Disqualification of SU President from re-election bid latest in series of setbacks for Students’ Union

“It’s about clearing my name” – the disqualification of the current SU President, Precious Onyenekwu Tatah, from her bid for re-election comes after a statement by The Students’ Union posted on the day of the election said that “election rules have been breached by multiple candidates”.

After the resignation of a Democratic Procedures Officer and a protracted investigation and suspension of former VP Education Ayrden Pocock last year, which received national media attention before the former VP was cleared of any wrongdoing, The Students’ Union now has another controversy on their hands, with current the current President disqualified from her re-election bid after votes had been cast due to allegations of breaking electoral rules.

This meant that any votes cast for the President to be re-elected were reallocated to the voter’s next choice, as The Students’ Union uses the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system in elections. Augusta Chidinma Nnajiofor was elected to the position and will start in June this year.

The incumbent President was not included in the results. Image: The Students’ Union at UWE.

Current President Onyenekwu Tatah has vociferously denied the allegations, describing them as “completely false”, stating that the SU told her they could not show her any evidence against her, despite having asked her to provide evidence that she had not infringed on electoral rules by 3PM on Thursday – just seven hours before polls closed.

According to unnamed sources in the Students’ Union, two complaints from two students reporting intimidation and infringement of election rules against the incumbent President were sent to the electoral complaints team on Monday 2nd March – only four days before the results were announced. The source added that the University of the West of England (UWE), a legally separate organisation to The Students’ Union, had confirmed, after viewing CCTV, that Onyenekwu Tatah was near the alleged incident and did not act to stop the alleged breach of electoral rules. The University did not confirm or deny this to HUB Magazine, responding “This is an SU matter – all enquiries relating to the leadership election should be directed to the SU.”

Official SU image of President Precious Onyenekwu Tatah.
Current President, Precious Onyenekwu Tatah. Photo: The Students’ Union at UWE.

Furthermore, according to sources, one complaint purported that the President harassed students by repeatedly ringing doorbells for up to ten minutes, and another complaint described the President as posting flyers on to students’ front doors – both of which the President denies, stating that she “did not even have flyers.”

Photo: Jack Fifield.

The President added that now “it’s about clearing my name”, going on to say it is “no longer about winning”, “it’s about justice”.

Representatives at The Students’ Union were approached to put their side of the story to HUB Magazine multiple times prior to the publication of this story, but referred only to the statement posted on Friday.

Onyenekwu Tatah added that she has since received some abusive messages from strangers on social media, and said that she “wouldn’t want to speak bad about the SU”, adding that they have “been supportive of me since I’ve been working there”, before acknowledging that she now feels like she’s been “pushed to the corner”.

Featured photo: Maya Bond-Webster.

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