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Petition launched to sack incoming NUSU president elect because he’s standing as a Tory

Students are calling for a vote of no confidence in Shah Ali following his Tory candidacy for City Council

A petition calling for a vote of no confidence has been created following the news of newly elected 2023/24 NUSU president Shah Yaseen Ali’s Conservative City Council candidacy for Heaton.

Shah was elected as president for the next academic year after receiving 1909 votes, succeeding out of a total of four applicants for the role and with a vote-gap of 7.5 between Re-Open Nominations (RON), who had the most votes in the first round.

Last week, it was announced via a post made to Newcastle Conservatives Facebook page that Shah is the City Council Tory candidate for Heaton.

In his manifesto for the NUSU presidency, Shah focused on students’ struggles during the cost of living crisis, advocating for “more jobs on campus” to support students’ financially and “make a legal advisor available” so students can hold their landlords to account.

The petition highlights how Shah’s Tory candidacy was not declared during his presidential campaign and outlines the requirements needed to remove a sabbatical officer.

The description reads: “NUSU Constitution Annexe E – Appendix 5 – Point 2, in order to remove a Sabbatical Officer from office, a motion of no confidence must be heard and voted on by NUSU council; to trigger such a motion, at least 100 signatures are required from full or honorary members of NUSU (students).”

Students have also exercised their discontent via social media, where an Instagram account was created to encourage other students to vote to re-open presidential candidate nominations (RON) earlier last month.

The bio on the account reads: “We don’t believe that any candidate is fit for the role of president so vote RON because we think you deserve better!”

2022-23 NUSU President Mady Baugh told The Tab Newcastle: “We are aware that some students are considering submitting a motion of no confidence in the forthcoming 2023-24 NUSU president, Shah Yaseen Ali. If received, it will be managed in due process, in line with Newcastle University’s Students’ Union constitution. At this time, we are unable to make any further comment.”

The Tab Newcastle approached Shah Ali for comment. He said: “I am proud to have been democratically elected as the President of Newcastle University’s Student Union.

“Students across our great campus voted for me and my pledges including work to address the cost of living for students by advocating for cheaper prices in our eateries and vending machines, provision of free breakfast for students who need them (piloted at Northumbria Uni) as well as aiming for a targeted reduction of five per cent for international tuition fees.

“These are my priorities, they are also the priorities of the many students who exercised their democratic right to elect me into this position to deliver for them and that is exactly what I have been doing since my election in early March of this year and will continue to do so.

“I believe democracy is a good thing, which is why I have also chosen to stand for the place that I call home, Heaton.

“Students can continue to rely on me to remain laser focussed on their priorities as their President with the added bonus that I may strike lucky and achieve electoral success twice in May, allowing me to deliver, deliver, deliver for the students of Newcastle Uni as well as for the people of Heaton.”

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