Tutors at St Hugh’s denied two students permission to run in the JCR committee elections last week.
One of these students, who requested anonymity to avoid further repercussions, said that the Dean had sent e-mails to the personal tutors of roughly five candidates telling them not to allow the students to run.
The candidates in question had been subject to decanal punishment a reprimand from the Dean earlier in the term. The same student did not know what the others had done to be given punishment, but said that he had smashed a window. He paid to repair the window as well as a £100 fine and received a one-year ban from the college bar.
He said: “It was not part of any of our decanal punishments to be prevented from running, nor did he [the Dean] tell us he would intervene in that way, nor the JCR committee.”
He said that in some cases the tutors allowed their students to run regardless, and that “some people implied their tutors were less than happy at being told what to do.”
He could go to the College Principal or the Disciplinary Board to take up the matter, but he said: “The Dean has reminded me every time he says I can go to them that they are capable of rusticating me. I’m not going to complain, because I don’t want to piss him off any more.”
Before hanging up, St Hugh’s Dean Peter McDonald said: “I refuse to comment about internal workings of college to a journalist. You should take it up with the JCR committee”.
JCR President Liam O’Connor said he was unaware who the students denied permission were and what their tutors’ reasons were since they were at the discretion of the tutor.
Cameron Dobbs, JCR Vice-President, said: “They [the tutor and prospective candidate] probably discussed their academic record and how it would affect them regarding their work and welfare.”
A St Hugh’s student who wished to be anonymous “because of the Dean” said: “Given his [one of the refused candidate’s] previous behaviour, the college had some justification in intervening, but perhaps the policy on obtaining tutor’s permission should have been clearer”.
Students have now voted for a new JCR committee. JCR returning officer Matthew Scroggs noted in his Election Report that those candidates who had not obtained tutors’ permission by the specified date were given a two day extension, citing “tutors checking their email less often at weekends” as the most common reason for the lack of permission.