The Gryphon are putting LUU under fire for claiming that they were unfairly sidelined in the recent Leadership Race elections.
The elections, which saw six executive officers run for LUU posts, also included the campaign for Gryphon Editor. This position was not included in any of the marketing material or social media campaigns by LUU. Editorial candidates Ste Topping and Benjamin Cook also saw their manifestos uploaded a week later than the other executive candidates. Student could vote for The Gryphon’s next editor once they had voted for the executive positions, but the location of this ballot confused many students.
The society were offered the option of holding a separate election ballot in May, but believed that the removal of the elections from the Leadership Race would indicate the Editor’s position to be of lesser responsibility than the Lead LUU candidates. and would be of great disruption to the newspaper’s functions.
The Union cited that this decision would be made due to ‘confusion’ amongst students as to the responsibilities of the Exec members and The Gryphon Editor. The Gryphon Editor is also not positioned as an LUU trustee — an individual with a share in the Union — due to the fact that it would conflict with its journalistic independence.
Complaining that it had been unclearly signposted, a second year French student said on Twitter: ‘My friend wanted to vote for @_TheGryphon editor today but didn’t because she ‘couldn’t find how to vote’’
While Joe Bell, a New Media student, said: ‘ Don’t forget to vote for
@_TheGryphon editor in chief. Let’s stop unequal coverage @LeedsUniUnion #afairerLUU’
The Gryphon have aired their grievances over the process, in which they alleged they were not consulted over the decision to separate The Gryphon ballot, citing it as ‘undemocratic’. Editor-In-Chief Jasmine Andersson said ‘We want a fair, democratic election for the newspaper.We have been deprived of coverage during this year and last year’s leadership race.’
At the time of printing, The Gryphon’s public change.org petition to lobby LUU over the election process had received 369 signatures.
The Gryphon’s plea has also garnered societal support.
Amnesty International said: ‘Amnesty International supports freedom of expression at all levels and in any capacity. As such we believe that attempts to suppress, deligitimise or hinder student journalism should be checked challenged, and we endorse any campaugm that aims to provide students with a voice in affairs that matters to them’.
Organisation of African Student Unity said: ‘In a top-academic red brick university, it is essential that the staff as well as students express their views and opinions in order to maintain the university’s academic integrity. Students should therefore have a right to vote on what they believe is best, by supporting and also questioning outlets that represent the voice of the students.’
CommSoc added: ‘CommSoc understand the importance and significance of the media which is why we support a fair election. Students should be able to exercise their right to vote but due to the lack of coverage for The Gryphon candidates and election, students are unaware of their policies and how to even vote. The Gryphon hold a huge responsibility in representing students interests, they should be a voice for students which is why this role is just as important as any in the leadership race.’’
Jasmine, however, says that she hopes for the referendum to incite a productive change, rather than immobilise relations between the Union and the paper.
‘I hope that this referendum, and our protest, will be used to start a key dialogue between LUU and the newspaper.
I believe that LUU has enacted many great policies and holds some fantastic staff members. I believe that the reassessment of the treatment of The Gryphon holds the key to not only a fairer, better newspaper, but a most importantly, a more democratic Union’.Th