Talk:Oxford University Student Union

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It's great to see this here. I'm glad you've arrived. Deb 18:23, 30 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Thanks! You are too kind. But I have to say that I am beginning to find Wikipedia disturbingly addictive... Automaton 30 July 2003

Oops. Good eye at catching that, though! Automaton 31 July 2003

Admissions, Target Schools, etc[edit]

There has been some to-and-fro on this, especially between people with strong feelings about Oxford and OUSU. Instead of inserting highly editorializing bits (e.g., "supports Tory policy" or "led the country in widening access") I think these articles should stick to facts. There is a page on Oxbridge elitism, where these things are better hashed out.

Katherine Rainwood[edit]

I see that Rainwood removed all references to herself from the article on the grounds that the content was "inaccurate". I give her every credit for being upfront about the fact that she removed the material herself, instead of doing it anonymously. I've put back a couple of lines about her, and I've vetted it for all factual correctness.

I put in that she "resigned", instead of using the word "impeached" which was there before. The new version is more accurate. Yes, it's true that if she hadn't resigned, she probably would have been impeached (the university statutes clearly state that the president and the other sabbaticals must be "in residence", and once you get "sent down" or thrown out, you can't be a sabbatical any more). But there's a big difference between jumping and being pushed.

Also, to be conisderate of her feelings, I put in that she used "unfair means" (which was the exact wording used by the Proctors in their disciplinary findings -- see the University Gazette 1998) instead of the more caustic "cheating" from the original article entry. Yes, its a bit wimpy, but if we can be kind without sacrificing accuracy, why not?

But one thing I think the Wikipedia community should insist on is that a reference to her episode has to be included in this article. I'm sure that she would rather not be reminded about what's probably a still painful memory from a youthful indiscretion. But to leave this out completely would be fundamentally dishonest. Rainwood made history as the first president to resign (previously, only vice-presidents had ever done so). Articles about the resignation ran on the front pages of the Daily Telegraph, in every daily newspaper in the UK, and in editorials across the English-speaking world. Even all these years later, just Google her name and "Oxford" and you'll find newspaper and tv stories from the UK, Zimbabwe, India, the USA, and Australia. She's arguably the most famous (or rather infamous) Oxford president of all time.

I feel badly for Rainwood. When you're a teenager or in your early 20s, you should be able to do dumb things and then put them behind you. But feeling badly for her doesn't trump a responsibility to the truth.

Someone appears to have reverted this to "impeached" etc. I have re-edited. KR resigned; she could not in any event have been "impeached" as the concept simple does not exist in the OUSU Constitution. Forcible removal could only have been by means of a motion of no confidence, which could not have happened as she resigned during the vacation (no-con motions can only be adopted by the Council, which can only sit during full term). Whatever would hypothetically have happened had she not resigned, to describe what did happen as anything other than a resignation is factually incorrect. 13:19, 15 August 2005 (UTC)


I removed the addition of 2005 milestone presidents for two reasons: (1) running for parliament is not historic or significant -- many past OUSU presidents have run, and at least one is currently an MP; (2) even it is milestone, this happened after these people were OUSU presidents, not during their presidencies.

Have added Will Straw. Have also noted an incident which occurred before his presidency; I think it is significant to his presidency, to the extent that this incident, which had received much media coverage, would have been well-known to those electing him to the post.

Dave Spart[edit]

Could we attempt slightly less of a rant in the history section? In what way were les evennements of 1968 "looming" over 1961? Surely it is worth relating social change in the 1960s to the formation of OUSU, but can't we do it more elegantly and accurately? Should I add a cleanup notice here? Thruston 8 July 2005 21:47 (UTC)

Will Straw[edit]

I think we have seen enough additions and subtractions from the entry about Will Straw to realize that he has his admirers and detractors. The important thing, I think, about the "Notables" section is to have info about presidents who had notable achievements/failures at Oxford. Straw's level of exec resignations is not notable, precisely because it is not unusually high. There are frequently mass resignations of part-time exec officers, not out of protest but out of academic pressure in their third (i.e. exam) term. The two sabbatical resignations is more unusual, but neither of those two sabs fingered Straw as the reason for leaving.[edit]

