Controversy and debate continues to rage over the passage of the plant-based commitment motion last week.
Turnout figures for the general meeting and the passage of the motion have been released, with just 70 (55.4% of the 127 students at the general meeting) from a student body of 17,000 voting it through.
Speaking to Brig, the proposer, and chair of Stirling University Labour Society, Aaron Caulfield, has defended attendance.
When questioned on how the motion can be carried through from such a low number of students, Caulfield acknowledged declining student engagement, but pointed out that “it is not in any way an unusual turnout for a Student Union meeting.”
He went on to reference far lower attendance in previous years and said that “if it is not the view of the Student Union to go forward with this, it should make it known at the next meeting.”
When questioned on whether they would favour reaching out to the wider student body to strengthen their democratic mandate, seconder, and secretary of the Vegan and Rights for Animals Society (VERA), Imogen Robertson, spoke of disappointment and an intention to educate.
“The mandate not being as strong as we’d have hoped is an issue.”
They continued: “A lot of it does come from our personal opinions on animal ethics and environmentalism”, but made it clear “we are basing this on solid science […] we are not pulling this out of thin air.”
Caulfield has stressed that they will work with the Union and consult with students on how to implement the motion. He outlined that they have set a transition period so that “the views of students and the Union can be considered in a constructive way.”
Aaron did acknowledge “the mandate is 55%” but “as long as it is there I will work with the mandate I have.”
Featured Image Credit – The Vegan and Rights for Animals Society