video report published 19.05.13 – Presenter: Max Long – Editor: Patrick Beardmore
Campaign posters for the position of Wadham SU Treasurer, which have called on Wadhamites to “fight Wadham’s far left”, have been ripped down from the College library’s door, while his campaign has been called “offensive for the sake of it.”
The student’s posters have taken a controversial stance towards feminism, describing the Slutwalk trip that was supported by Wadham SU last summer as “indulgent.” Similarly, in the top right hand of his posters there is a crossed-out Woman-power feminist symbol (a clenched fist merged with a Venus sign).
The posters pun on the recent ‘zero tolerance’ to sexual assault motion, stating ‘Zero tolerance for moochers’ in large red letters. The zero tolerance motion is currently being discussed by students and the College liaison committee, who are together deciding how to integrate it into Wadham’s existing policy on sexual harassment and assault.
The campaign poster goes on to say: “Think they’re all just talk? YOUR money paid for Wadham Rad-fems’ indulgent Slutwalk trip. YOUR money thrown way to Oxford Radical Forum. YOUR money wasted on Oxford Left Review nonsense. YOUR money could be WASTED on huge legal fees if radical protesting students face charges. It’s not THEIR money, it’s YOUR’s! Fight Wadham’s Far Left, vote [for him] as YOUR Treasurer.”
Wadham SU has spent money on both the Oxford Radical Forum and the Oxford Left Review after such spending was mandated by a majority vote at SU meetings. However, his claim that the SU would be liable for legal fees has not been substantiated.
Lucy Delaney, a Wadham first year, told Cherwell that the posters “are so ridiculously offensive, inaccurate and scaremongering that [his] will instantly alienate voters.”
Emilie Lambert, also at Wadham, commented that he “fundamentally misunderstands the role of Treasurer. If a motion is passed to give money to X the treasurer’s job is to give money to X. He would not be able to bypass democratic procedure by being treasurer.”
Lambert continued, “His campaign is just offensive for the sake of it. I hoped that he had finally got past behaviour like this.”
The student spoke to Cherwell in response to criticism of his campaign, saying, “I didn’t call the Slutwalk intrinsically indulgent, but I believe a small number of students benefiting from money intended for the student community as a whole is indulgent.”
He also outlined his proposed changes to the SU, “My proposed solutions are to request the college to limit SU funding in exchange for an equivalent decrease in food or rent costs and ringfence the remaining money for welfare, LGB and other small funds with a measurable effect on students’ lives here.”
After it was noticed that the posters had been ripped down, the Wadham SU Vice President, Alex Cibulskis, sent out an email to Wadham students, saying, “We have had reports that some people have been taking down some of the posters that candidates running for positions in the SU this week have put up.
“Please, please could everyone refrain from doing so (and from defacing them in any other way); you do, of course, have the right to express your opinion regarding the candidates by voting between 8am and 8pm on Friday, and I encourage you all to do so!”
The student retaliated to his original posters being taken down by putting up a new poster on the library door. The new poster stated: “Posters SABOTAGED by RAD-FEMS. You keep taking them down, I’ll keep printing them. Not sinking to your level. I don’t believe in funding extremist groups or biasing the politically active. SU money is for everyone, not just those with an agenda.”
Wadham SU President, Jahni Emmanunel commented, “The posters have caused quite a bit of controversy because they have been seen as highly offensive by some people.
She also said, “However, I don’t think it’s fair for people to rip down the posters, as anyone running for a position has a right to express and publicise their views to the SU.”