May 06, 2005

Disciplinary Update

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John's appeal is confirmed for next Tuesday, when the Union will have to decide whether to confirm its position of taking action against a student whom it accepts didn't break the constitution, its appendicies and regulations, didn't break the staff-student protocol and didn't break the law.

I am still baffled as to how the first hearing found that no rules had been breached, and yet still found John guilty. Surely if no rules are breached at all, that means no action should be taken against you?

You can read the verdict here

In other news Union Council passed a policy expressing concerns about the disciplinary regulations last night. There was suggestions that it was personally motivated – I can confirm that I personally believed that we should pass that policy.

Incidently, the Sabbaticals claimed that it was constitutional to expel members from the Students' Union and that they had received legal advice on this subject.

We have to follow the Constitution, unless the law means it would be illegal for us to do so.

The Constitution states:

_4.1 The following will be members of the Union:
(a) Full members: All registered students of the University except those who exercise their right not to be a member under section 22 (2) (c) of the Education Act 1994. Sabbatical Officers of the Union will be full members of the Union_

It is clear from this statement that if you are a registered student of the University, you are a member of the Union. So taking the Constituion on its own (ignoring the law), the Union cannot expel its own members.

Now the question is, is this section of the Constitution illegal? If it is, the Sabbaticals should inform the University Council immediately that it
has approved an illegal Constitution for our Union.

Otherwise, they are wrong.

I hope that the disciplinary regulations are rewritten as soon as possible to meet some of the concerns that were expressed yesturday. We are in a situation where a member has been found guilty for breaking no rules at all. That is certainly unacceptable, it is questionable whether it is legal. Although I have no legal expertise, it seems to me that whilst it is legal for a membership organisation to impose sanctions on its members for breaking its rules, it seems doubtful whether it is legal for a membership organisation to impose sanctions for not breaking any rules.

Even though I think the Sabbaticals are wrong, I respect each and every one of them, because I know that they are doing what they think is right. I am also doing what I think is right, and I make no apology for standing up for what I believe in.


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