is so. In particular, the statement from the Board refers to free speech not being an 'unqualified right', but the Free Speech motion makes it quite clear that this is not what is being asked for.
2. For the Board to acknowledge that when assessing motions coming from the student body that it is not relevant whether they personally agree with the motion- they are there to judge the legal and financial repercussions, not pass a personal political comment. This specifically refers to the comment in the Board statement which states that 'The section of the motion entitled "The Union Believes…" does not represent the views of the Trustees as drafted.'
3. For the process of Board decisions on motions passed by the student body to be reformed- there needs to be processes in place where proposers of motions are given detailed feedback of Board decisions, and the student body in general are made aware of the Board’s decisions- we cannot have a Board of Trustees acting in the shadows. In particular, a simple dismissal of the motion without consulting the proposer, asking for clarification of points or exploring acceptable compromises seems to not be in the democratic spirit of the union.
4. For there to be clarification and openness concerning the promised review of the disciplinary procedures. Specifically, we need to know when this review will take place, how it will proceed, who will be involved in it (the CEO is mentioned, but is this the only person to have any involvement at all?), and we request that this review make considerable effort to incorporate the views of the student body. The conclusions of this review needs to be swiftly and clearly communicated to the student body too.
In conclusion, both this decision and how it has been carried out raise more concerns about the democracy and the transparency in our union, compounding the problems that have been very publicly highlighted this year. We hope to see his situation rectified along the lines of the above 4 points, and look forward to your reply.
Note: the signatures and student numbers on this letter will be shared with the Students' Union to show the student concern over this matter.