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Oxford University Student Union

The Oxford University Student Union is the official student government of the University of Oxford. It is better known in Oxford by its acronym, OUSU. It exists to represent Oxford students in University decision-making, to act as the voice of students in the national higher education policy debate, and to provide direct services to the student body. It is not to be confused with the Oxford Union Society, which though similarly named is an entirely separate organisation.

Table of contents
1 Structure
2 History
3 Milestone Oxford Presidents
4 Official Web Site
5 External Links to Former Presidents
6 Related Web Sites


Oxford University
Reflecting the federated nature of the University of Oxford itself, OUSU is both an association of Oxford's 16500 individual students, and a federation of the Junior Common Rooms (JCRs) and Middle Common Rooms (MCRs) that represent students and graduate students (respectively) at each of the University's 45 colleges.

OUSU is led by six full-time officers: a president and five vice-presidents, who are elected by students in an annual University-wide ballot, and who take a year's sabbatical from study to serve in their portfolios.

There are also twelve part-time executive officers, who are similarly elected annually, but who carry on their studies during their tenure.

The OUSU Council acts as the equivalent of a legislature over OUSU, and is largely composed of representatives from the 45 college JCRs and MCRs, but also includes a small number of at-large representatives elected in a university-wide ballot as well as the sabbatical and executive officers.


The University of Oxford's nascent student union emerged in the 13th century, as student leaders attempted to mediate the violent clashes between "nations" at the University. Southern English, northern English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish students would frequently battle against one another, with fatalities recorded as early as 1260.

Despite this ancient pedigree, the University of Oxford's governing council resisted formally recognising Oxford's university-wide student estate for some 750 years, although JCRs and MCRs came to be recognised in their respective colleges during the 19th century.

In 1961, against the backdrop of international student unrest such as France's Évenements du mai and the United States' anti-Vietnam war protests, the University Proctors banned the student magazine Isis from publishing reviews of lectures. Students resisted, and legally incorporated the Oxford University Student Representative Council (OUSRC) for the first time. They then agitated for formal university recognition of the OUSRC, and petitioned the United Kingdom's Privy Council, asking the government to amend the Oxford and Cambridge Universities Act. Rather than risk having its hand forced by legislation, the University relented, and formally recognised the OUSRC in 1970.

The OUSRC adopted its contemporary constitution in 1974, changing its name to the Oxford University Student Union.

Milestone Oxford Presidents

Official Web Site

External Links to Former Presidents

Related Web Sites