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Overwhelmed Union President suspends studies at Stirling

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By Abigail Taylor

UNION President Nelson Acquah shocked supporters and students when he resigned from his post as at the beginning of August, just eight weeks into his twelve-month term. 

Acquah, who was selected at March’s union elections with just a majority of 29 votes, began his term on June 1. 

The 32-year old cited “personal reasons” in his resignation statement but remarked that his election “made history” as the first black and first post-grad student to hold the post. 

His exit now has the additional distinction of having served as one of the shortest sabbatical officers in recent union history. 

The now former president has admitted to Brig that he had become “overwhelmed” by his role as further responsibilities made his job impossible to perform. 

“Looking at the things that I took on at the time, continuing on with the position came along with many responsibilities,” he said. 

While Acquah would not share details of what was preventing him from committing to his sabb position, which came “after [he] took on the role,” he did express that this would have distracted from his ability to implement his mandate. 

“I think if you’re pushing the student agenda, you shouldn’t also be taking on other responsibilities where it wouldn’t affect the students.” 

Two of his opponents – Charlene Gregaitis Schikler and Georgia Laverick – both called for a by-election following his notice, however, they’ve expressed that they would not re-run for the position. 

Acquah said: “I don’t think it’s unfair to the other candidates. It would have been unfair if I knew in advance that I would have these extra responsibilities and I still ran for election.” 

He also believes that whoever succeeds him as president will “be much better qualified than I was.”  

A by-election will be held in October, which was decided by the union’s Board of Trustees. A potential successor will therefore have to suspend their studies.

In the meantime, the three current sabbatical officers will share the role of president ahead of Freshers’ Week and the start of the new academic year. 

“The Board has also confirmed that in line with the union’s constitution and schedules, a by-election will be held in mid-October to provide an opportunity for the vacancy to be filled,” Acquah said. 

“In the meantime, everyone in the Union is focused on delivering for students at the start of a new and exciting term, ensuring we all work together to make students’ lives better.

“The rest of the sabbaticals are extremely up to the task and anyone who steps up to the job will be fine because of them.” 

Acquah hopes to continue his studies at Stirling for his PhD depending on funding following a year out.

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