Losing My OUSU Virginity

Well, it was… interesting. To be fair, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I would even go as far as saying I enjoyed it.

When we arrived there was a strange atmosphere; people seemed to be excited which was weird given that everyone was saying it was going to last hours and hours. We were hit with un-organisation straight away, with not enough orange voting cards, agendas, or voting slips, in addition to there not being enough seats in the lecture theatre. So we had to try and find a comfortable spot on the steps at the side. At this point I’d already tucked into the wine gums I had to try and make the long meeting ahead slightly better (special thanks to Chris for advising me to bring food).

Then on to the motions. Fortunately, everyone recognised that it was going to be a very long meeting given the controversial issue of the BDS movement. However one particular person, to the annoyance of the attendees, requested that the BDS motion was moved right to the end of the agenda. With a resounding no (given that over half were literally only there to vote on that motion) we proceeded in the intended order.

Finally we were on to the BDS motion, the bit everyone had been waiting for. There were two amendments to be made, which, after quite a long period of debate, both failed. So, a waste of time. It was here that I came across the strange notion of having to vote for moving to a vote. Very laborious, but at least we got an arm work- out. I quote: “curls for the girls” and “all about the gains”. (Barrie)

Interestingly, the BDS motion was hardly debated at all. I mean, the first thing we heard from the opposition was in the summary speech, so in effect he had to summarise something we hadn’t even heard about. One girl spiced things up by asking if we could do a straw poll on who in the room had been mandated to vote, which got an ‘oooooooooo’ from those present. Probably the most interesting thing that happened. But we didn’t even have the debate as someone called ‘move to vote’ and it was voted that we vote. So that was that.

The rest of the meeting opened my eyes to how Oxford students can be very pedantic. I mean, to be fair some of the points made were quite good and useful, but I still don’t really get why someone decided to point out a grammatical error in a motion where they had missed out the word ‘is’. As a linguist, obviously grammar is important, but when we’d already been there for 2 hours ish, no one really cared. Even the Chair of the meeting, whom Jack described as “Will the cutie pie” looked bored.

So overall, after asking “what’s going on?” numerous times, after witnessing ‘selfies’ being taken in the meeting, after being excited by recognising some people I saw on Shark Tales, and after realising I could never go into Politics, I can conclude that my first experience of an OUSU meeting wasn’t particularly amazing, but wasn’t as horrifically boring and tedious as I expected.

Sian Kelly


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