Significant numbers of Postgrad students were prevented from voting for Postgrad Officer in the OUSA election, after the University gave incorrect enrolment information to OUSA. The University has apologised for the error.
Only postgrads can vote for the Postgrad Officer, and OUSA depends on the University giving them that data so they can restrict people’s access. However, this year a number of postgrads were left off the list provided to OUSA, meaning they were unable to vote.
The exact number of students affected could not be confirmed, though both the candidates running said they were unable to vote.
“The University apologises for the postgraduate numbers being incorrect in the information that was sent for the OUSA elections,” said a University spokeswoman.
“As soon as we were alerted to this, we sent updated information with the correct numbers. This was done on Monday 17 September at 5.47pm but unfortunately the next day there was difficulty opening the file so the information was emailed directly to OUSA at around 9.15am. Postgraduate students have since been emailed and informed of the error.”
Dermot Frengley, who won the election for Postgraduate Officer, said, “it is a total fuck up on [the] part of the Uni and OUSA should make sure this never happens again”. He thinks it will have an impact on voting. “There’s no point having elections if people can’t vote easily; it’s basic democracy.”
Sinead Gill, who narrowly lost out to Dermot pointed out "Neither Dermot nor I could even vote for ourselves”.
The same issue happened last year, with some postgrad students unable to vote for their representative. Sinead said that “Last year, my partner was a postgrad student and he couldn’t vote for a postgrad rep either. This fuck up is clearly a regular thing. OUSA needs to know who their own members are – not after VSM, [Voluntary Student Membership] but now”.
Last year 196 people voted for the Postgraduate Officer position out of 4890 postgrad students. 4425 students total voted in the election.
The University spokeswoman said, “For future requests for these numbers we will check against previous year’s information to ensure that the numbers are similar to those years and if there is a large discrepancy we will investigate.”