The night before voting begins, an OUSU election campaign has been forced to retract claims that its candidates are “not student politicians”.
The Team Alex campaign, led by Alex Bartram, has repeatedly made the claim in husts and on the campaign’s Facebook page. However Nick Cooper, the returning officer (RO), ruled that this was a “False or misleading statement”, ordering that “Team Alex remove any Facebook posts with the claim that their candidates are not student politicians” by 5PM today.
The ruling responded to a complaint made by Jane4Change, Team Alex’s rival slate, that Bartram was misleading voters. David Bagg, lead agent for Team Alex, accepted the allegation that some of their candidates are student politicians.
However, Bagg rejected a second allegation that Bartram himself was a “career student politician”; the returning officer ruled that there was insufficient evidence to conclude whether Bartram, who is currently Balliol’s JCR President, is a career politician.
The RO also commented on the way the OUSU elections have been conducted more broadly. He said, “An election is an opportunity for voters to decide who wants to represent them… I encourage all candidates to continue to promote themselves, and in many cases, to leave voters to determine whether their opponents’ claims are plausible.”
This latest complaint by candidates is the third in the last three days. Yesterday, OUSU ruled that Jane4Change should lose one ninth of their election material, for copying the website design of mixd.com, a technology company based in Yorkshire. After a complaint from Team Alex, Jane4Change’s Jane Cahill said she “accepted the RO’s decision and had already taken down the website and apologised to the company.”
Another complaint, made by the Reclaim OUSU slate against Jane4Change, has not yet been ruled on.
One third year PPEist commented that this year’s OUSU elections are “the bitchiest ever”. She said, “No wonder people are disillusioned with OUSU when all the candidates are stabbing each other in the back.”
The elections open tomorrow morning at 8AM and the results will be announced on Thursday evening.