Come one, come all, says Kinky

An open invitation to President’s Drinks at the Oxford Union was issued this week, sparking outrage among paying members.
Chris Adams, a third year student who is currently the Union’s Director of Communications, sent out a Facebook invitation to around 60 fellow Brasenose students, a number of whom were not members of the Union.

Adams created an ‘Event’ page claiming that James Kingston, President of the Union, was “bored of President’s drinks”, and so had asked him to invite anyone he wanted.

The page stated, “The current Union President (James Kingston) has been bored of drinks on Thursdays being quiet and frequented only by hacks this term, so said to me yesterday, “I’m sick of being frugal. Invite whoever you want.” I’ve told him I intend to hold him to his word.”

Adams went on to say “don’t worry if you’re not a member”, and twice emphasised that free drinks would be provided for all who chose to attend.

The event was advertised as continuing until 6am, and Adams claimed in the description that guests would be able to continue drinking “until the early hours”.

Members of the Union have expressed their anger that those who chose not to join the society were invited to the free drinks event, to which not even all members have access every week.

A message sent by Adams said that everyone invited would be on the guest list at the door of the event.

His invitation told members of the group that they should say that they were one of “Chris Adams’ guests”.

A Standing Committee member said, “This is ridiculous. The Union is designed to serve its members.

“President’s Drinks should not be open to anyone who fancies turning up.”

Members have also been voicing their anger. One second year PPE student, said, “I don’t think that it is very fair. Why should my membership pay for non-members to get drunk?”

Related  Pembroke concerns over security

A spokesperson for the Union said, “The Facebook group, which invited both members and non-members of the Union to President’s Drinks, was set up by a former member of Standing Committee and was not officially sanctioned by the Union. The Union cannot comment on the actions of individual members.”

“It is not Union policy to allow non-members into President’s Drinks, with the exception of debate speakers and their guests.”

An official within the Union explained that James Kingston was looking to increase attendance at the drinks event, but had not meant to imply that anyone could come.

A former Standing Committee member expressed his disbelief at the invitation being extended to non-members.

He said, “At the end of the day, members have paid a lot of money to have some sort of exclusive privileges.

“It can be good to show non-members the benefits that the Union brings, but I think that extending exclusive privileges to non-members that members have effectively paid for is wrong, and of detriment to the Union.”

The e-mail sent out by Chris Adams warned guests that they would need to dress smartly early on, but that as the evening went on there would be no need for formal wear.

“If you’re coming for 10.30 to 11.30ish, make sure you’re reasonably smart (e.g. at least shirt and proper trousers for boys), as the guests from the debate will be there.

“After then, don’t worry. The level of formality will degrade significantly.”

Adams added, “We should be able to fix queue-jump [for The Bridge] if you head over from drinks in small numbers.”

However after Cherwell questioned Adams about his invitation, the Facebook page advertising the drinks was radically altered.

There was no longer any mention of free alcohol, with Adams encouraging the guests “to buy some drinks from tescos/sainsbury’s.”
Another part of the new event page read “So: main drinks post-debate, confirm your attendance on here.” adding that “you need to be a member for this bit though.”

Related  Private students under pressure

The invitation comes after the proposed £5 charge for President’s drinks was dropped last week.

When contacted for comment, Adams said “Union members will not be paying for this”.