SCAN has published a reponse to the petition by Graeme Osborn, which can be read here. The author of the petition has issued a reply, which has been published by SCAN, and, with permission, republished by Spineless.
The petition, which has exceeded 20% of the signatures required, can be signed here by current students at Lancaster University.
I welcome the response from Graeme Osborn, although I regret that it took a VNC petition for him to engage in some basic transparency. What he did not mention is that I raised many of these points with him directly in December, and he refused to reply.
I appreciate that Mr Osborn is a volunteer, and has given many hours to the governance of LUSU, although whether that has been good governance is for my peers to decide. I believe his response generally misrepresents the balance of power on the Trustee Board, and on Trustee Boards generally. Issues with charity Trustee Boards are well documented and I would find it very hard to believe LUSU is any different.
I remain convinced in the value of greater transparency in the commercial sphere, which would have allowed us to avoid terrible decisions like the Sugarhouse sale. Those present at the AGM would know that his issues with livestreaming the Trustee meetings could easily be worked out if he was willing to engage in good faith.
I reject the notion the Charity Commission quote has been taken out of context. My point still stands even when it is placed in context, and Trustees could still implement changes so that a referendum is binding so far as they agree that either outcome would still be in the interests of the charity. They delegate decision-making to sub-committees on a regular basis, delegating it to a referendum would be no different.
The suggestion that there was no report that decided the Sugarhouse sale conflicts with the Trustee minutes and also emails revealed under FOI. Perhaps he would like to set the record straight once and for all by being transparent about the sale timeline?
It is telling that Mr Osborn has even admitted a failure to oversee elections properly. I believe this is quite a serious admission. As I pointed out, this is a legal requirement.
He says it is not the role of the Trustees to lead the process on future reforms – so why has the Board appointed an external consultant? The actions of the Board seem to conflict with what Mr Osborn is saying. If he cannot respect the collective decision-making of the Board, maybe he should resign.
It is clear Mr Osborn takes his duties as a Trustee very seriously, and I appreciate the dialogue he has now begun. It is now for fellow students to decide on the basis of the statements whether or not he should be subject to a Vote of No Confidence.