OUSU VP (Women) position survives referendum threat

first_imgA motion to hold a referendum onwhether the OUSU position of Vice-President (Women) should be kept has beenrejected by members of OUSU council. The referendum would have been held in 6thweek for female members of the University with the question “The positionVice-President (Women) should continue, yes or no?” The motion, which was put forwardby Helen Bagshaw from Balliol and Lorna Stevenson from Hertford was defeated byan overwhelming majority of council. Both declined to comment on the motion toCherwell.James Lamming, Merton JCRPresident, who was present at the meeting said the reasons for putting forwardthe motion appeared to be “to encourage consultation and discussion on whetherthe VP (Women) should still exist, rather than to call for its removal.”OUSU President Emma Norris said, “Themajor issue for rejection seemed to be the lack of consultation with those whomatter such as women’s officers and common rooms.” She said the reasons forcreating the post of VP (Women); “to fight discrimination and make provisionfor women in a male-dominated university” had not yet been dealt with andadded, “A simple yes or no doesn’t address all the responsibilities of the VP(Women) and opportunities for changing the post rather than getting rid of it.”Bex Wilkinson, a former VP(Women) said that she was “very glad that the motion was defeated,” and feltthe issue was raised because “people always want to change things about OUSUand, because OUSU is limited by money, there are always positions that peoplethink can be moved or got rid of.”Lamming said that he supporteddiscussion of OUSU’s various roles but said that “a referendum in the middle ofan election campaign would have simplified and trivialized the issue too much.” He continued, “More generally Isupport the role because a VP (Women) is much better qualified for a variety offemale welfare issues such as pregnancy, which I do not believe a male welfaresab [sabbatical officer] would be as approachable for.” He added that he was “pleasedthe motion did not pass”.Ellie Cumbo, the current VP(Women) believes that the motion was rejected because “there is still a strongrecognition in common rooms that the post is still necessary as long as womenremain in the minority at every level of Oxfordlife.” With regards to Bagshaw and Stevenson, Cumbo said, “I know that theirmotions were pure if a little naïve.” She said that she wants to “show studentshow valuable the position is” and move closer to a time when “the need forsomeone to campaign full-time on these issues will disappear.”ARCHIVE: 2nd week MT 2005last_img

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