OCA may get “U” back

Oxford Conservative Association is one step closer to reaffiliating to the University this week after they applied to approval from the Proctors.

During hustings in Trinity term 2009, it was alleged that OCA members partook in, and encouraged, racist joke-telling. In response, the Proctor’s ordered that OCA disaffiliate.

They have not been allowed to include the word “University” in their name since, and were banned from OUSU’s Fresher’s Fair.

After three terms functioning separately from the University, OCA only needs sign-off from the Vice-Chancellor before they will once again be known as OUCA.

OCA has satisfied the Proctors for the minimum period of two terms and was entitled under University regulations to re-apply for permission to use the Oxford University name, a University spokeswoman said.

One OCA member, Hubert Magreevy, said the society had changed for the better since disaffiliation.

“[Former President] Oli Harvey did an excellent job to normalise it. We’re now a bit more like Oxford University Labour Club – more in touch with local candidates, and doing more campaigning,” he said.

Magreevy said the racist joke incident was extremely “embarrassing” and “regrettable”, and represented the views of only a minority.

“Someone is bound to do something non-PC every now and then in a right wing society,” he said.

Those outside the society were less welcoming of re-affiliation. OULC co-chair Stephen Bush said OCA regaining its U was “not a good thing”.

“The people who made that joke are still at the university. If I had written something that racist on my college wall, I would be rusticated,” Bush said.

Bush claimed the university’s punishment had not gone far enough.

“The punishment should fit the crime. They just punished OCA to get the press off their backs,” he said.

OUSU President Stefan Baskerville said OCA would be allowed back at the Freshers’ Fair at the discretion of the next OUSU President.

“Affiliated societies are given priority over non-affiliated ones. If OCA have received approval from the Proctors to become OUCA again, I imagine they will probably be at the fair in October,” Baskerville said.