Union in leadership crisis

The Oxford Union today faces a leadership crisis, with both the positions of President and Treasurer left vacant.

In a meeting late last night, the Senior Disciplinary Committee ruled to uphold a decision against Roberto Weeden-Sanz, who was revealed last week to have technically resigned as President-Elect under Union rules, after missing three meetings.

In addition, it emerged that Antonia Trent, who had taken up office as Treasurer on Saturday of 8th week, had also missed enough meetings to have technically resigned, leaving a further position unfilled.

Under Union rule 23 (c)(ii)(2), “Any member of any Committee… having missed three ordinary meetings of that Committee without good reason in the same term, shall be deemed to have submitted his resignation from that Committee.”

This rule can be bypassed if there is considered to be ‘good reason’ for absence, “by two-thirds of those present at the first meeting held at least 168 hours after the absence”. ‘Good Reasons’ include sitting University exams, ‘disabling or infectious illness’, a ‘pressing and extraordinary engagement agreed to be unavoidable’ and ‘pursuit of service to the Society…of paramount importance’.

When the position of President becomes vacant, it is first offered to the Librarian, who has 72 hours to accept or reject the offer. The current Librarian is Stuart Webber. A vacant Treasurer’s position is offered first to the Secretary, currently Olivia Merrett. If the offers are declined, they are ‘passed down’ to other officers in order, and it is therefore difficult to predict who will fill the vacant positions.

One consequence of this is that candidates who unsuccessfully ran for Standing Committee in 7th week of Hilary this year will be offered positions without having been elected.

Daniel Johnson, Chair of the Senior Disciplinary Committee, told Cherwell that the Union will release a statement on these matters this weekend.

Roberto Weeden-Sanz and Olivia Merret have been contacted but declined to comment.