Polling for the Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA)’s termly election will go ahead today, Thursday 8th June, despite ongoing disputes over its validity. In an email sent last night, Caleb van Ryneveld called for polling to be postponed, but his authority to do this remains in question amid controversies over his Presidency.
OUCA’s Disciplinary Committee (DC) voted to remove Van Ryneveld as President on 24th May, although he has since appealed this decision to the Association’s Senior Member, Dr Marie Kawthar Daouda, who is supposed to act as a check on the DC’s rulings.
Dr Daouda, who took up the position of Senior Member at the beginning of this academic year, issued a review attempting to reinstate Van Ryneveld, stating: “The sentence against Mr Van Ryneveld is hereby annulled by decree of the Senior Member until further discussion is possible. Mr Van Ryneveld will resume his position and duties as President.”
However, the individuals in the DC have contested this “decree”, raising concerns about the Senior Member’s understanding and implementation of the Association’s rules. One senior officer on OUCA committee told Cherwell: “The relationship between the DC and the Senior Member has always been cordial, although this ruling goes beyond the realms of her constitutional power”
This has resulted in a factional situation within committee, with the legitimacy of the President, the Acting-President Peter Walker, and the Returning Officer Jake Dibden’s roles being called into question on various sides.
In light of this, Van Ryneveld attempted to invoke Rule 4(10) of OUCA’s constitution, concerning the running of elections in exceptional circumstances. In an email sent last night, he stated: “the OUCA election shall be delayed until Thursday the 15th of June”. However, this was sent from an unofficial non-OUCA email account, using what one committee member has described as a “Frankenstein mailing list”.
Polls will open at the Crown Pub on Cornmarket at noon today as planned, closing at 6pm. The legitimacy of the election and disputes over the legitimacy of Presidential nominee Conor Boyle will be the subject of ongoing discussion.
This article will be updated with further details pending responses and changes to the situation.