Oriel to quit OUSU after referendum ruling

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Oriel’s JCR is set to disaffiliate from OUSU, ending a three-month dispute over its membership.

A referendum last term saw a vote in favour of leaving, but a dispute over procedure led new JCR Vice President Adam Goldthorpe to get a “binding” recommendation from a Law tutor at the college.

The tutor ruled on Sunday that abstentions in the referendum did not count under Oriel’s constitution, meaning that the result stands.

The ruling ends a long-running saga which saw the previous Returning Officer resign after OUSU President Tom Rutland received a copy of the proposition’s arguments in advance.

“There were procedural issues stemming from a lack of concrete guidance in the JCR constitution, from which we are keen to move on in a timely and constructive manner,” Ianthe Greenwood – Oriel’s JCR President – said last week.

“In order to do so the JCR has asked an independent adjudicator to review the referendum and provide suggestions, which the JCR has agreed to accept as binding.”

Tom Rutland, OUSU President, said the move was “a shame”.

“Much of the discussion that took place concerned OUSU’s policy positions – including OUSU’s response to the Vice-Chancellor’s suggestion that undergraduate fees should rise anywhere up to £16,000. OUSU took a strong stance on the VC’s comments on fees – and it was absolutely right to do so.”

“Of the 23 JCRs that discussed the issue, 20 of them voted to condemn the statement and back OUSU’s position. I won’t apologise for representing the majority view of students on this – that’s precisely what OUSU’s here to do,” he added.

The decision will last for the rest of this academic year. Currently, the only other disaffiliated college is Trinity.

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