Youth Fight for Jobs & Education activist Sean Boyle has been removed from his position as Lisburn Campus President of SERC Students’ Union following a vote at a meeting of the Union’s Executive yesterday. He is accused of bringing the union and college into disrepute. This follows a speech Sean made at the recent conference of NUS-USI (the students’ movement in Northern Ireland), where he criticised the rest of the SERC SU delegation for voting consistently with the outgoing leadership rather than voting in the interests of the students they are meant to represent. For example, they voted against building a fight-back to stop cuts to EMA. Youth Fight for Jobs & Education has led a campaign against the proposed cuts to EMA which the outgoing NUS-USI leadership signed up to.
A series of democratic norms have been breached by SERC staff and the Union Executive in an attempt to silence Sean. For example, immediately after his speech, he was removed from the conference floor and told his voting rights were revoked by SERC staff, who have no authority to do either. Attempts were made to intimidate Sean by telling him he could be removed from his course. The Union Executive originally planned to remove Sean from his position without giving him the chance to defend himself at the meeting. When he found out and demanded he attend, he was simply shouted down. He is now appealing the decision to the SERC Board of Directors.
This is a bureaucratic attack on free speech, the right to effective organisation and the independence of the students’ movement from management. Sean has been heartened by the support he has got from ordinary students who support his stand against the proposed cuts to EMA and his belief in the need for a fighting students’ movement. No one has the right to remove him from his position but the students who elected him.
As part of a campaign for his reinstatement, we call on activists in the trade unions and students’ movement to send messages of protest, demanding Sean’s reinstatement, to the following addresses (copy and paste into the address bar): –
SERC Board of Directors
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
SERC SU Executive
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
CC your message to the outgoing and incoming NUS-USI leaderships:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please forward this message on to trade union and students’ movement activists across Britain and Ireland. For more information, feel free to contact me on 07941841092.
Yours in solidarity,
Youth Fight for Jobs & Education NI