Elections Committee have found that a Presidential Candidate in the current SUSU elections has breached the Elections rules as well as Staff Student Protocol.
This rule breach has been referred to SUSU’s Disciplinary Committee, and could result in the candidate being recalled from their position if elected.
At 01.13am on Monday, February 24, a tweet was posted from Ellis Sims’ account threatening to fire the Chief Executive of SUSU on his first day of office, if he were to be elected.
Elections committee considered this to be a serious breach of both the Staff Student Protocol and the elections rules, and have consequently referred the matter to the Disciplinary Committee. Both committees are student-led.
This tweet broke rule 4.6 of elections campaigning which states: ‘It is prohibited to make reference to specific SUSU staff members in campaigning.’
Staff Student Protocol promotes a good working relationship between staff and students and protects staff and their employment relationships with SUSU.
Sims faces a disciplinary hearing next week. If elected, the issue will increase in seriousness. The hearing will not be held before voting has closed due to the time restraints and how disciplinary hearings work.
If Sims is elected as Union President 2013/14, it is possible that the outcome of the disciplinary hearing may result in Sims’s recall from the position.
The tweet in question poses a substantial risk to SUSU, since it could be exposed to legal action if the tweet was to be seen as defamatory. This is further problematised, as the Union President is also the Line Manager to the Chief Executive and Chair of Staffing Sub-Committee of the trustees.
Current Union President Sam Ling said:
SUSU’s primary purpose is to work together to make a difference to the lives of our students. Staff form a key part of making this happen, and the election rules are there to ensure that no advantage can be gained by candidates making references to individuals.
Ellis Sims told the Wessex Scene:
It was sent from my Twitter account and it breached Staff Student Protocol. I’ve been disciplined for it. It was my mistake, and I own up to it. I just hope that it doesn’t happen again.
The electorate will be informed about the rule breach on the SUSU website, on the ballot paper and by adding a note to Sims’s manifesto.
Message from Elections Committee:
Ellis Sims (President Candidate) has broken Election Rule 4.6 by threatening to dismiss a member of SUSU staff on his first day in office, if elected. It is important that voters understand that as a result of this action Ellis is awaiting a disciplinary hearing which might recall him from the position of President, if elected. SUSU also faces serious legal consequences as a result of his actions
This incident is close to home but highlights the bigger problem surrounding Twitter-users and the law. As seen this week when social media users were found to be in contempt of court for circulating alleged pictures of James Bulger’s killer, Jon Venables. To find out more about Twitter and the law click here for an article from the BBC.
We encourage constructive and considerate comments about the situation but personal and offensive comments will not be tolerated.
Stay with The Wessex Scene in the lead-up to Friday’s results.