EDIT: DUE TO INADVERTENT PROCEDURAL INADEQUACIES RESOLUTIONS 2) and 3) REFERRED TO IN THIS POST HAVE BEEN RESCINDED. IDENTICAL RECOMMENDATIONS WILL BE CONSIDERED AT THE NOVEMBER BOARD MEETING.At the Meeting of the Board of Directors on 31 October 2014, the Board unanimously resolved to expel a Union member for the first time in recent memory.
On October 14, it was reported in Honi Soit that a current Union member had had nude photos disseminated throughout the University community by Alexander Wright (AID: 728288). This was a series of actions that Mr Wright had admitted to both the survivor and her family. She has suffered in public spaces and amongst Union members and events in ways that have been devastating for her welfare. On October 16, Mr Wright then attended a Union event alongside the survivor. Following concerns and reports of intimidation of both the survivor and other Union members, he was requested to exit the venue by Staff.
The conversations that ensued raised questions of the extent to which, by remaining silent, the Union was abrogating its constitutional responsibilities to provide and maintain safe spaces. We are bound to work "at all times towards creating an environment free from all forms of discrimination and harassment,” and this is a commitment that must extend as much as possible beyond autonomous spaces and events.
Given that, the Board unanimously resolved the following:
Recommendation 1: That the Board voice its commitment to maintaining environments that are safe and free from harassment.
Recommendation 2: That, pursuant to section 9.2(f)(ii) of the USU Constitution, the Board expel Alexander Wright (AID: 728288) from Membership of the USU.
Recommendation 3: Following Recommendation 2, and pursuant to section 9.2(f)(iii), that the Board debar Alexander Wright (AID: 728288) from exercising the rights of Membership until it resolve otherwise.
As noted, Recommendations Two and Three were moved according to the following sections of the USU Constitution:
9.2(f) Should any Member neglect to pay any sum to the USU or in the opinion of the Board be guilty of misconduct, the Board may:
(i) take legal action;
(ii) expel such Member from Membership of the USU; or
(iii) debar such Member from exercising the rights of Membership for such time as it thinks fit provided that:
A. such Member of Members shall have the right to an appeal to the University;
B. the Board may not delegate its authority in such a matter;
C. such Member shall be informed of the matters to be raised against that Member;
D. such Member shall be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard but shall not be represented before a decision is made.
Recommendations Two and Three were moved under an interpretation of the text that subsections (ii) and (iii) were not mutually exclusive. Moreover, the absence of a definition of expulsion was found to require a time period, provided in Recommendation Three.
One week prior to the Meeting, Mr Wright was given notice due under s 9.2(f)(iii)(C), and was offered the opportunity to speak to the Recommendations under s 9.2(f)(iii)(D). He retains the right to appeal to the University Senate under s 9.2(f)(iii)(A).
Towards a safe campus community
These resolutions stand as a crucial reinforcement of the Board’s commitment to protecting the safety and welfare of its Members. Where Members have their welfare jeopardised, it is the duty of the Union to ensure that this is not perpetuated or worsened in its own spheres. We should actively enter debate and tirelessly pursue the avenues available to us to uphold the values we are bound to.
If you or someone you know has either experienced harassment or feels unsure about an unwanted experience and would like to speak with someone, please contact the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital on (02) 9515 9040. The University’s Counselling and Psychological Services can also be contacted on (02) 8627 8433. Alternatively, the Board are always available to put you in contact with the relevant resources and service providers.