Following a Disciplinary Committee (DC) meeting, one of Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA) presidential candidates has been removed from his post as Political Officer. Hugo Roma-Wilson pleaded guilty to “misleading the Returning Officer in the course of her execution of the election” and “disrupting the conduct of an election.”
In a report on the DC’s decision circulated to OUCA members earlier today it was announced that Roma-Wilson “submitted fraudulently doctored electoral evidence” to the Returning Officer “in an illicit attempt to induce [the Returning Officer] to accept electoral publicity past the deadline.” He also lied to members of the OUCA committee when questioned about the doctored evidence.
Roma-Wilson admitted to these actions and was consequently removed from his post as a Political Officer and fined £50. He told Cherwell that he had “submitt[ed] electoral evidence one minute late.” This has not yet been confirmed by OUCA.
Roma-Wilson, who is standing for the OUCA presidency in next week’s elections, will be allowed to retain his candidacy. According to Roma-Wilson, the Disciplinary Committee “did not consider my error severe enough to warrant disqualification from the election” adding that he “looks forward to running for President on Wednesday next week.”
The DC report noted that it was “mindful” that letting a “candidate at the highest level… act fraudulently without serious consequences” risked doing “significant damage” to confidence in OUCA’s elections.
However, as Roma-Wilson pled guilty and “admitted to his mistake”, the DC considered it disproportionate to disqualify him. They stated instead that “members should be permitted to make their own judgements in the upcoming election.”
OUCA told Cherwell: “The Disciplinary Committee has accepted the Ex-Committee Member’s sincere apology and imposed a proportionate penalty under our internal procedures. OUCA looks forward to moving beyond this incident and focusing on continuing to deliver our excellent termcard.”
This is not the first shakeup of OUCA leadership that has occurred this term. In September, OUCA president Peter Walker resigned following two disciplinary complaints against him. The last elections were also marred by “chaotic” clashes between the ousted former president Caleb van Ryneveld and the OUCA committee.
The OUCA presidential elections, in which Roma-Wilson remains a candidate, are set to occur next Wednesday from 12 pm to 6 pm.