Dramatic Student Council ends in officer resignation

NUSU Marginalised Genders Officer, Emily Sherwood, publicly resigned at Student Council

James Sproston
13th February 2018
NUSU President Ronnie Reid looks on as Marginalised Genders Officer Emily Sherwood presents their motion | Image: Jared Moore

Emily Sherwood publicly resigned as NUSU Marginalised Genders Officer at Student Council following the defeat of their motion to ‘Support the Upcoming UCU Strike Over Pensions’.

In a scathing speech, Sherwood denounced the Students’ Union for the lack of support in their, and other Part-time Officers’, campaigns and efforts throughout the year so far.

After depositing their purple PTO hoodie and NUSU badge on the desk by the Chair of Council, Errol Kerr, Sherwood delivered their speech before returning to their seat in the Council Chamber.

Sherwood had earlier proposed a late notice motion to support lecturer strikes in protest of measures to change employer pension contributions. Holly Waddell, Newcastle University Feminist Society, Newcastle University Labour Society, Newcastle University Working Class Students Network, Young Greens, Hannah Fitzpatrick, and Zoë Godden seconded the motion.

"I am pretty disappointed about missing the raffle at the end though, but I guess that’s what you get when you decide to stick to your principles.”

Emily Sherwood, former NUSU Marginalised Genders Officer

Afterwards, Sherwood said: “The tension in council was so thick you could cut it with a knife. A lot of people had registered who hadn’t ever been to council before because they were so passionate about the upcoming UCU industrial action. It was a surreal feeling standing up before a podium, as it’s something I’ve never done before.

“I would normally avoid it at all costs but the motion to support the strike was crucial to determining the stance the union would take. For me, this motion was critical in deciding what sort of union NUSU is and aims to be: either a union which acts like one and supports on-campus struggles, or an institution which functions only in the interests of university management.

“After already experiencing a lack of support and feeling alienated by the actions of members of NUSU, I made the decision that I would not want to represent the sort of union NUSU has become. I resigned then and there, detective style, handing my hoodie and badge to Errol.

"I am pretty disappointed about missing the raffle at the end though, but I guess that’s what you get when you decide to stick to your principles.”

At the time of writing, no formal resignation has been received by the Union.

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