The evolution of OUSU

Born in the 1960s struggle for students' freedom of speech, OUSU has evolved into a union, which aims to represent, support and enhance the lives of Oxford students.

OUSU's predecessor, the Students' Representative Council, was formed in 1961 after the University Proctors banned the magazine Isis from reviewing tutors' lectures, and students came together to defend their freedom of speech by establishing a University-wide representative organisation. From being a part-time secretary operating in a hut behind the Debating Society buildings, the Student Union has expanded considerably, with six full-time sabbatical officers, 18 part-time officers, its own offices in Gloucester Green and a turnover of more than half a million pounds.

If you are interested in reading about OUSU's evolution in its entirety, you can you can see our wiki entry here.

Where we are today

In 2010, the University agreed to give OUSU an annual block grant to replace common room affiliation fees, putting OUSU on a more stable financial footing and allowing it to get on with the job of professionalising the way it managed what it did for its members.

Around the same time, changes to UK charity law required OUSU to register with the Charity Commission in order to continue to operate as a charity, and the opportunity was taken to reform OUSU's legal structure in line with the requirements of charitable registration. In 2010, OUSU adopted its Memorandum and Articles of Association and thereby incorporated as a company limited by guarantee. It also established a Trustee Board, comprising the sabbatical officers, elected Student Trustees and appointed External Trustees.