LGBT society at Fresher's Fayre [Image Credit: LGBT Society]

LGBT Society president urges students to oppose SU referendum

I have lost faith in KUSU in terms of protecting LGBT rights.

KUSU’s full-time officers launched a referendum this week that proposes a change to the way officers are elected.

Under the new proposals, changes to the part-time officer electoral procedure would mean that the LGBT Officer would have to be part of the LGBT Society.

It would also mean that only those students who are part of the LGBT society would be eligible to vote for that post.

Ryan Boxall, President of the LGBT Society, points out that not all LGBT students are members of the society and that the policy would, therefore, exclude “nearly half” of the LGBT community at the university from being able to vote for the person who represents them.

“There are those LGBT students who might not wish to be part of the LGBT Society because they are not out as lesbian, gay, bi or trans,” said Boxall. “This policy would mean KUSU was forcing these students to out themselves in order for them to be able to vote for someone who represents them.

“I am, as of course I believe a great number of students, fundamentally against these undemocratic changes, and urge everyone to vote against it in the referendum.”

The VP for Student Life stated on February 2 on the Feminist Society Facebook page: “I definitely think that students being represented by a particular officer should be voted in by their cohort. A man voting for a women’s officer? A heterosexual voting for a LGBTQ officer? I think, yes, we should allow part time officers to be voted by its relevant cohort.”

However, Boxall disagreed with her comments: “Many trans students would identify as heterosexual. The VP Student Life want to exclude them from voting, this is offensive and out rightly transphobic.”

He also stressed that he was against the proposed changes as he felt the changes would force students to be part of the society and, therefore, force them to pay to vote.

“Since the announcement of the referendum, I have lost faith in KUSU in terms of protecting LGBT rights,” he said.

The referendum opened to voters on Monday February 2.

About Priyanka Mogul

Priyanka is Online Editor of the River Newspaper for Group D. She is also the Manager of International Political Forum and President of the Kingston University Journalism Society. She has previously held the position of Communications Intern with the United Nations Association, One World Media, and The British Institute of Human Rights.

2 comments

  1. The information in this article is factually incorrect. What is actually proposed is that the union would be required to set up and support proper campaign groups for each liberation campaign (LGBT, Womens, BME etc.) and that open meetings of those groups would elect a leader who would also serve on the exec – nothing at all to do with existing societies and certainly not involving paying a membership fee. Furthermore that would require the union to invest a lot more staff time on these campaigns than they do currently.
    Beyond this, the wider changes would open decision making to a far greater number of students with less focus on everything being done by a small group on the exec – as there would be decisions being made and campaigns run on every campus.
    It is important not to lose sight of the bigger picture, 11,000 or so students with no KUSU officer to approach where they study who are being offered something they don’t have and really need.

  2. Ross Taylor (First Year Rep, Exec Comm)

    I would like to further concur with Sarah Brown above. The means by which part-time liberation officers would be elected has not yet been decided, and the Union remains in continuous contact with the NUS as to the best means of electing liberation positions. Multiple different ways are being looked at, and it is completely factually incorrect to claim that the LGBT officer would have to be the leader of the LGBT society. The methods are being continuously investigated, and the ultimate aim is to ensure that as many of the LGBT community (including those that are not yet out) are able to elect the officer to best represent their interests.

    Of course, this is the usual poor journalism from the River that we’ve all come to expect.

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