The St Andrews Conservative and Unionist Association releases an official statement on their recent bout of publicity.
Last semester ended on a scandalous note when The Saint broke what is commonly referred to as the Tory AGM Story. STAUCA was accused of mishandling their end-of-term elections, an allegation that led to a Union investigation and the nullification of the AGM. This past week, The Saint printed a follow-up piece that once again placed the Tories at the forefront of the local news scene.
In light of this media attention, the committee has elected to release a statement on the matter. The statement is printed in full below.
The Executive Committee has been placed in a most difficult position over the past week.
STAUCA’s AGM in April has been widely covered in student media, but none of these reports include the glaring failures on behalf of the Students’ Association that have taken place. The Students’ Association has admitted that what they consider ‘irregularities’ in our AGM process would have been avoided if they had responded for our request for a representative to be present and officiate proceedings in April. Such a representative was never provided.
Moreover, they have also acknowledged that the findings of their investigation were shared with The Saint before they were presented to our Committee. The Students’ Association had given us assurances, that these failures on their behalf would be publicly acknowledged. No such statement has appeared thus far.
Nonetheless, our Committee was prepared to comply with the request by the SSC’s Societies Committee to re-run our AGM. We carried out all instructions we had been given, and provided the Societies Officer with an up-to-date list of paid Ordinary Members who would be entitled to vote at the new AGM.
However, on Friday, 23 September, we learned that the Director of Student Development and Activities had authorised the Cash Office of the Students’ Association to sell membership of our society. Not only was this done without seeking the permission of or even notifying the Committee, but it is a shocking usurpation by the DoSDA of prerogatives which our Association’s Constitution reserves to our Secretary and Treasurer. Moreover, this arbitrary act is unprecedented and applied exclusively to STAUCA; membership of no other society is sold in a similar manner at the Cash Office.
The truth is that the demand for memberships purchased in such a fashion derives primarily from certain former members of STAUCA, who have in the past failed to respect the values of our Association and the Party to which we are affiliated. We have observed a vindictive movement aiming ‘to ruin’ present members of the Committee by all possible means. It is therefore hardly surprising that these former members did not sign up to the membership list in the conventional manner, but have sought to do so clandestinely behind the Committee’s back.
We are extremely disappointed that the Students’ Association has aided and abetted these attempts. Moreover, we cannot understand why they have failed to recognise this movement for the vindictive campaign of hatred that it is, but have instead inadvertently legitimised it by taking its side.
When our Executive Committee confronted the DoSDA and the Societies Officer regarding this unauthorised sale of memberships, we were served an ultimatum to accept those individuals in our membership list by 12 p.m. on 26 September, or face disaffiliation from the Students’ Association. By demanding this, the Students’ Association is in effect attempting to impose on us the membership of students who make our members feel uncomfortable and whose behaviour is likely to negatively affect the reputation and electoral success of the Party to which we are affiliated and represent.
This is unacceptable for us. We believe that we must be free to withhold membership from persons who by their conduct fail to respect the values of our Party. The Students’ Association is in effect denying us this right. We therefore have no choice but to refuse to comply with the Students’ Association’s ultimatum, and accept the consequences.
Though this is a difficult decision, it is the only one we can make as a Committee which is bound to always uphold the interests, safety, and well-being of our Association’s members. As Conservatives, we believe that every student at our University, regardless of their ethnicity, race, gender, religion, or social background, is equally valuable and equally entitled to the fairest possible opportunities in life. Anyone who openly voices opinions in contradiction to this jeopardises the aims of our Association.
It is therefore out of our desire to allow the values of openness and inclusivity to define STAUCA that we disaffiliate from the Students’ Association.