Cambridge Union by-election sees Michael Black take top spot

Laurence Tidy 15 March 2012

Michael Black was elected Easter 2012 President of The Cambridge Union Society yesterday in a by-election held after the President-Elect, David Leigh, resigned for ‘academic reasons’.

Black gained 157 votes, beating Rumen Cholakov (29 votes) and Owen Holland (46 votes). In the Treasurer by-election, Lily Shaw won uncontested, with 176 votes.

In his manifesto Black promised to ‘continue working to invite a broad range of speakers that appeal to different interests’. Shaw, who was nominated by Black, aimed to ‘work with local business to secure funding’ and ‘use our advertising capacities to their fullest extent; for example, by ensuring that the termcard encompasses both external businesses as well as Cambridge societies’.

Leigh, a second year PPS student at St Catharine’s, decided to resign for “academic reasons”. The Union said they: “fully support David’s decision and we wish him all the best for the future”.

Owen Holland, who stood for the Union Presidency in the by-election, has been banned rusticated for 7 terms for his part in the Lady Mitchell Hall protests and occupation last time. You can read the story here.

Holland, in his manifesto, proposed to ‘organise debates on the nature of free speech’. He also criticised the Union for some of its recent invited speakers.

‘Had I been president this term, I would have heeded the call of the CUSU Women’s campaign to disinvite DSK. In 2011, I would not have offered a platform to a speaker from ‘Stop the Islamification of Europe’. Why? Because the concept of ‘free speech’ ought not to be treated in an undifferentiated manner, especially given the prestige associated with the Union’s platform(s).’

Laurence Tidy