The motion, proposed by Sam Hicks, praised RON’s commitment to the life of the college, stating: “RON has proven himself an active political force in the JCR, having stood for every position in at least the last five years.”
RON’s ‘success’ in the St John’s recent presidential JCR elections was cited as a particular reason for the motion. In the election last term, RON received 40 per cent of the vote, winning 74 votes out of 185, defeating both the other candidates, Harry Kind and Shyam Thakerar, by margins of 11 per cent and nine per cent respectively.
The motion continued: “The only reason that RON has not been allowed to take up office is that he is not a JCR member.”
It was proposed that, as reward for his sterling political efforts, RON should be awarded the status of honorary member “in recognition of the work he has put in standing for every role simultaneously”.
Staunchly defending the outlandish proposal, Hicks commented: “Our JCR has a serious side and a less serious side, and this is part of its less serious side.
“I intended the motion to be a joke motion. There were no serious implications of me wanting to add RON to the list of honorary members.”
The motion, however, fell by one vote amidst confusion over its constitutional implications.
Shaheen Pishbin, a third year St John’s student studying Spanish and Persian, clarified the situation: “[Sam Hicks] proposed a motion to make RON an honorary member of the JCR as a bit of a joke, given his/her recent prevalence in JCR politics. Some students, however, felt the motion presented constitutional problems, as technically, honorary members can’t run in elections, and so the motion narrowly fell.”
The St John’s spirit of diplomacy and political fairness came to the fore, explained Pishbin: “A compromise was suggested of having a cardboard cut-out representing RON present at JCR meetings”.
Yet, the motion had contentious undertones given RON’s surprise victory in the JCR Presidential election in Michaelmas this year.
There was further chaos in the restaged elections in 7th week of Michaelmas, when results were temporarily nullified, owing to a radical discrepancy between the number of voters and ballot papers, after a total of nine votes were unaccounted for.
St John’s JCR already has a long roll call of honorary members who are considered to have made valuable contributions to the history of the college. The list currently includes the full cast of Mr Men, Honduran footballer Najar, Tigger, the characters of classic BBC science fiction series Blake’s 7, Gandalf the Grey, and the esteemed nautical hero, Captain Jack Sparrow.
In other JCRs of late, similar issues have caused complications in voting procedures. Earlier this term, the Teddy Hall JCR passed a motion ruling that honorary members could not stand for positions in the JCR committee, as a means of clearing up the constitutional ambiguity.
The Oxford Student identified at the time that this denied Jenna Jameson, notable contributor to the adult film industry, the possibility of being elected JCR president or female welfare rep, along with Kylie Minogue, Jeremy Paxman, and Tom Cruise.