A secret tape has been leaked to Cherwell apparently containing recordings of Will Chamberlain, current Standing Committee member and candidate for President of the Oxford Union, discussing other candidates and planning electoral strategy involving the use of slates.
The tape contains conversations at meetings of Union members and officers, as well as recordings of Chamberlain having brunch and watching clips from Eurovision with an unidentified friend.
At one point, derogatory remarks are made about a Jewish member of Secretary’s Committee.
The date can be identified as the weekend of the 29th and the 31st of May, as there are several references to OUCA becoming re-affiliated with the University. There is mention of the Union election being “less than two weeks away.”
The elections are taking place today, and the tapes have caused concern that several of the candidates may have broken constitutional rules to form slates.
The recordings include comments which seem to reveal the existence of at least two slates, with Chamberlain referring to “James Langman and his team”, and Juan McLean advising those present at the meeting to “think about why you’re on this slate”.
According to Union rules, it is considered electoral malpractice to engage “in any electoral pact between Candidates in the Election.”
Jack Sennett and McLean, current members of Standing Committee, as well as Chris Adams, ex-Standing Committee member, can be identified on the recordings, among others who are currently candidates in the upcoming elections.
Hasan Ali, who last week was deemed to have resigned from Standing Committee and Cyrus Nasseri, current member of Secretary’s Committee, are identified as part of Langman’s ‘team’.
Both are mentioned in a negative context several times, and at one point on the recording, an unidentified person refers describes Nasseri as “not a massive Jew, but he’s Jewish, really Jewish.”
Langman described these comments as “absolutely despicable”, and said, “I don’t think that somebody who says that sort of thing should be thinking about putting themselves up for election.”
Alleged pressure from other potential candidates in relation to the upcoming election is much discussed.
Chamberlain says early in the meeting that “a lot of people here have had negative experiences with members of the other slate in terms of…intimidation, bullying tactics.”
McLean is then heard to say “As Will said, a lot of people in this room have suffered intimidation and harassment, but being much stronger we are far less likely to be intimidated by the other group, definitely.”
When asked about these comments, Langman said, “I have no knowledge of any intimidation.”
At the end of the recorded meeting, there is discussion about canvassing support, and a meeting regarding “how to campaign” is suggested by McLean.
“Your close friends, like really close friends…just get them excited about what you’re doing,” he advises, “and if they think it’s exciting they’ll work for you.”
The next recorded meeting discusses what has been mentioned as the “merger” between Union Secretary Zara McGlone’s slate and Chamberlain’s slate.
McLean is implied to have switched slates, and Adams asks whether Zara has called him, to which McLean replies “No, I really hope she doesn’t”.
When contacted for a response, all those mentioned or heard on the tapes declined to comment.
The Union also declined to issue a response.