Cherwell

St Hugh’s JCR severs ties with zine after graffiti uproar

The graffit, bearing the name of the zine, was found in two places outside Oxford University Sports Centre on Iffley Road.

St Hugh’s College JCR has passed a motion to condemn and remove funding for the arts zine Gold of Fuck, after graffiti was found with its name on Iffley Road.

Earlier this term, the JCR had approved a motion to provide £200 towards the printing and launch of the publication.

However, after the words “Gold of Fuck” were found written in large letters at two points on the perimeter fence of Oxford University Sports Centre on Iffley Road, the JCR voted to “condemn the criminal and antisocial behaviour associated with the ‘Gold of Fuck’ magazine collective” and “withdraw support for and sever JCR ties with the ‘Gold of Fuck’ magazine”.

The motion noted that a “name as unusual as ‘Gold of Fuck’ can be rationally connected to the magazine and its associated group, known to sell art and poetry in the area…”

“No matter the cause, the JCR should not associate itself with or be seen to support criminal or antisocial behaviour.”

The motion also stated that one section of the graffiti faces directly opposite the Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies.

A second motion, which would see the JCR automatically refuse any further motions asking for funding or support for the ‘Gold of Fuck’ zine as a matter of policy, received a majority of votes in favour, but failed to achieve the super-majority it needed to pass.

A co-founder of the zine and St Hugh’s undergraduate student, Zain Baweja, described the behaviour of the college JCR executive committee as “underhand” and “undemocratic”, according to The Oxford Student.

However, Cherwell understands that several members of the collective were in attendance at Sunday’s JCR meeting. Several members shared frustrations that the graffiti had been produced, denying it had any association with the group before expressing support for the JCR motion.

Both motions were proposed by JCR President Alex Yeandle, with the unanimous backing of the JCR Executive Committee. The Committee were alerted to the graffiti after photos from Iffley Road were placed anonymously in the JCR President’s pigeon hole.

The pictures were accompanied by the words: “‘Gold of Fuck’ graffiti – did the JCR fund this?”

Cherwell understands the executive initially plan to ask members to withdraw the £200 apportioned to Gold of Fuck as this had not already been paid. This plan was dropped following an intervention from the JCR’s Independent Chair.

The motion to sever JCR association with and support of ‘Gold of Fuck’ received 53 votes in favour and 21 against, with 3 abstentions. The motion to amend the policy book only passed by a margin of 5 votes, failing to reach a super-majority.

On the Facebook page of its launch event, ‘Gold of Fuck’ advertises itself as a “new, independent art collective based in Oxford. We prioritise the creation of the unrefined, the uncensored and unstable.”

“‘Urgency’ is at the center of the collective. Gold of Fuck celebrates what can be made in the liminal spaces between creative pressure and creative freedom; ‘making’ as a means to deny our propensity to be passive to time.”

JCR president, Alex Yeandle, told Cherwell: “Upon receiving information about the vandalism, the Executive Committee made the decision to consult members of the JCR about how to act, through the proposal of a motion. The graffiti features the name ‘Gold of Fuck’, and is located on two places on Iffley Road.

“As an Oxford College JCR Executive Committee we understand and respect the community in which we live, hence why we cannot risk being associated with this criminal act.

“There is nothing undemocratic about the process the Executive Committee has followed. As a representative Executive Committee, we serve at the pleasure of the members of the JCR meaning that, if in doubt, the right thing to do is to always seek the approval of our members.

“The Executive Committee proposed a motion, for which members have full autonomy to support or to vote against.”

He added: “In light of accusations of ‘undemocratic’ or ‘underhanded’ behaviour, we would like to emphasise two points. Firstly, the JCR has democratically voted to overwhelmingly support the first part of our motion.

“Secondly, after deliberation and debate about the policy motion, the JCR has given us instructions to follow.

This is democracy in action.”