In one of the biggest upsets in OUSU history, Louis J Trup has been elected as President. Trup, running under the campaign #LJTrup4ousu4change, won the election by a landslide. He amassed 1685 first preference votes, compared to Cahill’s 975, Bartram’s 725 and Akehurst’s 587.
On discovering his victory in the Brasenose bar, Trup shouted, “What the fuck just happened?” as he was thronged by a mass of shouting supporters. In a speech to the bar, Trup congratulated other students that had been elected to OUSU positions, before saying, “Thanks everyone, it’s been really fun and let’s go really hard in Bridge tonight.”
Speaking to Cherwell, Trup assured students that he would indeed be taking up the position, commenting, “I think the people have spoken and we’re gonna make a fucking big change. I didn’t run on an incompetency platform, I ran on a platform of we need to engage people. We’ve done that, and we will continue to do that.”
In the run up to the election, Trup had been dismissed by many as a “joke” candidate, owing to his manifesto written in crayon, and support of policies such as a monorail to LMH and St. Hugh’s, an elimination of fifth week to relegate fifth week blues to history, and an amalgamation of all societies into one named ‘SocSoc’.
However, Trup began to emerge as a viable candidate, particularly after an article written by him for the OxStu displayed more serious intentions. In the article, he wrote, “I have had an insight into the surreal, insular world of OUSU politics and elections and quite frankly, I don’t like it. I decided to run for two reasons: Primarily because it is funny. Simples. Secondly, because I was pissed off. And now I’m even more pissed off.”
Trup also ran a hugely successful online campaign, with his election Facebook page receiving by far the most likes of all the candidates. Shortly after the announcement of his victory was made, Trup commented on the Facebook page with the message, “Hey guys, thank you for your support over this election. The sabbatical team is strong and I’m glad that the students of Oxford have had their voices heard. I will be writing something more substantial later on, but for now, have a good night and thanks again. See you all in Bridge!” The message had received 135 ‘likes’ within an hour.
Videos posted online by Trup also attracted a number of views. One showed Trup dancing to the 1996 hit “Three Lions”, draped in a Union Jack flag and being carted around the Oxford on a trolley.
In another, Trup re-enacted a scene from Braveheart as he addressed students outside the RadCam to the sound of a kilted piper.
In a flurry of Twitter action following the election result, Cherwell tweeted, “OUSU is set to have the second ‘J. T.’ President in recent history. LJT follows in the wake of DJT. Will he live up to the job?”, to which former OUSU President David J Townsend responded saying, “The way I see it, he’s already 2/3 of the way there without even starting yet. Loving his The Simpsons-style monorail!”
Although Trup’s popularity amongst Oxford students is apparent, his victory was received with a mixed response from the other candidates. Nathan Akehurst, who had run with the slate ‘Reclaim OUSU’, did not seem too disheartened by a defeat which saw him gain only 587 votes in his presidential campaign. He told Cherwell, “Louis Trup and I – I have spoken to him and I know he agrees with me on this – both of us stood not expecting to win but instead to make a point. It was a similar point about the OUSU bureaucracy, about the fact that OUSU is unpopular and the fact that it’s the second least popular student union in the country.
“The student union never changes, remains irrelevant because it refuses to confront the realities of the situation of the student population. As such, a victory for either Trup, as has now happened, or myself would have shown the same thing.”
Barnaby Raine, who ran on Akehurst’s slate and was elected as a student trustee with 291 votes, said, “Every vote for our slate was a vote for a transparent, accountable, democratic and most importantly of all a campaigning student union. I’m delighted that we won two out of five NUS delegates and I know they are going to fight for an NUS which actively fights the issues that matter to students. I’m also, of course, delighted that I was elected in order to fight as trustee to make sure that OUSU spends its money in ways the students will approve of.”
However, members of Team Alex were not so convivial. One Team Alex supporter described the election result as showing, “OUSU in crisis”, while th slate’s campaign manager Angus Hawkins said, “When asked if I was concerned about the ‘Trup Threat’ two weeks ago, I said, ‘no’. But now I realise that there will come a time when hobbits will shape the future of all.”
Alex Bartram, who achieved a total of 725 votes, went on to describe the feeling within his slate. He stated, “What an unbelievable election. I think the presidential elections sent out a pretty clear message about how students currently perceive OUSU elections, if not OUSU itself.
“It was a mixed result for Team Alex, but I’m over the moon that Chris Pike, our fantastic candidate for Welfare & Equal Ops won. Emily Silcock, Christina Töehnshoff, and Ed Nickell are other successes to highlight. We’ll see how things develop because everything’s a little unclear right now. Not least because of the whiskey.”
Pike, a Teddy Hall student who received 816 votes, narrowly beating Andrew Rogers of Jane4Change, seemed delighted with his victory. He said, “I’m absolutely over the moon that I’ve won. I was up against tough competition and I just can’t believe it happened! ”
David Bagg, head agent of Team Alex added that this had been an historic election. He was also keen to refute suggestions that it was the nastiest OUSU election in years, explaining, “Whilst it was a hard-fought campaign, the media stories about nastiness between slates are overblown. Although Helena [Dollimore, head agent for Jane4Change] and I have crossed swords a couple of times over complaints, she ran an excellent campaign and I wish her all the best.”
Of the Jane4Change slate, considered by many to have been the favourite throughout the campaign, four part time Executive Officers were elected, a student trustee and an NUS delegate. Of the five non presidential Sabbatical Offices, Jane4Change’s James Blythe was elected to Sabbatical Office, receiving 976 votes for the role of Vice President for Access and Academic Affairs, while Yasser Bhatti received 231 votes to become the Vice President for Graduates. The Jane4Change slate declined to comment.
Other noticeable election successes came from Anna Bradshaw, who ran for Vice President for Women and was elected to the post by 576 votes to the 260 of her rival, Trish Stephenson of Team Alex.