A view of Oxford from above

OUCA President Removed by Disciplinary Committee

Caleb van Ryneveld has been removed from his post as President of the Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA).

This follows his announcement of a motion of no confidence in his leadership, which constitutionally requires a Disciplinary Committee hearing to assess the charges.

The committee was “to consider allegations brought by a corporate complaint” against van Ryneveld. Such a panel is typically made up of the President, Returning Officer, Senior Deputy Returning Officer, former Returning Officers, former Presidents, and the President-Elect. However, those impacted by the case could not take part.

Complaint and defence had five witnesses each asking whether he had breached rules 5(1)(a)(i), 5(1)(a)(ii), 5(1)(a)(iv), and 5(1)(a)(v) of the OUCA constitution. The hearing was held on the 17th May, and President-elect Peter Walker announced via email today that van Ryneveld was found guilty for “three out of four of the counts against him”. 

Guilty counts included “[bringing] the Association into disrepute or to undermine any of its objectives as listed in Rule 1(3)”. Alongside this risk to the association, he had “substantially failed in his obligation as President” and even verbally abused a committee member.

In response, van Ryneveld was sentenced to removal from presidency, alongside having his membership suspended for the rest of Trinity term. He has since called the charges against him “politically motivated and comprehensively untrue” in comments to Cherwell.

Van Ryneveld’s promise of an “Extraordinary General Meeting” for a vote of no confidence was also clarified, with the committee asserting that “never existed a motion of no confidence in him”.

The controversy stems from his initial email on 12th May proposing constitutional reform to increase “transparency and faith” in elections to OUCA’s offices, pointing to the selection of the new RO as an example of the current “crisis”. In contrast, the association has supported the validity of this process.

His “temporary suspension” was announced by president-elect Peter Walker on 14th May due to the “serious and urgent threat” at hand. Walker has since announced the committee findings in further email correspondence, officially calling off the meeting van Ryneveld had planned for tomorrow.

Now as the Acting President of OUCA, Walker has expressed hope for “the rest of what promises a very successful term”.