A college bursar has censored a candidate running to be JCR president over his light-hearted manifesto pledges, including a promise to provide pints of beer and cider for 1p.
Paula Dawson, Bursar at St Aidan’s College, removed Oliver Graham’s manifesto from display next to the dining hall, suggesting that his promise to provide cheap alcohol – as well as a number of other humorous suggestions – was “inappropriate”.
Mr Graham’s other policies include: stopping all electricity and heating for postgraduates, ordering formal food from Patrick’s Pizza, changing the names of all future presidents to “Dan Slavin”, providing Red Bull at meal times, 24 hour brunch and renting out the Aidan’s pond as a nuclear reprocessing pool.
In an email, seen by The Bubble, Mrs Dawson said: “Just to let you know I have taken down your manifesto for JCR president displayed outside of the dining room. Some of the suggestions are not appropriate for example ‘All pints 1p’.”
In a reply, Mr Graham – who is running as a protest against the lack of consultation between the senior management of Durham University and students – said that he plans to stand down if elected, meaning that 1p pints will not be appearing anytime soon.
“My initial reaction was to wonder exactly how bad ‘1p pints’ are to make them ‘not appropriate’ in a manifesto which advocates turning the pond into a nuclear waste dump.”
Continue reading to view the censored manifesto in full.
He wrote: “I find it ironic then that my poster has been taken down for essentially not conforming to the nice friendly image the college wishes to present to prospective students, but instead actually giving current students a democratic choice to vent their frustration.
“The serious point made by the campaign is that those running the University don’t listen to student views on issues important to them, such as accommodation prices. Hence student democracy is – at least in part – a joke, thus why a joke campaign is suitable.”
He told The Bubble: “My initial reaction was to wonder exactly how bad ‘1p pints’ are to make them ‘not appropriate’ in a manifesto which advocates turning the pond into a nuclear waste dump. Apparently that policy is not even worthy of comment?”
Mr Graham, who is known as “Steve” to his friends, was defended by his fellow Aidan’s students, who reacted with a mixture of anger and bemusement.
Oliver Stephenson, who supports his campaign, said: “Who even is the bursar? Whoever they are, they’re not taking Steve (or ‘Ollie Graham’ as the system insists he be called) seriously enough.
“His policies were done through crowd-sourcing, because he’s a real man of the people, so if the Bursar think’s they’re inappropriate well I guess that also means that we shouldn’t be trusted to vote? So much for democracy!”
Usman Khan, another supporter, said: “I think it’s completely unfair to punish him in this way, he’s merely responding to the demands of the people.”
Ethan Tamlyn said: “Though Ollie’s campaign may have drawn criticism, those critics must respect his right to stand, and allow the votes to decide. The censorship of Ollie’s manifesto on the other hand, is a poignant reminder of the true balance of power between student and staff at this college.
“However we kid ourselves, it is clear that the college staff have the final say, and it is only at their pleasure that we are allowed to carry on playing politics.”
Follow @TheBubble for all the latest updates.