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Kingston’s VP Student Life holds onto post despite petition for her removal

By Tonje Odegard Feb 16, 2015

VP for Student Life, Naveena Satter, is to remain in her position at KUSU after an emergency executive meeting failed to provide a majority vote to remove her from her role.

The meeting was called after a petition was handed in to the Students’ Union in January, triggering a vote of no confidence against the VP and prompting an investigation into Satter’s role. The petition claimed Satter had failed to fulfil her responsibilities as VP Student Life and asked for her immediate removal.

After the meeting, Satter said: “The honest truth is that I’ve been very scared of how this was going to turn out, but I wrote for it and I made my arguments clear. I came back with my evidence and my fight.

“I’m just glad I can go back to doing the job I’ve been elected to do.”

Satter also said she did not want this process to affect the way she will carry out her role as VP Student Life and that she does not think it should.

In the official investigation documents that include evidence to support the claims made against Satter, as well as Satter’s own evidence denying these claims, the VP Student Life calls the entire process “a witch hunt” driven by her stance on specific motions, ‘Freedom for Palestine’ and ‘Boycott NHS Blood’, which she opposed.

In the documents, Satter writes: “The arguments made about me not fulfilling [my role] are false and are not supported by any evidence… To remove me from my role with no solid justification is unlawful.”

Her position was maintained since the motion required a 75 per cent majority for the vote of no confidence to pass, and with six votes for and eight votes against, the majority failed. The elections committee was fully represented with each of their 14 officers present.

LGBT Officer and one of the initiators for the petition in December, Amy Bush, said she was “incredibly disappointed” that Satter remains in her position as VP Student Life.

Bush said: “Several executive committee members had openly declared their support for the ‘No Confidence’ process and, though the sabbatical officers had kept their opinions much quieter, I can confirm that the President of the Students’ Union, Vice-President Activities and Vice-President Learning and Teaching had all stated at varying points throughout the campaign their support for her removal.”

Bush explained that she believed the reason the officers changed their minds was because of a division between part-time officers and full-time officers during the recent referendum.

KUSU President Denza Gonsalves said: “Students have every right to hold their elected officers to account and this whole exercise has shown how this can be done.

“Clearly the students that signed the petition felt that the officer was not doing their role to their expectations and so I hope this whole process has helped them relay this to the officer concerned and hopefully improve her performance according to their needs.”

Gonsalves admitted that the process has made things in the office more challenging, but said that the Student Union would move forward, work together as a team and do the best they could for all students.

The petition received a little over 200 signatures, adding up to about 1 per cent of Kingston’s student population.

It stated: “The current officer – Naveena Satter – is failing to fulfil the demands of the position and is thus jeopardising student welfare and well-being, not to mention valuable KUSU funding on her salary.”

To read more about the petition that was handed in to KUSU in December, click here.

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