VERSA | OUSU scrutiny report: the state of all the slates

Manifestos have been published, candidates have been photographed looking ‘friendly’, and a truly awful cover of a classic by VERSA’s favourite pop star has been created. True to form, we’ve collected all the juicy gossip about the slates to help you decide whom to shake off and who actually has some style (spoiler: very few).

We begin with IOU – admittedly, a clever little pun designed to convince Oxford that they have some kind of design on making Oxford better, rather than on having something to put on their CV. Emails have been sent out from candidates to JCR Officers (including Women’s and Access) asking for support in the election, and whilst this piece of hackery is not uncommon, their failure to remove candidates from opposing slates from their begging email mailshot is a bit awkward. Maybe tell students you’ll owe them one if they vote for you?

Turning to their ‘experience’… we’re not sure how running a Twitter hashtag (#OxTweet) qualifies you for being VP Access and Academic Affairs & Access/Admissions Officer, but we’ll take your word for it.


Speaking to VERSA, IOU defended their emails as being focused on building networks with common room officers who they may have to work with in the future, and that the slate issue was less of a problem as no slate is running a full complement of officers. They also told VERSA that the work with OxTweet is valuable as more and more of what OUSU does moves online, the know-how about online campaigning will be useful. Their full replies can be found here (we’re more than aware of the word count of this piece, so we’ve published replies in full on another page).

BackJack refused to engage with VERSA on some light-hearted questions about their policies and the state of pop culture (we really do care what your fave T-Swift song is, we swear.) They also CCd in all other candidates to their refusal to engage with the VERSA, and encouraged the other candidates to do the same. We were, of course, devastated. 

But sabotaging coverage of an election isn’t great form – especially when you consider that one OUSU election rule states: “All slates are encouraged to talk to the press.” If BackJack can’t handle a little bit of a joke and adhere to election rules, just imagine what their reign in OUSU Towers will be like. What are you scared of? A little bit of scrutiny?

One last thing: was Catz JCR ‘independence’ really worth it, Jack? College might have been a bit shit to you, but you have to work with them. That is kind of in the job description. If you can’t work with one college, how are you going to manage working with all 38 and the University administration? His knowledge of the issues was also questioned following his gaffe about the government’s higher education green paper – see Marina Lambrakis’ comments below for some thoughts on that one.

Now, on to The Big Picture. An honourable mention must go to the original group’s appalling Taylor Swift cover video, which (praise be) has been removed from the internet after the group split. Like S Club 7 all over again. The two remaining candidates have taken to offering free cookies instead. Not desperate. Nope. No desperation here.

You all already know about Eden Tanner‘s alleged refusal to listen to the concerns of women of colour (which, to give her a fair hearing, has been fully justified by someone else), but Eden continued to piss women in Oxford off with her hacking post in ‘Oxford Women Self Care’. Under the guise of asking for sympathy over being talked over by men, Eden posted there to try and win the ‘women’s vote’.

‘Unfortunately’, this thin attempt at hackery was seen right through by members of the group and called out for what it was. “So, I’m doing this political thing…” Oh, really? CN: bullshit.

Marina Lambrakis didn’t raise the bar very much. Posting on her own Facebook, she claimed she couldn’t work with ‘someone who knows fuck all.’ We’re not completely sure how this working-as-a-team thing works, but we’re pretty sure slagging off the opposition is not the way to go about starting. If she can’t work with idiots in the OUSU office, how will she work with the ones sat in the University admin building?!

Did no one tell her there is no ‘i’ in ‘team’?

When The Big Picture split, Jessy Parker Humphreys jumped ship to run as an independent in light of the accusations against Eden Tanner. Ouch.

But we say kudos to Jessy for running as an independent candidate. We back the crowdfunding of the campaign, and highlighting the inequalities and issues faced by independent candidates. And the promise of drawings of cats. Cats are good.

Welfair has not been particularly playing fair, and we hear that Tom Wadsworth jumped from running for one position to another to boost his chances of winning. This is pretty telling if you actually read his manifesto – please, Tom, clarify what you are running for, because it reads like you’re gunning for a welfare role, not Academic Affairs Campaign Officer.

And Rowan Davis for NUS Rep… well, no point turning up to vote for that because she’s already elected because of quotas. That’s despite some of her less-than-savoury comments about Jews over the summer…

This election finally sees a slate which promises to ‘vote sensibly’ as NUS Reps. Oh Well, Alright Then’s promotion has taken a step up recently, with one candidate promising to ‘do Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights in full drag in New College cloisters’ and upload it to YouTube. We also strongly back the taking of a pint to the conference. Drink every time you regret the whole campaign and wish you’d never been born. Not, of course, that VERSA has any problem with the NUS.

One enigma of this election is the independent candidate, Beth Currie, running for VP Charities. We tried to find some goss and offered to interview her, but to no avail. Maybe that means she’ll keep her head down and do a good job.

VERSA’s judgement? RON. RON RON RON. There are some cracking candidates running, especially for some PTE positions, but (to play by OUSU’s rules, as is our wont) we’re not going to endorse any kind of cross-slate group. So vote for that ginger-haired, not-quite-existent character who will save OUSU (and God knows it needs saving) from the dodgier candidates out there. And hopefully, the few good ones will scrape past the might of the Burgundy vote.

Not this Ron… although we do back him too

VERSA wishes all candidates approximately even luck in their pursuit of ‘high office’.