Petition targets OUSU student vote

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A petition put to OUSU
to hold a referendum to limit its input in non-directly student related
matters, has failed. a motion was also been put to six JCrs, but failed to
secure a major­ity, as only half passed it.Charlie
Steel, a member of OUSU’s part time executive, organised a cam­paign to force
OUSU to hold the referendum, “OUSU should have no policy on issues which do not
directly affect Oxford
students in their capac­ity as students unless approved by a majority of common
rooms affiliated to OUSU.” 500
signatures and five passed JCR motions in support were needed by 12 noon on
Thursday for this amendment to the constitution to be taken to referendum.
sufficient number of signatures were collected, but as only Trinity, Wycliffe
Hall and Mansfield
passed the motion, the ref­erendum proposal was rejected. The motion was failed
by Keble, St Peter’s and Queen’s.OUSU
president Emma Norris was in opposition against the pro­posed amendment stating
“it is up to students what they think is relevant to them” and that the
amendment would “stop people bringing up what­ever they wanted at OUSU
council.” One
argument posed supporting the motion was that it would prevent time being
wasted in OUSU council meetings, reducing the length and complexity of
meetings. Norris
disputed this and said that she did not believe that an imple­mentation of the
motion’s demands would mean that time would be saved in council.Edward
Mason, Trinity JCR presi­dent said “despite having overwhelm­ingly voted to
reaffiliate to OUSU this term, serious questions are being asked about the
relevance and valid­ity of some OUSU policy, which is something which this
referendum di­rectly addresses.” Queen’s
College JCR President Sush Yalamanchili, one of the col­leges who failed the
motion, said “given the terminology of the motion it was only right that the
motion was rejected, and I look forward to seeing a more palatable amendment.” Voters
opposed the wording of the amendment as it was felt to be am­biguous over what
defines “student issues.” examples cited were welfare issues such as depression
and preg­nancy, which may not be included as specifically “student” issues.Nora
Gietz, a second year at St Hilda’s said, “OUSU seems to waste a lot of time on
Coca-Cola bans and basket-weavers, I am not convinced this is the best use of
students’ time or subscription money.”Steel
states that “any allusion to this affecting welfare is complete scare­mongering
and depriving students of their right to a democratic vote. I am not going to
give up.ARCHIVE: 4th week MT 2005

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