Sixth Week is often when ambitious students start eyeing up the elected positions they can take in their college, the university or various student societies. Most people go after these for the honest and traditional reasons of narcissism and CV padding. However, it seems some people in the past have been devoid of these noble intentions. Notably, the 20th November 1987 edition of Cherwell reported on a shock victory for a ‘joke candidate’ in Exeter’s JCR Presidential election. The candidate in question was ‘carried shoulder-high around the quad – on a Sedan chair’, before proceeding to address a ‘crowd of 60 to 70 people from a first floor window’. He topped that off by telling ‘a barrage of sexist jokes at the meeting’. The new president himself admitted, ‘I don’t have the faintest idea why people voted for me… I got drunk and thought I’d go for it.’ Seems as good a reason as any to me.
Student elections can often get terribly competitive, and even the smallest injustice fixated upon to provide an excuse for any loss. Fortunately our dear friends at the Oxford Student managed to narrowly avoid such accusations of inequality according to the 19th November 1999 issue of Cherwell. The OxStu attempted to print an ‘election special’ including manifestos of candidates for OUSU posts. However, one candidate shockingly had his manifesto printed in full multicolour as opposed to the uniform purple of the other candidates. After deciding that this would give him ‘an unfair advantage’, the supplement was removed. The OxStu itself admitted that ‘it was potentially quite a big problem’. What untold damage would have been done to the fabled democracy of OUSU if a candidate had had a full colour manifesto printed. People other than hacks might have bothered to vote! Perish the thought.
With all these elections it is good to see some people take more creative paths to self-aggrandisement. The 16th November 1966 Cherwell reported on a second year Merton man writing a book described by his father, ‘a canon of the Anglican church’, as ‘the work of a 20th century fornicator’. Whilst the book was apparently not meant to be autobiographical, the author pointed out that he knew about the sexual and drug related experiences described in the book by saying, ‘If I didn’t know what it was like to make love to a hung up chick I wouldn’t have written about it.’ Quite.