The Oxford Blue has obtained documents that reveal the Oxford Union’s planned termcard for Michaelmas Term 2021. The termcard contains a mix of online and in-person individual speaker events, alongside fully in-person panel events and debates.
Jordan Peterson will be visiting the Union in-person in 7th week. Peterson is a Canadian professor of psychology and YouTube personality. He garnered considerable controversy in 2016, when he stated that he would not use the preferred gender pronouns of students and faculty and campaigned against a Canadian government bill which added “gender identity or expression” as a prohibited ground of discrimination to the Canadian Human Rights Act. Peterson was consequently the subject of considerable media attention and protests on campus.
Chris Wallace is an American journalist and long-standing Fox News anchor, who will be visiting the Union in 6th week. Alongside hosting Fox News Sundays since 2003, Wallace is also notable for moderating the final 2016 US presidential election debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, as well as the first 2020 US presidential debate between then-President Donald Trump and former Vice-President Joe Biden. He has also previously interviewed former US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladamir Putin.
Jacob Rees-Mogg is a current British cabinet minister serving as Leader of the House of Commons. He will be participating in the Union’s traditional “This House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government” debate in 1st week, joining fellow Conservative MPs Sir Geoffrey Cox and Robert Buckland in opposing the motion. Speaking for the proposition will be Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds, who was appointed to the Labour frontbench by Keir Starmer in April 2020.
The Union will also host Belarusian human rights activist Svetlana Tsikhanouskay online, who ran as the main opposition candidate against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in the 2020 Belarusian presidential election and is now in exile after Lukashenko won his sixth consecutive term in office.
Alongside these political speakers, the termcard also contains speakers from the arts and sports, including professional British cyclist and prolific Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish as well as Apollo 13 actor Kevin Bacon, and British-Australian singer Olivia Newton-John.
In keeping with the Union’s traditional pre-Covid format, in-person debates will be held every Thursday of term-time, with eight taking place in total. These include a debate on liberty entitled “This House would give up liberty for safety”, and debates on US global leadership and meat consumption.
The Union will also host a ball on 12th November, although details of this are yet unconfirmed, alongside a gin-tasting session, a pink karaoke night, and a drag show.
President of the Oxford Union, Chengkai Xie, told The Oxford Blue, “We are working on finalising our term card, and we will be releasing the full term card later this week. My committee has worked hard over the summer to put together an exciting term card, featuring a diverse range of individual speakers, an interesting series of debates and special events as well as some great social events for our incoming freshers and existing members.”