I put back some of these changes, which seemed to be reasonable and not POV. Most are gramatical. Two for the pres are a bit more. [1] After John Patten (Sec State for Edu and member of the Hartford SCR) was dismissed from Cabinet, he did in interviews specifically name Roy Jenkins (Oxford Chancellor and Lib Dem leader in the Lords) and the campaign in the Lords and Akash Maharaj (OUSU pres) and the OUSU campaign and as contributing to his fall by embarassing him in his home university and constituency, but the old article wording could be read as suggesting that the campaigns were the primary or only cause, so I have tightented the wording; Patten had so many other missteps he might have been dismissed anyway. [2] I agree with that it's important to say that Will Straw (OUSU pres) carried on the anti-fee protests, since the old wording could be read as suggesting that Straw initiated them, so I put back the change.

Cheers Mess

Restored Text References[edit]

In reply to requests for substantiation of two fact in the article (original president and the 1992 president), please see below. In addition, the standard way to seek verification of disputed or non-sourced facts is to use the Wikipedia "fact" tag next ot the text, instead of deletion.

On the issue of the first potential president and the St Scholastica Day slaughter, see the University of Oxford Gazette, 1968, which was gives this account by the University Archivist, citing documents at the Bodeleian; this was also used in the petition to the Privy Council (addressing the legal question fo the "tripartite" relationship of the Crown, students, and the University's governing council). For the 1993 president and the dismissal of John Patten, see Patten's interview with the Times Higher Education supplememt in the summer of 1994, and Roy Jenkins' letter used by the Oxford LibDems in the 1996 OUSU elections.

Both documents are in the public domain and publicly verifiable, thereby meeting Wkikpedia's standards for fact verification.

Oxoniensis 23:06, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

I have reverted the reinsertion of the text about the historical student leader into the past Presidents section because the same text now appears in the "history" section above, where I inserted it, and where I believe it belongs. It seems to me strange to try and insert this section into the Past Presidents [of OUSU] section as the historical figure in question is NOT a past President. He may be a past student leader, and therefore it may be interesting and informative to insert the text about him in the history section, but putting it here makes no sense. Note that your edit resulted in the same text appearing twice in the article, in both sections.
I have again removed the text about John Patten resigning partly due to OUSU's action because, although you have quoted sources for this assertion here, you have not done so in the article references section. Even if the sources do appear and the sentence is inserted, I think it should be made clear that the National Campaign rather than the President in question contributed to the dismissal.
--SandyDancer 07:40, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I have left the re-inserted text about the first president in the history section. I have also refined the text about the 1993 president. I will add the citation to the Times article shortly, with a link to the full text, as soon as I get an e-mail reply from the paper about copyright permission.
14:25, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
Looks good --SandyDancer 16:47, 2 October 2006 (UTC)


Does anyone know why OUSU uses the spelling "student union" that normally has many an SU pedant rushing to change it to "students' union"? Timrollpickering 11:55, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

Occupations and Protests[edit]

I've added a section on those occupations that took place in my time and after. I hope there's someone with knowledge of the 1968 and 1972 occupations who can contribute the history of those also. 21:13, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Number of colleges and PPHs represented[edit]

the University's 46 colleges and Permanent Private Halls

This suggests to me that Fellows of All Souls are in some way represented by OUSU. Surely they aren't. Should it read, '45 of the 46 colleges and halls, one college, All Souls, having no students'? Note that when Green and Templeton merge there will be only 38 colleges.--Oxonian2006 (talk) 20:40, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

All Souls does actually have students, it just doesn't usually have undergraduates. I know of at least 3 prize fellows currently pursuing degrees. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:20, 11 April 2009 (UTC)


The capitalisation of the word "university" needs to be rationalised in this article. Where the word means the University of Oxford or the powers-that-be, I believe it should be capitalised. Can someone back me up on this? Ceepee (talk) 10:02, 7 September 2008 (UTC)