Anvee Bhutani has won the SU’s by-election for the role of President for the academic year 2021-22.
She was elected at Stage 11, amassing 655 votes and narrowly beating out Yannis Baur, who amassed 649 votes. The two were the top two ranked candidates throughout the 11 stages. The full election results breakdown is available on the SU website.
In total, 2056 votes were cast, which is a 146% increase on the previous election. The election was record breaking in a number of ways, as it not only achieved the highest ever turnout for a by-election (beating the previous record set in Trinity term 2016 for the VP Charities and Community by-election), the highest ever number of candidates running in an SU President election (11 candidates) and even beat previous leadership election records set in 2010 and 2020.
With regards to colleges, Keble students placed the highest number of votes in this round of voting.
Anvee’s manifesto had included points such as creating an Oxford and Colonialism hub in order to push for a more diverse curriculum, lobbying for more mental health funding, working alongside Turl Street Homeless Action to tackle homelessness and increasing welfare resources to suspended students.
The previous successful candidate for the role of the SU President was Rashmi Samant, a graduate student who stepped down from the role mere days after her election in February. She had faced condemnation from JCRs and SU campaigns following a series of controversial statements, which included several social media posts described as both ‘racist’ and ‘insensitive’. These included a holocaust pun on a post about visiting the Berlin Holocaust Memorial in 2017 and an Instagram caption on a picture of herself in Malaysia that read “Ching Chang”. Samant had also attracted criticism for a campaign post caption that separated women and trans women.
When reached for comment, Anvee Bhutani told the Oxford Student, “Oxford has historically been a place for the white elite to attend University, so to even be here feels like a great honour. I never imagined I’d one day be standing for the Presidency of the SU and have the chance to represent the entire student body and I feel so humbled to have won.
“The SU fundamentally needs to be a union that fights for students’ rights and I’m really excited to have run on a platform to bring reform to four key areas: access and academics, community affairs, welfare and mental health, and societies and clubs. I want the SU to go back to being a hub that supports students and provides them with the resources they need. I’d genuinely like to extend a massive thank you to everyone to voted for me. I’m so excited for where I’ll take things with the other Sabbatical officers this year and I am eternally grateful for your support.”