The Oxford Blue can reveal that the President of the Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA) has been removed from his role following a decision by the OUCA’s Disciplinary Committee.
The OUCA President was found to have breached rules 27, B, 135 and 27, A, 21 regarding financial mismanagement as well as rules 51, A, 5 and 51, A, 334 regarding disciplinary misconduct. The Committee found that these rule breaches could not be explained away and “the seriousness of the allegations constituted grounds for the removal of the President from office.” The complaint regarding rule 51, A, 2 was not upheld and the Disciplinary Committee found that there were no questions to be answered regarding rule 3(3)(iv)(4).
Earlier in the day there was considerable confusion over whether the President planned to resign from his position before the decision of the Disciplinary Committee was announced. He messaged an internal group chat to say that he was resigning, citing that the Disciplinary Committee appeared likely to rule against him. However, less than an hour later he posted again to say that he was going to appeal the decision, and that he hopes to be reinstated in due course.
The complaint over which the President was removed consisted of a 42 page document where the Treasurer-elect made a wide range of allegations against the President.
It was alleged that the President used the OUCA’s debit card for unauthorised spending on eight separate occasions between July 23rd and August 17th, with £76.50 spent in total. This expenditure took place in several locations across London and Oxford, as well as on TfL travel charges. This is reflected in the OUCA’s most recent accounts which document these transactions as “mistaken payment[s]”.
The President was accused of “attempt[ing] to downplay the severity” of these payments, claiming that he paid back the total amount of them as soon as he became aware that he made them. This is disputed in the disciplinary complaint, which suggests that the President was aware of the payments before he made a repayment of £76.50 on 14th October.
The complaint suggested that the President attempted to justify his behaviour to Council, the OUCA’s Governing Body, as a mistake and that “most [sic] the payments were made on things where he taps in and out such as public transport.” However, the complainant argued that only 2 out of 8 of these payments were made on public transport, a claim which is supported by the evidence that The Oxford Blue has seen. It is alleged that the President violated the rules of the Association by failing “to fulfil his duties related to the use of the OUCA card” and that “he has also committed actions which may serve to bring the Association into disrepute.”
Further to this, the President is accused of failing to notify officers of these payments when he first received bank statements from HSBC. According to the complaint, officers were only made aware of the article at 2nd week Council. The President is also accused of failing to facilitate the addition of the President-Elect and Treasurer-Elect to the online banking leading the OUCA to have to rely on the personal bank account of the current Treasurer to make reimbursements, something the complaint describes as “an incredibly unprofessional and unthrough management of the accounts.”
The ex-President of the Oxford University Conservative Association has been contacted for comment. An OUCA spokesperson declined to comment.