Access blog breaches rules in OUSU election contest

first_imgOUSU’s Vice-President for Access and Academic Affairs has been reprimanded by the Returning Officer after attempts to promote a new initiative violated electoral rules.James Lamming is responsible for a new section of OUSU’s website where current students can submit profiles of their experiences applying to and being interviewed at Oxford.At hustings held last Friday, Lamming asked the candidates for President to send in profiles of themselves, suggesting that it would provide good publicity and that he would publish on his blog the order in which profiles arrive.However, Returning Officer James Dray ruled that Lamming was in direct violation of electoral rules as the blog would give unequal publicity on a media platform.Lamming said, “Early on Saturday afternoon I sent each of the candidates who had said yes to my request an email reminding them of their promise in hustings the previous day, and explained the details of what was needed in an interview profile.”He added to candidates that by doing so they would be engineering positive exposure for their up-coming election.“In the emails, I said that I would publish in my blog on Monday the order in which profiles arrive, giving the implied threat that the student body would know which candidates matched their words with deeds. I also offered ‘bonus points’ for candidates who solicited further profiles from their friends to help me collect dozens and dozens of profiles,” he said.The Returning Officer was forced to contact Lamming as his actions flouted electoral rules.Dray said, “I banned the candidates from submitting the profiles as soon as I heard what was happening, as it violates the restrictions on certain types of electronic communication as well as the need for fair and equal coverage.”Lamming criticised the regulations’ implications, saying, “James Dray is justified in enforcing the rules, which turn out to be fairly clear against what I was light-heartedly suggesting to do. However, on a more serious point, I think it is a shame that students can’t discover which candidates are just hot air; promising much but doing little.“The website is becoming really valuable, so it is a shame some of the candidates aren’t helping out when they said they would, but I hope other students across Oxford will act and send in a profile,” he added.last_img

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