By Josh Hurn
Student leaders of the RON campaign have apologised via Overheard at Durham Uni for how the campaign “facilitated some students to express discriminatory thoughts and feelings towards others”.
The RON campaign caused controversy when it advocated not voting for any candidate in February’s Officer and Trustee elections. RON subsequently won 58% of first preference votes but was ultimately excluded from the final count sparking outrage amongst students.
In their official Facebook campaign page, Vote RON implores students to “express your satisfaction with the SU”. When their exclusion occurred, they expressed how “incredibly disappointed” they were at the SU’s choice to “ignore” the voices of students.
In a post by Leo Harris, the JCR President for Grey College, regrets were expressed on behalf of him and several other student leaders about their “naivety” of how the university is an “accepting” place.
He further states how “an apology is not enough” for the “consequences” of the RON campaign’s actions. He went onto say that RON still believes “major reform is needed” in terms of the SU’s “internal democracy and financial transparency”.
Seun Twins, president elect of the SU, posted on her campaign page in February encouraging students to “not let this RON campaign make marginalised groups feel as though their issues of isolation are being overshadowed”.
Already, the post received criticism from some other Facebook users, with one user accusing the apology of coming only when “it became a trend to value black people” and being a “disgraceful act of virtue signalling”.
The post was signed by Nuriya Shoro (St Mary’s JCR President), Leo Harris (Grey JCR President), Alex Longman (St Aidan’s JCR President), Helen Paton (St Mary’s JCR Vice President), Diana Martinez-Trejo (Ustinov GCR President), Ben Sharp (St Mary’s Senior SU rep), Kathryn Rogers (Hatfield JCR Senior Man), Charlie McKeever (University College JCR Senior Student), Joe McGarry (St Aidan’s senior frep), and Kesia Schofield (Hild Bede SCR President.
Image: Maddie Flisher