2013 in Oxford: review of the year

From the historic OUSU election to missing college tortoises and everything in between, throughout 2013 the OxStu has brought over 15,000 readers the latest happenings from across the University. Before the new year begins, our News Editors Amelia Hamer, Alice Phillips and Nick Toner take a look back at what has made the headlines in Oxford over the last twelve months.

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10. PSY talk ballot rigged

Union President John Lee was criticised in January after it was revealed that Union members were denied a fair chance to attend a talk by South Korean artist PSY. Lee told a friend “you are obviously gonna get on so no need to ballot”, causing anger among Union members who saw the move as unfair given the society’s high membership cost.

9. Jane4Change photoshoot an abs-olute hit

A group of male students went topless in November in support of Jane Cahill’s bid for the Student Union presidency, and were a hit with fellow students and passing Japanese tourists alike. One of two of our OUSU election stories to make the top ten, the piece also sparked a conversation about body image and the nature of campaigning in Oxford.

8. Oxford gripped by Harlem Shake fever

Harlem Shake fever struck Oxford early this year, spreading through the colleges and inspiring impressive displays of dancing skill. Although some videos achieved more notoriety than others, all participants can take pride in knowing that their body-contorting exploits are on the Internet for the world to revel in.

St Hugh's made the headlines both after a bomb scare in June and a drinking society scandal in November. Photo: Michael Coleman
St Hugh’s made the headlines both after a bomb scare in June and a drinking society scandal in November. Photo: Michael Coleman

7. Two year sentence for New student’s festival drug offences

New College student Felix Reade was sentenced to prison in July for possessing and supplying class A, B and C drugs at Shambala Festival, which he had attended the previous summer. His sentence of two years was considered “strong” given his youth and lack of previous convictions, and was said to “send a message” to those intending to deal drugs in Northamptonshire, where he was sentenced.

6. Lashzone users face “severe” penalties

Considering paying 80 quid for that essay that’s keeping you from going to Bridge? Think again. The University was quick to warn students that using Lashzone, a company that emailed Nexus accounts in early 2013 offering on-demand essays, would result in serious repercussions.

5. Controversial emails at St Hugh’s and Pembroke

Two stories of alleged sexism and misogyny broke in quick succession in November. Pembroke’s rugby team was relegated to Division 3 after an email encouraged players to contaminate the drinks of female freshers, while an email from officials of the Black Cygnets – a drinking society at St Hugh’s – compared women to foxes trying to “evade mauling” and “eventual capture by the huntsmen” in the Wahoo nightclub.

4. Bomb scare at St Hugh’s

St Hugh’s also made the news several months earlier. In June, students were evacuated and police and fire services called to the college after a suspicious looking package was found on the premises. The package, at first thought to be a bomb, was destroyed and later confirmed to be a hoax.

3. Firework in Bridge smoking area

A student at St Benet’s set off a firework at one of Oxford’s most popular nightclubs in February. Orme Clarke, the nephew of a prominent baronet and reportedly a member of the notorious Bullingdon Club, was given a fine for causing the disturbance in Bridge’s outdoor smoking area.

2. George Galloway in “racist” walk out

MP, campaigner and former Big Brother contestant George Galloway angrily left a debate at Christ Church in February after discovering that his opponent, Brasenose PPEist Eylon Aslan-Levy, was an Israeli. Galloway returned to Oxford in October, when fellow Brasenose student Jonathan Hunter revealed an Israeli flag during a Union debate and told Galloway he “does not debate with racists”.

1. Louis Trup wins OUSU presidency

Taking the top spot is the result of one of Oxford’s most momentous elections. Louis Trup went from joke candidate to future OUSU President after earning 1,685 votes to beat Jane Cahill, his closest competition, by more than 600 votes. After learning of his decisive victory, Trup said: “We need to engage people. We have done that, we’re going to do that. We’re going to Bridge.”

Top image photo credits, clockwise from top middle: Louis Trup; Aneesh Aggarwal; DavidMartynHunt; Cai Wilshaw; Youtube: Benedict Cohen; www.northamptonchron.co.uk