The Oxford Union has passed a motion to introduce a new office of Librarian-Elect, at a vote held before the debate last Thursday.
If put into effect, the next Union elections will see members voting not only for the Librarian to serve during the oncoming term, but also for the one after. This system is already used for the positions of President and Treasurer.
Union press officer Alistair Walker said that the office of the Librarian-Elect is designed to “give our members even greater access to top speakers.”
However, at least one current member of Standing Committee has questioned the need for reforms, suggesting that the motion stems from “political motivation” by prospective candidates in this term’s elections.
Union elections are commonly contested on the basis of a group “slate”.
One effect of the motion is to allow several candidates to run together unopposed by creating a new position to be elected this term.
The Union said that the office of Librarian-Elect will bring “greater long-term continuity to the office of the Librarian” and will give new Librarians a “chance to begin inviting speakers earlier in the academic year.”
A former member of Standing Committee disagreed, suggesting that there are “political considerations” involved in establishing the position.
The member explained that there are “normally two slates” but that this term there will “probably only be one” due to the fact that “there aren’t enough people running for election to fill two.”
“Normally a group of four or so senior hacks gang together to run for election as a slate, but one slate isn’t big enough for everyone.
“With another position up for grabs, everyone can run for a position uncontested and now no one needs to worry about losing.”
However the motion to create the position passed by an overwhelming majority of 228 votes to 14 at the debate on the matter.
Jonathan Edwards, a second-year Balliol student who participated in the vote, explained that, “after several incidents where speakers have pulled out at short notice and complained of poor organization, I found the argument that the old system was inadequate convincing.”
Edwards continued that although he “did wonder whether it might be convenient for some people if there was another officer position,” he was “only hoping to see the Union run more competently.”
The Union will also be holding a poll “to ensure that all members, not just those present in the Chamber at the time, will be given a chance to vote on the proposal.”
Each member of the Union will receive a ballot paper this week, and the results will be due in on Tuesday.