Queen Mary Students' Union overrules members on sports team merger

Queen Mary Students’ Union’s Board of Trustees has overruled a vote at its Annual Members’ Meeting to keep the sports teams of the college and its medical school separate.

Members voted in favour of Queen Mary and Barts and The London continuing to compete separately in British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS) competitions in February. However, the trustees decided in June that the two will compete as a “single entity” under the name “Queen Mary (Barts and The London Medics)” from 2013/14 onwards.

Their decision follows a BUCS review which decided to prevent medical students competing for both their medical school and parent university.

Keeping the teams at Queen Mary separate would make fielding women’s rugby and basketball teams impossible according to Kayah Abdulmajed, the incoming Mile End sports officer. In the context of the union’s Diversity and Equality Policy, the trustees ruled that this would be unacceptable.

But Andrew Smith, the outgoing vice-president of the Barts and The London Student Association (BLSA), called for a delay on overriding the members’ vote until a “more objective review” took place.

He said keeping the teams separate “preserves the identity and heritage of both institutions.”

Sarah Sawar, the incoming union president, disagreed and supported the trustees’ decision. She said: “We have individuality across the campuses and that is something special, but that does not mean that we are separate.”

Michael Woods, president of Queen Mary’s men’s rugby, told QMessenger: “We fail to understand why BUCS have felt the need to enforce change when we feel there was no problem with the previous system”.

Eleanor Matthews, president of Queen Mary’s women’s rugby, voiced support for the trustees’ decision. She told the newspaper that “the other option would have completely devastated mine and several other sports club.”

Ivy Lim, from Queen Mary’s women’s basketball team, shared this view. She said that had the teams remained separate, “in terms of club development, our good work from the past three years would’ve been in jeopardy”.

Adrian Polglase, London Student: Issue 1 (16/09/2013)