A petition, entitled ‘Vote of No-Confidence in Harry Anderson as President of Liverpool Guild’, has today risen to 1,190 signatures.
The petition was started by Thomas Powell, a member of the LMSS (Liverpool Medical Students Society) and fourth year medical student, on Friday. This is two days after the Liverpool University and Guild of Students informed members of the LMSS that their society had been ‘de-ratified’, after a year-long investigation into it on the grounds of complaints from students and members of the society, their use of themes of rape and drugging in their yearly concert, segregated social events, as well as unwillingness to co-operate with the Guild’s financial and conduct policies. The Guild and University asked for medical students to come forward to build a new society, however the LMSS was an established society, stating on its website that it is over 140 years old, and made up over 7% of the student body.
What this petition will mean is unclear. Yesterday Thomas Powell presented its results to the University’s Vice Chancellor, Janet Beer, as it has reacher the required 3% (713 students) of signatories that are needed to hold a no-confidence vote. However, Powell refused to speak on the long-term aims of the petition at this point, stating that it isn’t a personal matter and that ‘the petition speaks louder than I do’. Comments on the petition are largely those of past and present medical students, with several from medical students’ parents and one from from a student who disagrees.
According to the Guild’s bylaws, all that sign a valid petition must be students and, given the unclear nature of the signatories’ identities through the platform of change.org, there is no guarantee of this. While they signed using their university e-mail accounts, this is a piece of information that is available to both students and staff through the university-wide Outlook e-mail system. Previous successful petitions, such as that proposing the BDS motion, which recently passed after a Guild preferendum, have used other details, such as student numbers, as evidence that those signing are students. We have been made aware, however, that the Guild is currently processing the signatories on the change.org petition.
Harry Anderson also refused to comment on the progress of the petition. However, if this, or a petition like it, is successful, there will have to be a referendum, which will, in turn, succeed if two thirds of the votes cast are against the president. However, there is nothing to signify that this will allow for the ‘re-ratification’ of the LMSS.