Campaigns is one of the standing committees of Hull University Union. A standing committee is like a society, but has its own office and resources and a place on the HUU Executive. The group is concerned primarily with issues affecting students, although when I was a member its campaign areas also included the environment, ethical business, and human and animal welfare. In 1996/97, the Chairperson was elected by the members, but from the following academic year the position was filled by a Union-wide election.
I joined Campaigns at the HUU Societies' Bazaar in September 1996, remaining a member until I left University. During semester 1 (1st half) of 1996/97, I was unable to attend meetings due to my timetable, but after that I attended whenever I could. Later in my first year, I set up the Green Transport Campaign; due to a lack of members, however, nothing happened with this group.
In September 1997, I was appointed Campaigns' Website Editor. I included in the site information about Campaigns and its activities, plus articles written by members and links to sites relevant to the group's campaigns. On the home page, I gave the names and E-mail addresses of the Chairperson and Website Editor, although had I thought of it I could have included a page listing all the Executive members. Also in Autumn 1997, Campaigns started publishing A Green Guide To Hull, and I distributed copies to my friends and left some on display at chess matches.
In Autumn 1998, the Chairperson asked me to compile a full E-mail list of members. Having done this, I decided that the best way to get it to him was to send a single message to everyone on the list. With the HUU elections approaching, I sent a message to all the students in my E-mail address book, openly recommending for election any Campaigns members who were standing, plus one other person (The E-mail system I used at University displayed the names of E-mail lists to which I sent a message). I saw nothing wrong with this at the time: I had recommended particular candidates to those of my friends outside Campaigns during the previous year. However, the Chairperson said I should not have done it, and added that I had left out one member (who had not yet signed the membership list) who was standing against the non-member I had recommended. I therefore sent out an apology. I was later told my actions were illegal, and that the Campaigns candidates were nearly expelled from the elections, although I do not understand this. I would have done better to follow the Chairperson's suggestion of using the Campaigns E-mail account to compile the E-mail list, although this could only be done when he and I were both available; had I thought of it at the time, I could have suggested adding a second list consisting of people who were interested in Campaigns but who were not members of the group, an idea I later used for the Chess Club.
I used the full E-mail list to share any ideas I had for Campaigns, plus information about Hull University Chess Club. Again, I did these things the previous year, with a shorter E-mail list. Also, I had been sharing information about Campaigns with my friends in the Chess Club and elsewhere. However, I again received complaints about my actions. When I sent out one message about chess, I therefore removed all those I knew were not interested in chess, and said so. When a few other members said they too were not interested, I sent out a message promising to send chess messages only to those who said they were interested in chess. In March 1999, after a discussion with the new Chairperson, I did the same with respect to my messages about Campaigns.
There were some who chose to link my actions to my work as Website Editor. In March 1999, it was decided that I could no longer hold that position. This, however, was unnecessary, given that I was leaving University at the end of the year and therefore had to give up the position at that time anyway. In the event, I held the position until the end of the year, because I was not told who the new Website Editor would be. I E-mailed the website files to the Chairperson shortly before I left University.
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