A former OUSU Returning Officer is under intense scrutiny this week after facing a motion of no-confidence at OUSU Council for alleged “association” with last year’s rigging of the NUS referendum.
Alexander Walker, a third-year Chemistry student at Wadham College, has been accused in a motion of no-confidence of “improper” and “anti-democratic behaviour” for his oversight of the May 2014 University-wide referendum on NUS affiliation.
Originally producing a ‘No’ vote, the referendum result was declared void following suspicion of vote rigging, with over 1,000 spare voter codes used to vote ‘No’.
The result of last night’s no-confidence motion can be found on The Oxford Student’s website.
Reiterating a statement made last term, when an almost identical motion was brought against him, Walker condemned the motion as a “nasty little vendetta” as well as “factually incorrect” and “totally misleading”.
The motion, proposed by OUSU VP for Graduates Jack Matthews, states that “as a minimum, Alex Walker’s actions and decisions as Returning Officer allowed for the defrauding of the electorate.”
It goes on to note that Walker generated approximately 1,400 more voter codes than there are students at the University, when common practice is to generate only 200. It also claims that, in verbal accounts made within the OUSU offices around the time of the referendum, Walker said he kept copies of the voter codes on his USB drive, which he subsequently lost. Putting spare voter codes onto a USB drive is, the motion claims, “contrary to normal practice”.
Walker resigned as Returning Officer the day after vote rigging revelations emerged, concluding that his position was “no longer tenable”.
Walker told The Oxford Student: “[The motion] will buy Jack [Matthews] an extra few column inches to support what he is pleased to call his political career. Their motion is factually incorrect, omits vital information, is totally misleading, and most of all, just plain silly.”
He went on to say: “I’m not a particular fan of the nauseating Jack Matthews Show, and since my resignation from OUSU I have been better off for its absence. I will now, like every other student at this university, continue to ignore student politicians like Jack and get on with my life.”
The no-confidence motion was seconded by Regent’s Park student Will Obeney.
Photo/Unite Against Fascism