Voting has opened in the OUSU elections for 2017/18, following a fortnight of campaigning and hustings.
The two candidates for President, Kate Cole and Vivian Holmes, are running on opposing slates which endorse students for the other sabbatical positions.
Cole’s slate is entitled ACTion (which stands for accountable, consistent and transparent), and includes Katy Haigh for VP for Women, Josh Rampton for VP for Welfare and Equal Opportunities, and the unopposed Catherine Canning running for VP for Access and Academic Affairs.
The Stand Up for Oxford slate, led by Holmes, includes Catherine Kelly for Vice-President (VP) for Women, Farheen Ahmen for VP for Welfare and Equal Opportunities, and Tom Barringer, running unopposed for VP for Charity and Community. Three of the NUS delegate candidates – Ellie Dibben, Ellie MacDonald, and Niamh White – are also attached to the Stand Up campaign.
Neither slate ran a candidate for VP for Graduates.
Speaking to the Oxford Student, Cole said: “The last couple of weeks have been an absolute whirlwind, but the whole ACTion team are so excited that voting is finally just around the corner. We’ll be out on the streets for the next three days encouraging Oxford to vote, so feel free come and find us if you have any questions about our campaign. We’re pledging an OUSU that looks after everyone, and we’d love to see a high turnout to reflect that, so we hope you #takeACTion tomorrow and vote for an Accountable, Consistent and Transparent sabbatical team.”
On behalf of the Stand Up campaign, Holmes said: “Campaigning’s been a lot of work and we’ve all learned a lot, but the main thing I’ve realised over the last few weeks is just what amazing, dedicated people I’m running with. I truly believe our candidates could change Oxford for the better, with concrete, important pledges, a wealth of experience, and genuine commitment to the education, liberation, and welfare of every last student here. So, I really hope we’ve done a good enough job in making sure that the electorate sees that as well!”
Both candidates campaigned heavily on mental health issues at Oxford, promising to provide greater support networks for those who need them. Cole and Holmes were also critical of the TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework), a governmental assessment of higher education institutions which some say may lead to tuition fee increases as certain universities.
The OUSU president, along with the five sabbatical positions also up for election this week, will be responsible for representing the University’s 22,000 students.