REVEALED: OUCA’s secret dining society
….where members refer to each other as ex-colonies of the British Empire
Members of the ‘Viceroys’, a secret Oxford drinking society with strong ties to the Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA), have been using the names of former British colonies as pseudonyms.
In emails obtained by The Tab Oxford, the Viceroys refer to themselves as ‘India’, ‘Canada’, ‘Australia’ and ‘Ireland’, for the President, Secretary, Social Secretary and Treasurer respectively.
The emails reveal a list of people named as recipients of a Viceroys invitation, which refers to the recipients as ‘Members’. The names are:
• Andrew North (Chemistry, New College)
• Frederick de Fossard (History, Magdalen)
• George Mawhinney (Law, Oriel)
• James Heywood (PPE, Magdalen)
• Oliver Johnson (History, Exeter)
• Robert Greig (PPE, Magdalen)
The all-male recipients of the Viceroys email include the current OUCA President (Greig), its Secretary (Heywood) and OUCA ex-President (Mawhinney), as well as four other members of the Association.
The emails show how the Viceroys dine together on anniversaries of significant moments in Medieval British history including St Crispin’s Day, St George’s Day, the anniversary of Charles I’s death, and the Queen’s birthday, as well as a ‘Michaelmas Banquet’.
One email entitled ‘Canada’ states: “It is my great pleasure to remind you all of our dinner on St Crispin’s Day, that soundest of feats….we shall remember when Prince Hal put to flight the ancient enemy on the field of Agincourt on the 25th of October 1415.”
The email later describes how the dinner was “arranged by our esteemed officers; India, Ireland and Australia.”
For the ‘Trafalgar dinner’, Canada also writes: “We are meeting at 6:30 at Malmaison, a particularly fine establishment. The dress code will be white tie, and we ask that you wear you club bow ties.”
When contacted by The Tab, Rob Greig said: “This society is separate from OUCA and there is no evidence that any social society has any influence in the Association.”
One former member said: “I left the club many terms ago because I was not interested in being a member of a formal dining society. I was a member only for a very short time, but decided that membership wasn’t for me.”
The others named in the emails did not respond to The Tab when asked for comment.
The revelation comes as OUCA attempts to repair its chequered reputation, having twice lost university affiliation in recent years. In June 2009, OUCA had to drop the word ‘university’ from its title after an incident in which racist jokes were told at a hustings.