Pelican regrets to inform you that we have temporarily pulled our “25 Days of Guild Elections, Day 18: It’s all Fun and Games Until…”, post in order to protect both ourselves and the magazine, due to a formal complaint having been made against us to the university. We were advised by the Managing Director of the UWA Student Guild that the university would “not be taking our side” on the issue. The post was originally taken down without our consent or knowledge, ostensibly for our “protection”.
We did not want to publish those screenshots. We did not want to receive them in the first place. For us, the whole situation was lose/lose. But once they came into our hands, as the person who leaked them to us no doubt knew, we had no choice.
The Guild President is a paid position – in fact, you pay for it. It is a position of enormous power and influence. It is also a representative position. Representative of all genders.
You, as a voter, had a right to know.
The people whose names are in the screenshots have chosen to put themselves in the public eye – they have been elected to lead faculty societies all over campus. They make decisions that affect the academic and social lives of thousands. They have made promises that they are here for UWA students. Women students included.
The screenshots are recent. They are from this year. Guild campaigns are months in the making – perhaps the strangest thing about this whole incident is that those involved would have already known that they would be running in an election.
Social media is not a private sphere. Furthermore, the fact that this Facebook group, in its description, implored members to “add whoever”, indicates that its privacy was never of any particular concern. The lack of forethought is astounding, and the views expressed in the group are even more astounding.
University may not always seem like the ‘real world’, but that is an illusion. The people who participated in this Facebook group are adults, and unfortunately, their decisions have adult consequences.
One final point – the screenshots were taken a few months ago. It is clear that certain people have known of this group and its content for a while. The fact that they chose to wait until the two men involved were already running in a guild election to leak this information is very telling of their intentions. This behaviour should have been reported before the election ballot was announced, so that due university process could take place.
Unfortunately, by the time we became aware of the screenshots, publishing them was the only action we felt we could take. We thought that students deserved to be informed before they started voting on Monday, and it was apparent to us from the start that we would have to take the fall for doing what we continue to believe was the right thing.
Kat and Lucy
86th Editors of Pelican Magazine
This post was edited on September 21st at 1:33pm.