Four candidates have nominated for the office of Treasurer in the upcoming Oxford Union elections after proposed candidate for Librarian Ayman D’Souza appears to have nominated for the wrong office.
D’Souza, an elected member of the Union’s Standing Committee, had been announced as the Librarian candidate for the ‘Rise’ slate led by current Librarian Sara Dube in a Facebook post on 28th May. Other ‘Rise’ officer candidates announced included Lee Chin Wee, Chair of the Union’s Debate Selection Committee, for Secretary, and Beatrice Barr, also an elected member of the Standing Committee, for Treasurer.
The Oxford Student understands that some individuals associated with the ‘Rise’ team are alleging that D’Souza’s nomination form was replaced with a forged form nominating him for the wrong office. It is also unclear whether ‘Rise’ will choose to put forward D’Souza or Barr as their official Treasurer candidate.
The slate has not yet made public comment on the situation; however, D’Souza has since made a post on his personal Facebook account, stating: “I know I didn’t make this mistake. I know not just because I trust my own ability to check documents, but because I know that I’ve been running with what I believe is a very, very competent team”.
D’Souza went on to explain that when nominating himself, he spilt Korean mayo on the nominating form, but when shown the form again by the Returning Officer, the form was not stained. For this reason, D’Souza claims that the form was forged.
Candidates in the Union elections will have their manifestos formally scrutinised by a panel led by the Returning Officer this weekend. D’Souza’s manifesto, expected to include comparative claims with other Librarian candidates, will likely face problems given his unexpected nomination for a different position.
The surprise problem with D’Souza’s nomination echoes controversy surrounding the election for Treasurer last term, when Lee, then proposed as Treasurer candidate for the ultimately successful ‘Together’ slate, had his nomination invalidated due to holding an insufficient number of qualifying positions.
The nomination of then-independent candidate Shining Zhao for Treasurer allowed ‘Together’ to replace Lee, but no such candidate is available to replace D’Souza on behalf of ‘Rise’ in the election for Librarian. The election will now be contested only by Mo Iman and Spencer Cohen, both elected members of the Standing Committee. They will be representing the ‘Unlock the Union’ and ‘2020 Vision’ slates, led by ex-Treasurer and former Cambridge Union President Amy Gregg and serving Treasurer Charlie Coverman respectively.
This term’s election will be the first contested by three slates since the overturning of a ban on electoral pacts and open campaigning in 2015.
‘Rise’ was contacted for comment.