According to the NUSU constitution (Annexe E Appendix 7), an Officer Development Plan is enlisted by Scrutiny Committee where an officer’s performance is deemed “unsatisfactory”. It involves the close monitoring of the officer’s progress, overseen by a Scrutiny officer and member of staff. If improvements are not seen, this is reported back at the following Council and NUSU’s Disciplinary Procedure can be invoked.
Metro Kieran announced the “impeachment” in a Facebook post, describing a “SAD day for democracy” and characterising the ordeal as “merely a witch hunt led by the very bad forces of the Council Swamp”.
Speaking to The Courier, Kieran called the decision “baseless and unconstitutional” citing the fact that this was not a “clear active decision by council”, as the NUSU constitution requires. He insisted: “Metro Kieran works very hard, all day on achieving his manifesto” and declared himself “the greatest scapegoat in the history of NUSU, maybe even the world.”
NUSU Chair of Scrutiny, Haaris Qureshi, told The Courier: “One of Scrutiny Committee’s remits is to monitor Officer performance and act on any concerns raised.”
“Absence in meetings (without apology) and not submitting reports to Council from any Officer would make it difficult for members who have voted this individual in to hold them to account to their responsibilities, which is why it is important for Officers to submit updates regularly.”
In response to the Commuting Students’ Officer’s claims that this action was “unconstitutional”, Qureshi said: “The process Scrutiny Committee has followed is the correct process, as Council unanimously passed the report document with the mandate within to no objections. We have also written to the Commuting Officer to provide this clarification.”
Newcastle students have expressed their upset on Social Media following the announcement. Predominantly sad and laugh reacts on the announcement post accompany a series of posts on Newfess expressing outrage over the incident. One anonymous poster proposed “storming the NUSU building” while another demanded “JUSTICE FOR METRO KIERAN”.
Throughout his tenure, the Commuting Students’ Officer has often been referred to as a “joke candidate”, self-described as a “Very Part Time Officer” on his Facebook page. When asked about this characterisation, Haaris Qureshi said: “I understand the idea of a ‘joke candidate’ as a form of protest. However I do not agree it is a particularly effective form of inciting change.”
“Part of the Commuting Students’ remit is helping students who are feeling isolated and I think we can all agree that that is a topical issue that needs engaging with.”
He continued to point out that there is no distinction in NUSU policy between a “joke candidate” or an Officer who ran on a sincere manifesto.“People are voted in on the promises they made, students have every right to challenge them on these.”
In response, the Commuting Students’ Officer insisted: “Metro Kieran believes himself entirely suitable for the role, and applies the levels of rigour and professionalism that this position warrants.”
Placement onto an Officer Development Plan does not prevent officers from running again for the same position. Metro Kieran has confirmed to The Courier that he will be running for Commuting Students’ Officer in 2021, unopposed.