Molly Mantle has been elected to serve as Oxford Union President in Hilary 2022 in a hotly-contested election. Mantle, the current Librarian and a second-year PPE student from St Hugh’s College, received 402 first preference votes, and defeated Viren Shetty from Christ Church, the current Treasurer who had been backed by the incumbent President Adam Roble and had received 288 first preference votes. 63 people voted to re-open nominations as their first preference.
Mantle’s ‘REACH’ slate had promised an end to the ‘binning’ of invited speakers, a practice where a surplus of invitations are sent out and later withdrawn once term cards begin to take shape. An independent report system for sexual assault and bullying was also on the manifesto, as were soapbox style debates and reduced membership fees.
The ‘OPEN’ slate, led by Shetty, had pledged an online area for Union members to access exclusive events and livestreams, Town Hall style debates, a career database and a ‘Decolonise the Union’ project over multiple terms in an attempt to “deconstruct some of the Union’s white privilege”.
‘REACH’ slate saw all three other candidates elected to officer positions. Rachel Ojo secured the office of Librarian-Elect with 350 first preference votes, and Ahmad Nawaz was also successful in securing the Treasurer-Elect position, also receiving 350 votes. Ananya Chowdhury will serve as Secretary in Michaelmas 2021 with the team elected last term headed by Chengkai Xie, having received 347 votes.
This result comes after the chaos that ensued during hustings on Thursday 10th June, when all attendees in the chamber were ushered out due to a positive COVID-19 case being detected in the chamber.
Chengkai Xie, the President-elect, commented that he was looking forward to working with the candidates elected in Michaelmas 2021.
UPDATE 22:53: Several Union Committee members have commented that this election should not have been decided on certain accusations. They wish that due process had been followed. A previous comment from a senior Committee member has been removed.
The race for Standing Committee and Secretary’s Committee saw candidates from both committees win positions.
The ‘FORWARDS’ slate, an independent team without officer candidates, did not get on any candidates as all candidates either dropped the race or switched slates.
The candidates elected for the Standing committee in order of votes are:
Charlie Mackintosh with 98 first preference votes
Manuel Fieber with 83 first preference votes
Ambika Sehgal with 79 first preference votes
Theo Sergiou with 67 first preference votes
Naman Gupta with 52 first preference votes
The runner up was Anvee Bhutani, the current SU President-elect, who garnered 52 first preference votes.
The candidates elected for the Secretary’s Committee are as follows:
Jen Jackson with 59 first preference votes
Chi Okafor with 48 first preference votes
Maddy Colbourn with 41 first preference votes
James Bromfield with 38 first preference votes
Lucy Banks with 34 first preference votes
Joshua Chima with 32 first preference votes
Matt Barrett with 33 first preference votes
Jacobus Petersen with 30 first preference votes
Ahmed Abdul-Majeed with 26 first preference votes
Alex Fish with 26 first preference votes
Matt Jarvis with 22 first preference votes