President vows to clean up Union

University News

Earlier this week Maria Rioumine outlined a number measures to reform the running of speaker events at The Oxford Union.

The President has announced an overhaul of the ballot system which selects guests for speaker events in the wake of revelations in The Oxford Student that the current process was compromised for the PSY event.

A Union spokesperson confirmed that a random ballot would continue to be used if there is “overwhelming demand” for a particular speaker, but added that this “will take place at a public meeting, open to any member of the society”. They added: “It should be noted that we have only had two balloted events in the past two years.”

While committee members organising and managing the events will “continue to be given priority admission”, the spokesperson added: “There will be no preferential treatment whatsoever for friends of the President or any other committee members.”

Rioumine also intends to reward participants in the Thursday debates with a place at the drinks reception following the events. The spokesperson said: “Anyone who makes a floor speech on the night will be invited to the after-debate drinks reception.

“We would like to remind those members interested in particular events or particular speakers that they can email detailing their interest if they would like to be considered to attend the drinks reception. Any member can request to see other members’ proposals.”

A source from inside the Union commented: “While I would say a lot of this is Maria’s influence, the idea that the Union can have a reputation for corruption, however false that reputation may be, can’t go on and here we have a chance to sweep the stable clean.

“These reforms aren’t in any way world-changing but they are a start. We are looking at this term as a chance for the Union to redeem itself.”

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