Oriel votes against BME, Women’s and Disabilities reps

The status quo continues


In a referendum this week, the Oriel College JCR failed to pass a motion for the introduction of representatives for the BME community, women, and those with disabilities. 

Oriel JCR, affectionately described by many as “Toriel”, voted on Friday on the motion, which required a supermajority of two thirds to pass.

The motion saw a turnout of 41 per cent, significantly missing the 67 per cent requirement  with only 61 per cent in favour the motion.

Scenes from the Cecil Rhodes Protest earlier this term

Scenes from the Cecil Rhodes Protest earlier this term

The referendum, which proposed replacing the JCR’s Equal Opportunities Officer with three representatives for each community, required a 67 per cent supermajority according to the Oriel JCR constitution.

Oriel JCR President, Kate Welsh, said that the vote “in no way means that Oriel is not committed to improving the situation in College for those who identify as belonging to a liberation group”, and that it would have “no impact” on the JCR’s prioritisation of welfare issues.

The turnout, described by Returning Officer Peter Corden, was “fairly disappointing,” while Oriel’s Equal Opportunities Officer was “determined to celebrate diversity in the Oriel community,” encouraging those concerned with the decision to get in touch.

Rhodes 5

Oriel member Eli Nathan, who didn’t vote, “didn’t think anyone would actually vote against” and was shocked at the result of what seemed to him like a “done deal.”

The failure of the motion means that Oriel will continue to have just one JCR officer for Disabilities Equal Opportunities, with no individual representatives for the BME community, for women and for those with disabilities.

This puts Oriel at odds with most Oxford colleges, which have individual representatives for each community.

The vote itself had to be delayed from the Wednesday of 5th week following the failure of Oriel’s BallotBin electoral system.

Concern was further noted at the creation of three new representatives from a single referendum.