Magdalene College JCR in election controversy

Tessa Evans - Deputy News Editor 24 November 2011

Magdalene College JCR has been the subject of controversy this week, as the incoming JCR President has been accused of attempting to manipulate the outcome of the JCR election.

Andrew Webster, who was elected to the committee this week, sent an email in which he endorsed a list of candidates he would like to see elected to the other JCR positions up for election. The email was circulated amongst a number of people in what has been seen as an attempt to influence their vote.

Webster’s letter included the phrase “I would be interested if you could talk to your people and propose the following motions” followed by a list of his preferred candidates.

The incident has been described by the current JCR committee as “an abuse of his position as President” . Returning Officer Jo Hyland, in an email sent out to the Magdalene student body, emphasised that the current JCR Committee “strongly disagrees with what has been sent” and suggested that “as a result of this situation this election is arguably unfair”.

Magdalene College JCR held a five hour debate considering how to proceed with the situation, and was forced to call in CUSU President Gerard Tully to mediate. It was eventually decided that a re-election would unfairly disadvantage the candidates named in the email, who were not directly involved in the incident.

Webster has issued an apology to the members of Magdalene College, in which he denied accusations that this was a “deliberate ploy to use my position in a way to influence the election” and defended the email as part of a “running joke” with a friend.

Third year Magdalene student George Morrissey argued that the email was a “silly mistake that’s been blown out of proportion”.

Tessa Evans – Deputy News Editor