"Joke candidate" wins presidency at OUSU

Louis Trup is a third year geographer at Brasenose College Image credit: pandrcutts

Students at Oxford have made history by electing a supposed ‘joke candidate’ to the presidency of the Oxford University Student Union (OUSU).

Louis ‘LJ’ Trup won the election with 1,685 votes, defeating rival candidates Jane Cahill, Alex Bartram and Nathan Akehurst. He was the only candidate to receive more than 1,000 of the 3,972 first-preference votes cast (representing a voter turnout of 20.7 per cent of the student population); Cahill, who placed second, received 975.

Trup’s ‘personifesto’, written in crayon and featuring a photograph of himself DJ-ing, contained policies such as “Double beds for all” and “World Peace”, alongside the suggestion that 5th Week Blues could be eliminated through the elimination of 5th week. It ended with the phrase, “THE MOB HAS SPOKEN”.

Cahill ran under a slogan of #Jane4Change; Akehurst’s platform was #ReclaimOUSU, whilst Bartram’s slate ran as Team Alex. Trup went further with #LJTrup4ousu4change, and many quarters have attributed his victory to his use of social media. He was also widely viewed before the election as a protest vote, responding to the ‘career politicians’ which often seem to dominate student politics. In contrast, Bartram is currently president of the Balliol College JCR, whilst Cahill was JCR President at Queen’s last year and closely involved with the Oxford University Labour Club (OULC).

Cai Wilshaw, a student at St Anne’s College who acted as an activist for Jane4Change, told The Cambridge Student: “I think Oxford was apathetic towards OUSU long before this year’s election. What LJ Trup did was he turned apathy into antipathy, and turned lots of people’s anger or disinterest into protest votes... he’s now been elected on a platform of shaking things up – which is what he’ll have to do.

“Though Trup ran on a joke candidate platform, I do hope he’ll think more seriously about the ways he’d like to change OUSU. I think he’d do well to look to the examples set by the other candidates who lost their elections, but who have real experience with OUSU and who care a great deal about what it does,” he said.

Talking about the system whereby OUSU candidates run in slates, Wilshaw added that “it definitely has its benefits for all parties. Taking part in a campaign with a slate is fun – and elections at this level shouldn’t really be too serious or negative. It makes student politics look like something great to be a part of, and it also has the added advantage of encouraging freshers to run.”

Although the Oxford Tab have claimed to be the only paper to back Trup’s candidacy, declaring after his victory, “It’s the Tab wot won it”, it was an article written by Trup for The Oxford Student which appears to have truly convinced voters about the worth of his campaign. He will not take up his role as President until the next academic year (Michaelmas 2014).

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