The Oxford Union has just seen its third resignation from committee in two terms, with some suggesting that the society’s elections have recently seen a rise in “pain and stress”.
Toby Fuller, who had been elected to Standing Committee in the elections held in seventh week last term, has since stood down from his position. Fuller declined to comment on the matter and the reasons for his resignation are unclear. His place was offered to Katherine Connolly, who came runner-up for the position. She subsequently accepted the offer.
The resignation occurred during a meeting of the Standing Committee on the 13th of December. Miss Connolly, although not a member of the Committee, chose to attend and was present when Mr Fuller announced his resignation.
Despite the society’s gruelling and competitive election process, voluntary resignations have become more frequent. Recent resignations have included Becky Howe of Pembroke College from Secretary’s Committee, and Cai Wilshaw, also from St Anne’s College, who resigned from the role of Secretary prior to taking office at the end of Trinity term last year.
Some argue that increased resignations could be linked to the “pressures” of committee elections. A Union insider, who wished to remain anonymous, pointed out the stressful nature of participation in the political aspects of the society: “Perhaps the pressures and strains of Union elections are causing some to think again about their involvement in the Society”.
Abbas Kazmi, a third year historian at New College, said that “more and more unopposed elections” meant that “Union committee positions are less coveted than in the past”.
He added “other societies are competing with the Union in terms of speakers and socials, which means that people can do similar work elsewhere without the pain and stress associated with the elections”.