Everything passes in OUSA Referendum. Except that darned constitution.

The OUSA referendum resulted in all motions passing the vote, with the exception of the crucial motion addressing the current constitutional structure of OUSA.

Motions accepting the OUSA audited financial statements and annual report for 2010 both passed with only minor opposition, although in both cases more voters abstained than cast a substantive vote.
Motions appointing financial services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers as OUSA auditors for 2011 and Anderson Lloyd as honorary solicitors also both passed comfortably, in each case votes in favour actually beating abstentions.
Other motions defining or altering OUSA’s position on certain issues found even better support. A motion proposing that OUSA support that all campus food outlets only sell free-range food passed with 62% of votes in favour, and only 14% abstaining. Similarly, motions opposing the 2011 Budget changes reducing access to the student loan scheme and mandating OUSA to oppose any other such changes both received strong support from voters, with relatively few abstentions.
The more controversial motion seeking to alter OUSA’s official stance towards the Student Code of Conduct (COC) passed comfortably, with 59% of students in favour, and only 10% opposed. This motion both rescinded several previous motions opposing the COC and overturned a referendum where students voted that OUSA should adopt an official stance of opposition to the COC. OUSA will now recognise the code and work with the University to ensure student’s best interests are taken into account in its application.
Meanwhile the elephant in the room in OUSA over the coming weeks will be the failure of all options regarding the OUSA constitution. Voters were asked to choose between three options, “Option A” which was supported by the majority of the Executive, “Option B” which was backed by Finance and Services Officer Dan Stride, and a third option of “No change”.
None of the options gained the required two-thirds majority of votes (even though abstaining voters do not count towards the total), with Option A garnering only 12% of the vote, Option B 10% and no change 9%. A colossal 68% of voters meanwhile abstained from voting.
The result means that OUSA remains in constitutional limbo, with it being clear that students either do not understand, or do not care about, the constitutional structure of their student organisation.
On the bright side, voter turnout was relatively strong for the referendum, with approximately 12% turnout among the notoriously apathetic student population. It has been speculated that the referendum numbers may have benefited from running parallel to the Presidential by-election, although many people questioned whether the unusually high rate of abstentions on many motions could also be attributed to students merely signing on to vote for their favoured Presidential candidate and quickly bypassing motions which appeared more complicated.
Posted 4:08am Monday 11th July 2011 by Gregor Whyte.