Update 22 September
The Trustee Board met again this month to continue discussions on the proposal to ratify a TPUK Student Society at the University of York. Having reviewed the ratification request from a governance perspective, the Board has confirmed ratification can proceed, subject to a number of conditions. Given the extent of public interest in the ratification process and this decision, the Trustees have taken the decision to make this correspondence publicly available for wider information.
Statement from Patrick O'Donnell, YUSU President on behalf of the Board of Trustees:
"An application was received by the Societies Committee for ratification of a Turning Point UK society at York in early 2019. Following three rejections by the student-led Committee, which reviewed the application under its set ratification criteria between 12 February and 5 October 2019, the Committee referred the request to the Board of Trustees in late January 2020. The Board has overarching responsibility for Union governance matters.
“The Board of Trustees has been undertaking due diligence consisting of considering the Union's legal responsibilities in conjunction with wider questions such as how most appropriately to promote and protect free speech, alongside YUSU’s wider duty of care to students. It has also consulted with stakeholders including the University, whose regulations YUSU operates under.
“YUSU firmly believes in equality and diversity in addition to creating a vibrant, respectful community. To cement this, we require that our student groups sign up to the Union Code of Conduct and a commitment to inclusivity for all.
“Any decision must also be underpinned by the fact that it is not within YUSU’s ability to prevent the ratification of a society on the grounds that its members may hold views that may be offensive or unpopular, provided that these views are not unlawful.
“As part of performing our due diligence, the Union previously requested information from TPUK about their governance structure, including a copy of their national constitution.
“An extraordinary Board meeting to review the ratification request on 17 July 2020, was adjourned part way through. Following that meeting I wrote on behalf of Trustees to request further governance information and details of potential financial arrangements for the proposed Society. The Trustees feel that this information is important to help understand the potential interrelationship between a potential TPUK York society, and the national body.
“Further information has now been received from representatives of the proposed York society. This will be reviewed by Trustees at a Board meeting that has been convened for 19 August 2020.”
Update 21 August 2020
“YUSU’s Board of Trustees met again on 19 August 2020 after the extraordinary Board convened for 17 July 2020 to discuss the proposed TPUK Society at York was adjourned.
“YUSU’s Trustees have made another request for governance information because the information provided to date remains unclear. The Board feels that this information is important to help understand the potential interrelationship between a potential TPUK York society and the national body.”