The Durham Union Society’s President for Michaelmas Term has resigned her position due to “personal circumstances unrelated to the Union which have required her to take a year out”.
In a statement, the Union’s Returning Officer said “this is something that as a friend and a colleague is very sad. At the same time, I would appreciate people respecting her privacy and not speculating during this time.”
The statement noted the urgency of the situation, with less than five weeks to go before freshers’ week is due to start. To deal with the situation, the Union is proposing to vote on a resolution to adopt a “shared presidency” of an acting president and two vice presidents.
Palatinate understands that the Union’s General Committee of around 60 elected members will vote on this proposal on Friday.
Despite the difficult situation, the Returning Officer said that “we are still looking forward to welcoming some excellent speakers that she has been in contact with”. He urged anyone interested to run and meeting the eligibility criteria to contact him.
The President had run on a platform to “promote a welcoming environment to make sure the Union rises to its full potential” after a year in which the SU Assembly passed a motion accusing the DUS of failing “to prevent and effectively penalise incidents of racism/misogyny amongst both its membership and leadership”. As a result of that motion, the Union was banned from participating in SU events.
The past year has been a turbulent one for the Durham Union Society. In January, Durham Debating voted to leave the DUS and, in the first of two elections for the Michaelmas term presidency, the only candidate lost to the “re-open nominations” option. Furthermore, as with other societies, events have also had to be moved online this year.
The Durham Union Society is Durham’s oldest student society, and runs addresses and Friday Night Debates featuring prominent speakers. They also operate a student bar at 24 North Bailey.
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