Union Treasurer Lachs accounts, membership figures

It has been drawn to HackOx’s attention that current Union big dog and presidential aspirant Noah Lachs has been found lacking in one of his duties, specifically that of the membership drive. Many treasurers view this as a great opportunity, and never pass up on the chance to harangue the crowd at hustings about how successful their membership drive was. Unfortunately, it seems that Noah wouldn’t need an ark to fit all this term’s new members, and could probably do so with a small fishing boat. Indeed, one Union insider described it as “the worst membership drive in history”.

Presumably, this would make quite an impact on the Union accounts. And these should be easy to come by, given the Union’s Rule 63, which states “(a) All termly and annual budgets and accounts, and all previous years’ Audited Accounts shall be kept in a file in the General Office for the inspection of Members during office hours with no prior appointment.” It goes on to say that “(b) All income and expenditure records will be available for inspection by any member by appointment with the President within ten working days.”

But rumour has it that the Treasurer and his good friend President Stuart Webber are concealing this from the members, and that the records from Michaelmas – the term in question – are not being made public, putting the President in breach of the Union’s own rules. This isn’t the first time such a travesty has happened. An investigation 6 years ago revealed The Union holding back receipts of officers’ expenses. Could that be it? Or is it embarrassingly low income from new members? Either way: this isn’t very accountable.

HackOx wonders what the Union elite could possibly have to hide. As ever, we are forced to ask: cui bono?

Cui bono, Noah?

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Browne’s return to the Union contested

HackOx can reveal this evening that a snake previously considered extinct is returning to the Oxford Union’s long grasses and swampy marshes. That’s right folks, David Browne has announced to his horde of online fans that he has been “ratified by Standing as the newest Senior Member of the Library Committee!” Glory and honour untold!

Corks were popped and toasts were heartily raised at the end of Trinity term, as the Hack World and Oxford’s womenfolk watched this lecherous serpent slither off to Exeter. While it has long been known that Ireland’s finest export nurses a desire to grease the seat of the hallowed Union Presidency, such fears were able to be laughed off with ease until recently; if he’s denied access to most of Oxford’s kitchens, how could he get back into the Union?

But the Union staff haven’t taken the same precautions as many Oxford Colleges, and they still permit the white-gloved sleuth on their premises, content to offer him, by appointment, what he was never able to win through election.

The plot thickens, however. HackOx has been made aware of an objection to Mr Browne’s appointment. While this could easily have been made on the grounds of taste and common decency, this particular protest is actually grounded in the rulebook. A cursory glance at Rule 25 (b) (ii) (2) reveals that a Senior Member of Library Committee must be nominated in the seventh Public Business Meeting of each term. Thus, this coronation is patently invalid. So, if any noble Member wants to make an objection, now would be the time…

HackOx awaits a decision with bated breath. With the way Browne’s going, soon the Union will be the only place left in Oxford which he’s allowed to frequent.

It’s me that you need (in your manifesto)

Manifesto scrutiny for last term’s Union elections seemed so simple. Henna Dattani, running for Secretary, claimed to have bagged Sir Elton John as a speaker. During questioning by the ROs, Union President Charlie Vaughan confirmed that this was the case, and spoke effusively of Henna’s central role in securing this big name. No objections were raised, and her manifesto was accepted.

Imagine, then, Henna’s surprise when, later that same day, Rob Harris claimed that it was he who had done most to ensure Sir Elton’s appearance, and his rep strongly insisted that Henna’s claim was false. More confusingly yet, when recalled for his testimony, Charlie Vaughan changed his tune: to the frustration and eventually fury of the ROs, he now insisted that Henna’s role had been minimal – the real credit belonged to Rob.

Although Henna’s claim was eventually upheld, the arguments reportedly lasted well into the night. But what had provoked such a u-turn from the Union elite? HackOx surely doesn’t think it had anything to do with them learning that Henna would be contesting their chosen candidate for the presidency…

Shaïdy Business at the Union

HackOx can reveal that proceedings with last term’s Union election may not have – shock – been as squeaky-clean as they first appeared. On November 26th, the day before the election, the Saïd Business School sent out an email to students, encouraging them to vote for Stephan Jensen, an SBS student and candidate for Secretary’s Committee, as well as “a broader set of candidates[…]who have indicated particular interest in working closely with us.”

This indication of interest comes as a result of “recent conversations with the Oxford Union’s candidates.” HackOx will refrain from speculating on what may or may not have been said in these conversations.

union sbs trib 1 blanked emailsunion sbs trib 2

Union Rule 33.a.i.20 states that “making use of the University’s Nexus email system for the purposes of soliciting votes for or against a candidate, or for drawing attention to the Election” constitutes electoral malpractice. And whilst the SBS is a part of the University, its email addresses are not part of the University’s Nexus system.

However, there are whisperings that there was a movement from some members of last term’s committee to carry out a tribunal as a result of this email (which, incidentally, reached over 400 people). This did not ever come to fruition because, the rumours allege, those at the top of the Union hierarchy didn’t really fancy the hassle.

HackOx can but wonder at how other members of the Union might feel about the possibility of special privileges for SBS members because the Union’s committees couldn’t be bothered with a tribunal…