Today, the polls will close and the Oxford SU president and their team for the coming year will be announced.
This year sees a three-way race for the presidency, with Ellie Dibben, Hannah Taylor, and Joe Inwood all standing.
Hannah Taylor, an Economics and Management student from St Hugh’s College, was the co-chair of OULC last Trinity term, and has also been the charities representative for St Hugh’s JCR.
Taylor’s policies include the replacement of at least one of the termly Student Council meetings with a general assembly, which will allow non-delegates to attend. She also wishes to restart a partnership with the Brookes Union to have a safety bus to help students return from nights out safely.
Taylor also wants to coordinate action through JCR presidents on the Oxford Living Wage, the Preventing Prevent campaign, and prescription reimbursement.
She used her manifesto to emphasise the need for “solidarity” with University staff pushing for better working conditions.
Taylor told Cherwell: “The student union represents a student body of over 23 thousand students. This makes us potentially very powerful, if we can find a way to organise, come together and get things done.
“Organising like this is what I have spent a lot of my time at university doing. If any member of our union has an issue, we should cut away from the buzzwords and back them, by taking loud, visible action.”
Ellie Dibben, a history student at St Hilda’s, has previously been involved in the organisation of societies and campaigns in Oxford, including the SU’s LGBTQ+ campaign.
Dibben highlights “representation” as a key manifesto goal to act upon through further ‘implicit bias training’ for VPs and a general aim of improving the SU’s actions against hate crime.
Dibben also wishes to make the SU more inclusive for graduate students and to re-establish SU run social events, such as a club night.
They put particular emphasis on access, calling for further resistance to fee rises and the NSS survey, as well as easier access to hardship funds. Their approach to improving mental health-related issues is to undertake a student welfare survey and to create a better quality services for students.
Dibben told Cherwell: “Oxford SU faces a crisis of disengagement despite its amazing work behind the scenes. I’ll change this by offering real support in finding student housing, integrating graduate students’ needs and starting an Oxford SU club night.
“I also want to build on Oxford SU’s extensive work into improving mental health through implementing an annual welfare survey, improve the accessibility of hardship funds, fight fee rises and funding cuts, and seek to make the union more diverse through implicit bias and liberation training.”
Joe Inwood, a history student at Mansfield College, served as the college’s JCR president in 2017. He is also the current chair of the Oxford SU council.
Inwood’s manifesto emphasises making the publicity for mental health support better, and ‘improving the discussion’ about workload and stress in Oxford.
Inwood has emphasised a desire to protect the rights of European Union students as the Brexit process continues, as well as claiming that he would lead the SU in resisting tuition fee rises.
As president of his JCR, Inwood led a student resistance to his college’s approach to Prevent and has championed Mansfield’s access initiative through his time in Oxford.
He told Cherwell: “I’m running to open the SU and make it relevant and accessible to all. My priorities are student mental health, EU students’ rights, and resisting damaging higher education policies.
“I also want to promote student-led access efforts and support new students in their crucial first weeks here. I’m delighted to have received the endorsement of the Class Act campaign, and my aim is to lead an open SU that puts student interests at its heart.”
Online polls close on Friday 9th February at 6pm. The results will be announced during an event held on Friday evening at the Oxford Foundry.
The SU is also running an intercollege voting competition. The college with the highest weighted voter turnout will receive £300.