20 April | 03:09:35
 
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Kasia Bylinska re-elected as Napier president
Current president issues robust defence in aftermath of vote of no confidence
Sunday, 18 April, 2010 | 15:00
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Credit: Martin Nenov.

Kasia Bylinska has been re-elected as president of the Napier Students’ Association (NSA) after the results were made public on 27 March, following a two week long delay in presenting the outcome.

Ms Bylinska ran for re-election and beat Re-Open Nominations (RON) by 483 votes to 175 in last month's contest.

Her sole opponent, Nathan Sparling, withdrew from the race midway through election week citing "corruption".

On the morning of the election results, Kasia Bylinksa sent out an email to students and attached a point by point rebuttal of the vote of no confidence which was passed against her at the emergency Senate meeting on 12 March.

In the email Ms Bylinksa revealed she had sought independent legal advice from Balfour Manson solicitors.

It read: “Some of you may be aware… that I did not have the easiest year.

“Most recently I have been put ‘on trial’ in my absence at an 'Emergency Senate' initiated by Mr Nathan Sparling, where 26 people decided for the whole student population that they do not have confidence in me.”

Ms Bylinksa said that her non attendance at a meeting of Senate in January was covered by a doctor’s note and she passed on an apology to an NSA staff member.

Another point of criticism in the motion was that Ms Bylinska had not convened the mandatory monthly meetings of the executive in December and January.

She gave reasons as to why these meetings were not held, citing increasingly busy work schedules for many members of the executive who had exams in December.

The reason given for January was that no updated timetables had been released yet for many of the non sabbatical roles still studying.

This is the first public response by Ms Bylinska since she failed to represent herself at the meeting; she said at the time that she had not had adequate time to prepare a defence.

Under the NSA constitution, an emergency meeting of senate can be called if 150 students sign a petition to call for one. An emergency meeting can be called within 48 hours notice.

Nathan Sparling has recently responded to the email via a note on Facebook expressing his anger at the NSA over recent unsettling events.

As previously reported by The Journal, the weeks leading up to the election drew complaints about transparency. This was accompanied by an internal conflict which ultimately led to a vote of no confidence being passed against Ms Bylinska.

During the election new complaints surfaced as errors in the voting system made the privacy of the voters impossible to guarantee.

For a period of time between 8 and 12 March students were able to view up-to-the-minute voting results on the election website, complete with matriculation numbers and corresponding votes cast.

Despite this the elections committee choose to let the election run as planned. However, the results were delayed for a fortnight as independent advice was sought to ensure no irregularities took place.

Justyna Paslawska was elected for treasurer and student activities officer after beating Reese Campbell and Chris Malseed.

The final sabbatical role of campaigns and representation officer was uncontested. Nominations for this role will be closed on 1 April.

Napier's student newspaper, Veritas will have a new leader next year as Coral Condeco won the role of editor.

Aaron Millar was re-elected for the role of business school faculty officer.

The role of International Students' Officer was won by Si Ting Liu, while Postgraduate Students' Officer was won by Dawn Patrick-Brown.

Ms Patrick Brown expressed hopes that something good might come out of the events surrounding the NSA election, and called for a new constitution, free of inconsistencies and fit for purpose, to prevent such a situation from ever arising in the future.

She told The Journal: “I think it's high time that we all pull together and move forward. We [the new officers] all have tons of ideas to try to make things better for our fellow students, and I, for one, am really looking forward to being able to share those ideas.

“We're all really keen to create a supportive, positive environment for all Edinburgh Napier students.”

Further assurance of the official’s wish to serve the student body came at the end of Ms. Bylinska’s official statement, and read:

“I hope that the fact that I did not give up after all that has happened shows you that I really care about Edinburgh Napier students. As long as I will continue to receive your support I will not abandon you.”

The final meeting of senate and the annual general meeting, which all students are encouraged to attend, are scheduled to take place at the Merchiston campus on 20 April.

 

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