Durham Union President candidate, Ryan de’Vere, has lost the Michaelmas 2021 Durham Union Society (DUS) Presidential Election, which was uncontested, to Re-Open Nominations (RON).
Re-open Nominations beat de’Vere narrowly, receiving 35 votes to de’Vere’s 31. De’Vere and RON were the only candidates on the ballot.
The DUS elects their President termly and last term’s election, which was won by President-Elect Nicholas Mariscal Palacio who received 77 votes, seeing a turnout of 155.
De’Vere told Palatinate: “Sadly I lost to RON due to the low participation in this election which is absolutely symptomatic of this recession the Union is facing.
“It’s very sad to see such a result, I must admit. I’m sure there are many people enjoying this evening a lot more now, all I guess I can say is enjoy it.”
The DUS has faced significant financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic.
The Durham Union Society bar, the 24 North Bailey Club, better known as 24s, has been closed since the beginning of Michaelmas term.
Mr de’Vere’s manifesto for the presidential role included a “post Covid-19 recovery plan” which proposed refurbishment of the 24 North Bailey Club and the Durham Union chamber in the Pemberton building which is used by the society to host speakers and debates.
Commenting on the election result, Co-Chair of the Boycott the Durham Union Campaign, Yash Raju, which launched last summer in response to allegations of bigotry, bullying and malpractice against the Durham Union Society, said: “What we’re seeing is a rejection of an institution that is fundamentally filled with hate. Hopefully this marks the beginning of the end for the Durham Union and its toxic impact on the student body”.
A previous investigation by Palatinate revealed accusations of sustained malpractice and abuses of power within the Durham Union Society (DUS), including bullying, unaddressed bigotry, and the mishandling of complaints.
In Michelmas term this year, Durham SU Assembly voted to condemn the Union Society and banned it from participating in Fresher’s Week promotions after “failures to combat discrimination”.
Durham Debating members also voted to leave the DUS in January, citing issues with funding and the culture of the Union Society.
Image: Peter Bonnett via Flickr