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OUCA Bullingdon ban reversed after motion branded ‘unconstitutional’

The Oxford University Conservative Association’s (OUCA) ban of Bullingdon Club members has been terminated, following a disciplinary meeting which found the passing of the motion to be unconstitutional.

Cherwell understands that a number of concerns were raised around the handling of the motion, the most prominent of which being that several non-OUCA attended last week’s meeting and voted for the ban.

The OUCA Disciplinary Committee alleged that the votes of several non-OUCA members were counted on several motions brought in the meeting of Council held in 1st week, including on the motion to ban Bullingdon members.

The Committee therefore ruled that last week’s verdict on the ban be nullified.

In addition to the ban motion, last week’s passing of a motion to change all pronouns in the OUCA constitution from ‘he’ to ‘they’ was also overturned.

OUCA President Ben Etty told Cherwell: “The overturning of the Bullingdon ban on a constitutional technicality is very disappointing, but it is only a minor setback. The ban will be re-proposed very soon and I’m confident this time that the much-needed change, supported by the vast majority of the membership, will be made permanent.”

Neither the ban nor the pronoun amendment were re-proposed at the meeting of Council this week.

Last week, Cherwell reported that Etty justified the proscription of Bullingdon members on the grounds that “if there was another story in the national press, it would be my face on it.”

This came despite his public claim that the ban was intended to “symbolise our desire to become a more inclusive association.”

Etty, who had supported past motions to ban the Bullingdon from the association, told Cherwell: “This was not a personally-motivated proposal, but was done in the best interests of the members of this association and the wider Conservative Party.

“In my view, this is something that was very long overdue for any self-respecting political organisation, and I’m confident that the vast majority of our members agree with me.”

There had also been suggestions from several members that Etty had “packed the room” with supporters – a suggestion that seems to have played out following the disciplinary ruling.

Minutes from the meeting of Council last Wednesday show ten OUCA members leaving the meeting promptly after the motion to ban Bullingdon members passed, six of whom attend the President’s college.

A previous attempt to ban Bullingdon members from OUCA came in Hilary term of this year, in the wake of negative coverage of the drunken behaviour of the Association’s members. However, the amendment was voted down overwhelmingly by members, as was another amendment attempt the following term.

At the time, then President and supporter of the amendment, Timothy Doyle, told Cherwell he believed some members “feared [a ban] would lead to maliciously-targeted proscriptions of student societies to prevent individual members’ holding office”.

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