This week has seen a spate of unconventional nominations in JCR elections, with candidates pledging the abolition of democracy, deer racing and the capture of the staff lodgings.
Michael Rundle, running for JCR President at Teddy Hall, pledged a bronze statue of himself in the front quad, while Magdalenite Mohammad Wadud promised as President to “use all the best ideas from everyone else’s manifestos”.
Meanwhile, at Trinity, Tom Treherne ran unopposed for Environment and Ethics Rep on a platform of “addressing your needs before trees or badgers”.
Wadud nominated for JCR President with the slogan “What a dude”. Claiming to be able to lift 105kg, he not only undertakes to “lift weights”, but also “weighty issues”, such as poverty. He also promises to make Magdalen a sovereign state, introduce deer racing and organise officiated FIFA apologies.
In his speech at JCR hustings, where students were receptive of his nomination, he spoke of the “path to glory” and produced a boom box at the end of his speech.
However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Wadud – his original campaign poster was banned due to its phallic imagery.
An anonymous Magdalen third year, who wished only to be identified as #robmangan, said he supported Wadud’s nomination due to “dissatisfaction with the JCR”. He said that his policies “encompass a completely revolutionary view of the world, with Mohammad and Magdalen at its centre.”
St Edmund’s Hall student Rundle’s presidential campaign includes pledges to abolish democracy to “prevent poor electoral turnout” and his manifesto asks: “Why have a President when you can have a Lord Marshall?”
In his speech to the JCR, Rundle claimed that college rivalry was a pressing issue and vowed to solve this by creating “the first JCR army”. The candidate, who compares his leadership style to “Napoleon or Moses”, wants to “lead the JCR into a new age of glory”.
When asked how he would demand change from college, he cited “aggressive twerking” and “coming in like a ‘wrecking ball’” as possible methods.
At Trinity, Enivironment and Ethics Rep candidate Treherne promises to “support continued free, unlimited, colour printing in college” and to “campaign for better, high energy light-bulbs for rooms”.
Treherne’s manifesto also includes a picture of him standing beside a Range Rover.
In JCR hustings, Treherne argued that he was interested in the “microscopic, not the macroscopic environment”. He stated “life in college is the most important thing – having a good social life, having friends, a good career… [is] better than an otter’s life being increased by 20 minutes”.
It has been suggested that Louis Trup, a candidate in this week’s OUSU elections, may have inspired these nominations.
Speaking to The Oxford Student, Trup said: “If these students are making a point, then well played them. If they are just doing it for the lolz, that’s also fine, because that’s what we have with a democracy.”
Trup added: “I reckon their inspiration was faith that students can get shit done. Either that or they are just bloody funny”. He promises to work with these candidates to come up with “genuinely interesting stuff” should he be elected on Thursday.
Treherne justified his nomination by claiming that it was an “overly eccentric way to raise awareness about general apathy toward environment and ethics”.
He added: “I said exactly what they didn’t want to hear to get people to discuss and debate the issues, and no one was quite sure whether I was serious or not… I think I acted a bit too well”.
During hustings, medical student Alex Shavick asked: “Could RON do a better job than you?”
Treherne responded: “Probably”. He duly lost the election to Re-Open Nominations (RON) on Friday last week.
Treherne was not disappointed with the result – he claims he even voted RON against himself. He said that the people who voted for him – twenty-five students – were “proving his point that many people really don’t care about JCR elections”.
Anonymous Magdalenite #robmangan said: “These campaigns highlight the ridiculousness of student politics… their policies are often barely discernable from those of genuine candidates”.
Referring to OUSU slate Jane4Change, he said: “The fact that a serious candidate for the OUSU elections [using] the phrases ‘tea mug painting’ and ‘make OUSU relevant’ in the same point highlights this problem”.