There was controversy at Worcester College’s recent JCR elections, as engineer Alex Hunt, who is currently a third year, secured the position of Freshers’ Rep.
The role involves organising Freshers’ Week and welcoming the incoming class in the college community, and is traditionally the preserve of younger years.
Worcester JCR President Samuel Barker acknowledged that, “Convincing the JCR that a fourth year would be right for the role was always going to be swimming against the tide of convention.”
He added, “His achievement of over 50% of the vote in the First Round of the election is a highly commendable effort when three able candidates were in the running.”
Student Adam Taylor explained that one of the issues surrounding the election was that “A JCR motion was put forward during the week of campaigning to allow year abroad students to vote. Obviously these are third year students, and so it was seen as a ploy to boost Alex’s chance of success.”
He commented, “Some freshers may feel that Alex is running for a joke, or to be spiteful, in taking what is traditionally a second year position. However, he husted really well and has all the qualities to be a great rep.”
Another undergraduate told Cherwell, “Rumours circulated through college saying that the JCR constitution was being combed to find anything that might disqualify Alex from the election.”
However Hunt’s opponent Sean Walker offered his support, stating that although he initially didn’t think that a third year would be ideal for the job of Freshers’ Rep, he sees Alex as a “friendly and hardworking guy” who will “make a good Freshers’ Rep if he tries.”
Student Rolf Merchant reflected, “Anyone from any year can run for a position in the JCR. It just so happens that at Worcester it is almost always first years. In this case a third year has won an election, thus breaking a vague (hardly cast-iron) convention.”