OUSU: Forgiveness and Love

Miley Cyrus has contributed much to our culture.

Perhaps her most important contribution was her 2010 track ‘Forgiveness and Love’. It reminds us that in the end, no one loses or wins. It shows us that the ability to let go of hate is the most important one we can possess. It impresses on our hearts that with enough hope, we can always start again.

And I think Miley’s right. Last night OUSU Council voted to censure two of its own. We voted, by secret ballot, to condemn the lack of handover given to two part time officers by their predecessors. The atmosphere: fraught. Allegation after allegation. Accusations of personal rivalry on the part of the proposer of the motion. Correspondence read out in front of everyone. No small amount of shock when one of the most prominent figures in OUSU was publicly condemned on behalf of the students of the university. By a margin of one vote.

And you know what? That’s OK. Forgiveness means an understanding that a person – or an organisation – is so much more than one of their actions. That they can change.

Two weeks ago I censured OUSU in my own way. I wrote five hundred words attacking them. I used the word ‘hate’. The post received six times the normal number of reads and parts were reprinted in Cherwell. I stand by every word, but tonight I have something new to say. The OUSU I saw last night was different. It was unafraid of controversy, unafraid to attack with words. Unafraid to censure. Passions were raised and argument was had, and democracy settled the result. And in two weeks the students censured will come back and give their views on new motions and new controversy – and that’s something to be proud of. Forgiveness wins. We can forgive, too. All it takes is a little hope.

And as for love? I didn’t see him last night, I don’t think he was there. But I don’t mind anymore. I walked out of the room smiling. Because forgiveness isn’t that limited – the most important person to forgive is yourself, and the same goes with love. Perhaps to forgive yourself takes a hope that you don’t make the same mistakes a second time.

I think that part of the reason we hate is that we are afraid to love. The fear is understandable, but it must be fought with everything we have. There’s a lot in OUSU to hate, but the central idea of a student union – uniting students – must be defended as a good one. We must have the hope to love the idea that as individuals we mean little but as a collective we can give each other meaning. And as a collective that values debate we can give each other purpose.

Christopher Casson


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