Postgraduate Students’ Officer Mark Crawford had his desk ‘glitter-bombed’ last week in a suspected act of homophobia
The workspace of acting Postgraduate Students’ Officer Mark Crawford was ‘glitter-bombed’ last week during an event celebrating the results of the UCL Leadership Elections 2018. This is the most recent incident to come to light following a controversial election season, which has seen accusations ranging from corruption to harassment.
‘Glitter bombing’, the act of throwing glitter on individuals, is most often used to protest against those who oppose policies such as same-sex marriage. However, Crawford notes that it is often used to the opposite effect. According to The Tab, Crawford has commissioned a formal investigation into the incident, which he claimed was a “homophobic intimidation tactic”, owing to his status as UCL’s only openly gay Sabbatical Officer. The perpetrator has yet to be identified.
Crawford has found himself at the centre of the controversy associated with the elections. During the results announcement on the night of Thursday 8th March, he was booed following his decision to not shake the hand of his successor Saddiqur Rahmen.
Rahmen had been deducted 0.5% of his votes on account of exceeding the allocated £100 budget for campaigning. He has also had four different complaints levelled against him concerning his campaign behaviour, including a case of verbal abuse against a rival over WhatsApp where he referred to them as a “psycho bitch”.
On Tuesday 13th March, Crawford published a lengthy post on the union’s website in which he described this year’s elections as “a total farce” which have been “unprecedented in their flagrant abuse of basic democratic and electoral standards”. He also dedicated a large section to the recent debate concerning the use of iPads in union elections, and the undermining of union policy to ensure their continued use would be permitted. He described their application as rewarding “banal canvassing over political discussion”.
This post echoed much of the dissatisfaction and political discourse which has erupted throughout the student community following the election. This debate has even been present on Facebook, with a writer on the page ‘UCLoathe’ saying that there is “more political debate and discussion happening on anonymous posts on UCLoathe and UCLove than there was during the actual elections”.
Whilst the perpetrator of the glitter-bombing incident has not been confirmed, Crawford has implied rifts have formed between fellow Sabbatical Officers. He told Pi Media he has been “called a racist for writing that blog post”, and has also been disinvited from meetings. When asked if they were still sharing an office, he replied with “not anymore”.
In his post, Crawford also called out a number of other election candidates, citing eight separate incidents of candidates exceeding the allocated budgets, seven of whom still winning, and stating that five of the seven newly-elected full-time officers had complaints levelled against them. No action has been taken since. A Returning Officer’s Report, containing detailed, but anonymised, information pertaining to these complaints, is scheduled for publishing by the end of this term.
(Featured image credit: Students’ Union UCL)