Huffpost UK Universities & Education

Oxford Conservative Association Ousted From University Union After 'Debauched' Activities

Posted: Updated:
OXFORD UNI TORY PARTY
An Oxford Union former president during a debate | PA

Oxford's student debating union has taken steps to break ties with the university's Tory society after it was outed as "corrupt from top to bottom" by its own members.

The Oxford Conservative Association (OCA) hit headlines in 2011 when members were filmed singing anti-semitic Nazi songs during one of their infamous "Port and Policy meetings".

Oxford University's debating society union previously offered the OCA free use of its Macmillan Room but have now reneged on the agreement, as a result of the incidents exposed last year. Along with other societies, the OCA will now have to pay £550 per evening to use the room, according to the Oxford Student.

Seung-yoon Lee, president of Oxford Union, said the public had "misleadingly" associated the union with the OCA.

"This is in no small part because their most regular meeting, Port and Policy, has been held weekly at the Union for a very long time.

"The Union holds no political allegiance and is a forum for discussion of all beliefs and opinions. In line with this thinking, no contract was signed that would give OCA preferential treatment. However, they are still very welcome to hire out Union rooms at the same rate as any other organisation, political or not."

A second year member of the OCA told the university's student paper the move was "quite vindictive", while another said the society was under assault from national media and had been scapegoated.

The society, which counts Margaret Thatcher among its past presidents, was previously known as the Oxford University Conservative Association until Oxford revoked its university status last year.

The move followed a damning article which appeared in the Oxford Student in 2011, revealing "debauchery, anti-Semitism and nepotism" at the society.

In a series of leaked documents, one member reportedly claimed the society was a "better dressed version of the BNP", while private emails between senior members of the OCA called the meetings "an utter disgrace".

Another notorious Oxford club came under fire last year after emails were leaked showing members of the "Honey Badgers" drinking club recommending luring a "fit list" of freshers to a party with no witnesses.

The OCA has yet to find another venue for its "informal debates", with the website stating the location is to be confirmed.

Earlier this year, president George Mawhinney posted a statement on the society's website saying the recent media coverage on the members' activities were "both misleading and misrepresentative".

"The Association, in fact, takes pride in representing a range of conservative views amongst its diverse student membership," he wrote.

"Nearly half of the current officers went to state schools [and] across the last year more than a quarter of our elected officeholders have been Black and Minority Ethnic students."

Mawhinney denied the room had ever been given to the society for free and told the Huffington Post UK : "Mr Lee did offer to co-host events with us, however the terms of these offers were not in OCA's best interests and so I declined them.

"We bring many leading politicians every term and have co-hosted these with the Union in the past as part of a mutually beneficial relationship. This Michaelmas Lord Heseltine, Lord Howard, and Andrew Lansley, to name but a few, are coming to the Association- but will not be co-hosted with the Union."

Also on The Huffington Post

Close
Former OCA Members
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Oxford Conservative Association : GroupSpaces

OUCA - Oxford University Conservative Association (now Oxford ...

Young, Bright, and on the Right: A PR facepalm for Oxford's young ...

Oxford Union ends Conservative privileges

“Debauched” OCA ousted from Union