In a long line of mishaps involving the City & Guilds College Union, their Vice President (Finance & Societies) Rikki Norris has been criticised for his absence about College, but has now spoken to felix to clarify the situation.

On 21st January, the CGCU’s news website Live! reported that Jenny Wilson had to take up some the slack created by Norris’s absence by processing nearly £2,000 worth of claims. Mr. Norris has since said he has been ill for an “extended period of time”, and feels that the Live! article is largely unfair to him in light of his illness.

His disappearance has been largely condemned by the news website and its readers leaving comments on the article, even citing comments from Union officers such as Deputy President (Welfare) John James. It read ‘John James explained to Live! that he was awaiting a claim of £200 for items he bought on behalf of a Guilds Club at the beginning of December.’ He was reported to be ‘absent without leave’, and many members of the Union and CGCU unaware of the whereabouts. However, Mr. Norris says that he had made contact to explain himself and this matter took some time to transcend through the offices. “Some of the Union officers were aware that I had been ill, but I don’t think that they were aware of the extent of my situation until it became apparent that I had been absent for an extended period of time. As such, the message would not have been passed down to CGCU until the higher echelons of the Union had realised what was going on.”

Live! also reported on the amount of outstanding claims that Mr. Norris hadn’t been able to process, claiming to have ‘found them [claim forms] piling up in the CGCU pigeonhole in Student Activities Centre’. Mr. Norris admitted he needed some assistance in this matter, but has himself been playing catch-up after returning the College.

“The DPCS, Jenny Wilson, very kindly carried out a cheque run in my absence to try and reduce the strain on Guilds clubs. “By the time this has gone to print, I have also carried out a cheque run which should have cleared out all valid outstanding claims.” Mr. Norris took the opportunity to talk to felix to admit he was “rather disappointed” with the Live! website when “no indication of sympathy” was given towards his situation, despite immediate contact and a full explanation.

“Upon seeing the article I immediately contacted the editor to request that he temporarily took the article down, and that upon my return I would happily go through the issues he had raised in order to present a more accurate interpretation of what had been happening to the clubs in CGCU, rather than mere speculation.

After Live! Editor Lawrence Weetman refused to take down or alter the article, stating that the article was “factually accurate.” Mr. Norris found his reluctance to update the article “somewhat unnerving.”

Mr. Weetman was unrepentant about his actions claiming “Rikki [Norris] is more than capable of coming to Live! and posting a comment. If he believes that anything in the article is unfair or untrue then he may, as always, follow the correct complaints procedure or email the editor.”

Mr. Norris has since decided to speak to felix and issue a formal statement. He stated that he is now around College. “I’m around again, not in full capacity, but I’m around and will be operating as Vice President (Finance & Societies) for the CGCU once again. I’ve been in contact with those affected. Normal service will resume shortly.”