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OXCSSA accused of being undemocratic

first_imgThe Oxford Chinese Students and Scholars Association (OXCSSA) has come under criticism from an anonymous whistleblower for a lack of democracy in the election of its senior members.A translation of the Chinese language version of the society’s constitution, available on the OXCSSA website, reveals substantial differences between the Chinese and English language versions of the society constitution. In practice, the Chinese version appears to be the document by which the society is governed.Article X of the Chinese language constitution specifies that “Ordinary members do not have the right to vote or stand for election”. The translation of a society newsletter confirmed that ordinary members, while able to attend the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM), are unable to run for election or vote.An email translation suggests that the society, which has approximately 2,500 members, invited only around eighty to attend its AGM last year.Such a state of affairs would be a potential violation of the Proctors’ rules on society affiliation, according to the pro-forma constitution for non-sport societies.A University spokesperson confirmed, “Clubs registered with the Proctors are required to follow the rules laid out in the constitution.The Proctors’ Office is happy to advise individual clubs on specific issues as necessary and to listen to feedback on the constitution. A review of the general oversight of clubs has been agreed and will commence shortly”.The English language version of the OXCSSA constitution, which is understood to have been submitted to the Proctors’ Office in 2011, uses the template constitution for non-sport societies specified by the University website. In the English language version, all members of the society are eligible to vote, and are entitled to be informed of the Annual General Meeting at least two weeks in advance.The Chinese version of the constitution also allows the President to appoint all the secretaries and the Treasurer, who in turn are allowed to vote in the society’s Presidential elections. In the University-approved English language version, Committee members are supposed to be elected at the AGM.The Chinese language constitution also stipulates that the President of OXCSSA instead interviews candidates for positions on the Committee, which approximately eighty to ninety members sit on. Only members of the Committee are permitted to vote for the President.The whistleblower commented, “it is so interesting that even for the Chinese people living on a western country’s soil, they are still using China’s model of ‘democracy’, by the way of cheating the University with a ‘western style’ constitution that has never been acted in accordance with.”This is not the first time that a CSSA society has been criticized for a lack of democracy. In 2011 the Cambridge version was disaffiliated from the university after the President decided to continue for a second term without an election.OXCSSA has been made aware of Cherwell’s investigation, but has not replied to the allegations.last_img

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