Voting for the vacant position of OUSU Vice-President for Graduates commenced on Tuesday of 7th week, with only one candidate in the running.
Jack Matthews, an experienced former OUSU executive officer and former President of the University’s Conservative Association, hopes to be elected this week.
Voters can make the choice between Matthews or re-opening nominations for the position.
This by-election follows the resignation of Yasser Bhatti in January, who cited “family reasons” for his departure. The successful candidate will serve for the final four months of the academic year until the end of Trinity term 2015, upon which the Vice-President Graduates elect for 2015/16, Nick Cooper, will step into the role.
Under current OUSU electoral regulations, the VP Graduates elect is unable to run in the by-election.
In his manifesto, Matthews has pledged to work to rebuild Common Room support for MCRs, make further progress on the issue of accommodation, have an open dialogue with the community to prevent further incidents such as Castle Mill,
Matthews has also pledged to apply pressure on welfare issues, graduate funding and student visas.
At the central hustings held at St John’s College, Matthews also confirmed that, if elected, he will seek to work with the VP Graduates elect on some of the issues that they have a mandate to be working on from Michaelmas 2015.
Speaking on the by-election and graduate participation in general, Francisco Camargo, a graduate student at Brasenose College, said: “It is important that we have representation in OUSU! However, it is a shame that most graduates don’t know enough about it to engage in the by-election and make their vote count, making use of the fact that OUSU is well established as a means of communication between students and other organisation within the city and the university.
“Often people have concerns and don’t realise they can be heard”.
Matthews, an Earth Sciences student at University College, led the No campaign for last year’s University-wide referendum on NUS-affiliation, and is a regular fixture at OUSU Council meetings.