With the new rules introduced last term, slates are now legal in Union elections (though, as everybody knows, they were always a feature). Fortunately for the average member, the two slates – Stuart Webber’s STEP and Zuleyka Shahin’s NOW or NEVER – have shiny new Facebook pages, just to make sure we don’t miss a thing.
NOW or NEVER invite Union members to ask questions about the slate’s policies, but Shahin’s slate have been quickly removing questions and comments that could be seen as tough or potentially embarrassing. VERSA have screenshots of questions that have now been removed.
This anonymous member pointed out one of the slate’s policies is broadly pointless…and had the comment swiftly removed
Even lived experience relevant to the slate’s ideas was taken down. Poor Trafford
A third poster, Joe Fowles, spoke to VERSA about his comment’s removal and his block from the slate’s page. Fowles paraphrased his question to us: ‘”Realistically, most members don’t care about union politics, they just care about seeing big names – who has this team confirmed to speak at the union?” Sadly, it has been ‘lost’ to the ether. Fortunately, another commenter grabbed a screenshot for posterity.
When challenged on the removed posts, Shahin replied in a comment “We welcome serious and relevant questions relating to the campaign.” All three of the removed comments appear to be legit to VERSA. Fowles responded to this, saying “Zuleyka said on a post reply that she welcomes “serious and relevant questions” – I feel belittled and offended that she doesn’t consider my questions relevant, and I think if the way she runs the society is to silence anyone who disagrees with her, she’s not really about including everyone after all!”
Joe Fowles was later blocked by the page for a more jovial comment, questioning the slate’s name : “It’s not really NOW or NEVER, the Union famously has elections all the time.”
Censorship isn’t really the Union’s raison d’être. Someone needs to tell Zuleyka’s slate…
NOW or NEVER were unavailable for comment at the time of publication.